Bibloc Tutorial (was Re: Ownership of Names (was Re: Public
identifiers and topicmaps)
W. Eliot Kimber
eliot at dns.isogen.com
Wed Sep 30 22:12:46 BST 1998
At 01:26 PM 9/30/98 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
>Is there a useful tutorial about biblocs? I would like to
>understand them further.
Bibliographic location addresses as defined by the HyTime architecture are
nothing more than containers that describe how to find something that is
not directly addressible by electronic means (that is, that your computer
cannot deliver to you directly). In formal HyTime terms, anything from
which a grove cannot be constructed can only be addressed by a bibloc.
They are called "bibliographic locations" because they use the
"bibliographic" model of addressing, that is, the way we cite things like
books by giving enough information about them to allow another person to
find the thing.
The purpose biblocs serve in a HyTime context is to allow HyTime's
addressing facilities to be closed over all possible things: anything you
can't address electronically you can address through a bibloc, which serves
an electronic proxy for the non-electronic thing.
Biblocs are represented in SGML or XML documents as elements and are
therefore inherently electronically addressible:
<lost.book.loc id="lost.book.1" hytime="bibloc">
A book that is lost to history, known only by mentions of it
in other books.
The online result of addressing a bibloc is that you get the bibloc, as
there's no way for the computer to get what the bibloc addresses.
A bibloc can have a "bibliographic source", which is another bibloc that
establishes the addressing context for the first bibloc:
<library.definition id="UT.PCL" hytime="bibloc">
PCL library, University of Texas at Austin
<book id="some.book" bibsrc="UT.PCL" hytime="bibloc">
Top floor, third cubby on the left,
under the chair, you'll find a book I left last time I was there.
The 'library.definition' bibloc is the bibliographic source for the the
'book' bibloc. A reference to the book bibloc should return both the book
bibloc and the library definition bibloc.
If I wanted to create a hyperlink to the book, I could do this:
<link linkend="#id(some.book)" hytime=clink>A book I lost</link>
The content of a bibloc is not defined or constrainted by the HyTime
architecture. It could be anything, including data in a notation defined by
some other standard, such as MARC records, Library of Congress catalog
The formal definition of the bibloc element form is to be found at
7.12 of ISO/IEC 10744:1997.
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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