[sc34wg3] Process Queston for Oslo: new work items

Patrick Durusau patrick at durusau.net
Tue Feb 27 12:43:19 EST 2007


In preparation for the Oslo meeting I am hopeful that we can have 
discussion of the more interesting issue list for the work items but 
also some discussion of procedures for the WG 3.

I would like for the WG members to consider establishing new rules or at 
least habits of how we treat proposals for new work items.

So as to not use any current or proposed work items as an illustration, 
I have made up a new proposal and set forth what I think the response of 
the committee should be on such items.

Assume that I (probably in conjunction with Newcomb) proposed a new work 
item to standardize a mapping of Inter-Galactic Topic Maps to the TMDM. 
(Reasoning that all space faring races eventually develop topic maps in 
the nature course of the evolution of their information systems.)

Obviously an exciting topic (sorry) and one that will be quite useful 
when we do discover other space faring races.

But, merely filling out the one page NP proposal really should provoke 
the following response:

1. Requirements: Do you have a sufficiently specific set of requirements 
that are supported by a majority of the P members of the SC?

2. Draft: Do you have a sufficiently clear idea of what is to be 
standardized to meet the default 12 month period for production of a CD?

Noting that the JTC 1 Directives presume a study period that leads to 
the production of an NP:

> An NP for a new work area should be the output of a study 
> period in the SC concerned during which
> NBs, liaison organisations and other SCs that may be concerned have 
> been able to review and comment on
> drafts for the NP. The final draft should be subject to the formal 
> approval of the SC responsible before
> submission to JTC 1.
> The study should address:
> • The requirements, involving possible users where this is relevant;
> • The relationships with other work, the technical approach and 
> technical feasibility of the NP, including
> identification of reference material on technical issues and initial 
> material if available;
> • The preparation of a detailed plan of work covering the timetable, 
> resource requirements and resource
> availability (technical and administrative).

Note that further the JTC 1 Directives note:

> The NP itself should contain a realistic estimate of the 
> overall workload involved in the development of
> the new work area.
> The NP should indicate a proposed start date for the project 
> if it is approved. This date should not
> simply be the end of the NP ballot period, but should represent a 
> realistic target, based on the workload and
> priorities of the SC in which the work will be carried out.
> SCs should be encouraged to establish clear milestones and 
> then to conduct realistic and regular
> reviews of their workload, to prioritise their work items in order of 
> importance and to suspend or delete those
> items that are not being actively pursued.

I think it is clear from the rules that Steve and I would fall short on 
a couple of counts.

First, we probably have a clear idea of what we want to standardize, but 
a simple NP isn't going to be sufficient to communicate that to the P 
members who make of the SC.

Second, even if we can communicate what we want to standardize, an idea 
for standardization isn't the same thing (at least in my mind) as a 
proposal for standardization. An "idea" for sandardization can take 
longer than permitted by the relevant rules to reach any particular 
stage, whereas with an actual proposal, the P members can make some 
reasoned judgment as to whether a CD is likely to result in 12 months.

So, my suggestion is that either by rule or custom, that the members of 
the SC agree that we should use the study period as suggested by the JTC 
1 Directives to formulate specific requirements and drafts substantial 
enough to reasonably anticipate the production of CD's within one year 
of the approval of an NP.

I have several other suggestions that I hope will allow us to get our 
work load under control and to meet the requirements of both ISO and JTC 
1. Realize that however meaningful projects may be to us, that failure 
to play by the rules of ISO/JTC 1 can result in cancellation of projects.

I care too much about the various projects our WG has underway and the 
hopes and ambitions of its members to risk that over something as simple 
as following the rules as detailed by ISO/JTC 1.

Granted that all change is difficult and this change in particular 
because it calls upon us to change ourselves. (Calling for change in 
others is quite easy and to judge from the news media, quite popular.) 
But, I think we will see the benefits of such change in coming closer to 
meeting the directives (over time) and being more productive as an WG.

Procedurally, since there are those will a greater interest than others 
in particular items to be considered during a study period, I would 
suggest that the SC create OWG (other working groups) under the JTC 1 
Directives with instructions on what the committee will require to 
consider an NP. That will give the activity a framework within which to 
occur, a named lead for the activity and it will need to be renewed on 
each plenary meeting, which should help prod the production of work from 
the OWG.

Apologies for the length of this post but it is one of the more 
complicated issues that we face on the adminstrative front.

Hope everyone is in good health and spirits!


PS: Please pardon in advance any slowness in my responding to replies. I 
am in Berlin for an advancing eGovernment conference and have very 
limited access to email. All of your responses are important because as 
the committee you will be making the choices that guide our work.

Patrick Durusau
Patrick at Durusau.net
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
Member, Text Encoding Initiative Board of Directors, 2003-2005

Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work! 

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