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Re: Definition of Xanadu per Ted and Kathy
- To: xanadu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: Definition of Xanadu per Ted and Kathy
- From: jbc@xxxxxxxxxx (Jim Bryce Clark)
- Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 19:59:08 GMT
- Reply-to: xanadu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>[A previous post of mine to the list:]
>> ... What, taken together, constitutes "one" document for
>> conceptual purposes? ... I'd be delighted if someone could direct
>> me to any serious discussions of the foregoing problem --
>> *other than yours*. I haven't seen any.
> See here, but I don't think you *know* my definition
> of a document. Am I to take it that it is of no
> interest regardless, because of its source? ...
Far from it. We're not disagreeing.
Your views are of consummate interest, and would be in any case because you
have a 20-year jump on the rest of us thinking about these issues. What is
remarkable to me -- and the point of my "other than yours" comment -- is
that there are so few others today. How can that be? Most computer
professionals (and lawyers who practice copyright law, and their regulators)
are still stumbling around with stone knives and bearskins. Where would we
be today, if transclusion had received as much attention from research
institutions and commercial enterprise as have graphical user interfaces?
I *am* passingly familar with, and ardently a supporter of, your concept of
documents and versions. (The point of my previous note was that, from a
user's perspective, it "may be ... the most important contribution of Xanadu
to information management".) However, I had not seen the definition you posted:
> "The owned name and boundary for an arbitrary collection of versions
> containing original and/or transcluded materials,
> moving and changing through time."
Now that I have, the word "arbitrary" is particularly interesting. In spite
of good intentions to the contrary, I usually think of such "documents" as
having discernable thematic unity. "Arbitrary" is an eye-opener: it
emphasizes that the identification of a series of objects as a "document" is
wholly an act of authorship. (So, if one wishes to create a document
relationship between Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, a kumquat, and Chapter
5, one's information management system should not impose its own structure
on the material, e.g. by saying "Where's Chapter 4?" or "There shoudn't be a
Just one more example of how good definitions change and define the world.
Thanks and best regards.