Musing over Namespaces

Dan Brickley Daniel.Brickley at
Fri Dec 17 14:31:20 GMT 1999

Len Bullard <cbullard at>
 	12/15/99 07:09 PM
 	To:	Tim Bray <tbray at>@SMTP at Exchange
 	Tim Bray wrote:
 	> At 11:04 AM 12/14/99 -0500, Clark C. Evans wrote:
 	> >It'd still be nice to have a single database with
 	> >everyone's namespace definitions in one place though...
 	> >perhaps even a DTD to help describe them.  I'm sure
 	> >there are organizations doing this... are there?
 	> Yes, lots.  That's the problem. -Tim
> 	No Tim, that's the answer.  Common goals achieved by 
> 	common means, not common control.  Put the definitions in 

I didn't take Tim to be arguing against decentralisation, but against
the multitude of companies/organisations who both promote the 
centralised monolithic (meta)data registry approach, and
(coincidentally) attempt to promote themselves as providing that

One of the supposed big wins of using the same syntax/model for our
meta-languages and our instance data is re-use, synergy. 
Eg. if RDF and XML vocabularies are themselves described using RDF and
XML, then generic discovery/indexing/trust systems applicable to _all_
XML/RDF content should be equally applicable to schemas. Why then
promote centralised registries for all schemas? Surely there will be
search engines and 'trusted third parties' for schema data, as there
will be for other applications of XML and RDF. By defining schema
languages in instance syntax, we implicitly promote the idea that there
will be some big payoff for doing so (otherwise, lets stick with
DTDs). Some synergy that means generic tools will be applicable to
schemata. I find this impossible to reconcile with the
www.really-important-trusted-metaregistry.[com|org] approach that seems
popular in the industry. I'm banking on doing schema searches at the
mainstream search engines in 2-3 years time...


daniel.brickley at

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