Ownership of Names (was Re: Public identifiers and topic maps)

W. Eliot Kimber eliot at dns.isogen.com
Tue Sep 29 19:54:09 BST 1998

At 12:09 PM 9/29/98 -0500, Steven R. Newcomb wrote:

>> But Dewey doesn't own the books, just the cataloging system for them.
>> So why should you be denied the same opportunity to define a classification
>> scheme as Dewey?
>This is not the point.  Dewey doesn't conform to 9070, and yet, silly
>me, I may still want to use Dewey.  Specifically, how can I use Dewey?
>More generally, how do I use any arbitrary catalog to point to one of
>the things that it catalogs?  That is the question I'm concerned

You address the catalog and then you address things in the catalog. If the
catalog owner has provided an algorithm for forming FPIs (or URNs of any
sort) for things within the catalog given an identifier within it, then you
are justified in using their owner name because they have explicitly
delegated the creation of names (or rather, algorithmically pre-assigned
all possible names). If they have not, then you are not, because you have
no idea if your name is a good one.  Thus, if Dewey said to the world:
"form FPIs for things in my catalog by using my owner ID and the catalog
number, author, and title", then you are justified in creating PFIs of the
form "+//IDN deweydecimal.com//DOCUMENT 301, author, title/EN". If he did
not, then you are not.

So, in the general case, FPIs alone are insufficient because you need
multi-level addresses.  This is what HyTime provides, with the bibloc
(bibliographic location address) form the most general (because it can
address anything, not just electronic resources):

<bibloc id="dewey.decimal.system">
The cataloging system for books developed by Dewey somebody.\

<bibloc id="some.book" bibsrc="dewey.decimal.system">
301, author, title

The "bibsrc" (bibliographic source) attribute serves to establish the space
within which the string "301, author, title" addresses by pointing to the
other bibloc.  You could, of course, combine the two biblocs into one:

<bibloc id="some.book">
301, author, title within 
the cataloging system for books developed by Dewey somebody

But since the catalog will probably be used often, it's useful to isolate
it out for reuse.

Note that the reference to this book is a normal ID reference:

<citation book="some.book">

That means that if the book becomes available electronically, I can replace
the bibloc with an electronically-resolvable location address without
disturbing the citation itself:

<locator id="some.book"
HyTime="queryloc" notation="uri"/>

Now when I resolve the citation I'll get what's at the end of the URL
rather than the biblocs.


<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

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