SAX and delayed entity loading

W. Eliot Kimber eliot at
Thu Dec 3 21:38:42 GMT 1998

At 04:01 PM 12/3/98 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:

>I know it's not about software.  How can you guarantee that in a hundred
>years someone will be able to find the identifiers used in your notations?
>Will they be at the same network address?  Will they have to go through yet
>another stack of backup tapes?  What if you referenced something outside of
>your network and its control, and there is nothing left...  (I think
>they'll start wishing it was more about software and less about indirection
>at that point.)

You're right, the URL for the XML spec is not sufficient (but neither is
"<?xml?>", since you need to know what thing defines what that magic number

In thinking about it, I think the only thing that will be reliable is to
depend on a non-electronic, human-primary, long-term repository like the
Library of Congress.  If the XML spec had a Library of Congress number (it
may, for all I know), then I could use that as the public ID and be assured
that my intent is understandable for at least as long as the Library of
Congress persists as an institution. Since we are ultimately dependent on
the persistent of human institutions, I think that's about the most we can
hope for (but see my post to comp.text.sgml some time back about very long
term archiving of documents)).  If the resource exists electronically, the
public ID can always be mapped to it. If the resource does not exist
electronically, you call the library and ask them if they have a copy you
can borrow.  If no copies exist, then there's not much you can do in any
case except start in on some cyperpaleontology to see if you can dig up
code somewhere that embodies the information provided by the spec ("I seem
to remember seeing a diskette with the source around for XP a few years
back--'ought four I think it was--you kids today wouldn't believe what sort
of things we had for computers back then, no sir.  We used to type with our
fingers for hours--and we liked it!  Here it is.  'Course, I haven't had a
reader for these darn diskettes for about fourty years or so--maybe there's
one over at the University in the basement of the archives somewhere.  Good
luck kid.")

Thus, the declaration for XML as a notation should be something like:

<!NOTATION somelocalname 
 PUBLIC "+//IDN TZ 1234:W3C eXtensible Markup Language
(XML) Recommendation 1.0//EN"

Nothing less is reliable in the time scales I normally care about.

For the other arguments you raise, I can only conclude that we are not
communicating and/or are operating in such different operating environments
that our requirements are too far diverged for us to come to agreement on
the issue.  I suspect we are both right with respect to our primary


<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber, Senior Consulting SGML Engineer
ISOGEN International Corp.
2200 N. Lamar St., Suite 230, Dallas, TX 75202.  214.953.0004

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as:
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list