Re: Two examples of semi structured data.

From: Jan Hidders <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 20:01:23 GMT
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 17:42:18 +0200, mAsterdam wrote:
> Jan Hidders wrote:

>> mAsterdam wrote:
>>>Jan Hidders wrote:
>>>>mAsterdam wrote:
>>>>[...] Serge argues that sometimes, from a particular viewpoint [...]
>>>>you are really not interested in any structure that may or may not be
>>>>hidden in a particular stream of bits; they are just a stream of bits
>>>>and that's it.
>>>That's it. No data, right? Signs.
>> Yes. Or as it is usually taught in academia: "No information, just
>> data."

> [....]
> In those terms: The authors are talking potentially informationless
> data.

That's not how I would put it. They are talking about data that is informationless *from a certain perspective*. It is nowhere claimed that there is data that is meaningless from *all* perspectives.

> Well, then let's try to talk about informationbases - hmm... doesn't
> sound good. Nah database is fine, C<provided the data means something> -
> thus departing from this habit.

Hmm, no, I would also disagree there. The database does contain data which in turn carries information. What this information is may or may not be of concern to the database. So from that perspective it is indeed primarily a collection of data. Also note that if it becomes more important what the information is then the term knowledge base becomes more appropriate, which is largely synonymous with information base.

>>>[...] The only structure we now know is structure imposed on the signs
>>>to be stored or forwarded or represented. This structure does not
>>>determine meaning, neither is it determined by meaning. Buzzword
>>>bingoish: it is orthogonal to meaning.
>> No, it is not orthogonal because it can be, and usually is, the carrier
>> of meaning.

> [semi-orthogonal ?]

Semi-pregnant? :-)

> Let's zoom in here:
> The store/forward structure carries the signs. Can we or can we not
> change that structure whithout affecting the stored/transported signs?
> Can we change the signs without affecting the conveyed meaning?

Not without agreeing first on what the new interpretation is of the structures and the signs.

>> I could send a simple string with flat text or I could add structure in
>> the form of XML mark-up and then send it to you. If we have agreed
>> before on what this markup means then the added structure will add
>> additional meaning.

> ??? Are you suggesting we can add meaning without changing the
> agreement?

Of course we can. Why does that surprise you? If I first send you "Harry, 43" and then "<name>Harry</name><shoesize>43</shoesize>" then you will probably know more after the second message. Note that no change of agreement is necessary.

>> It's almost as if you have a deep psychological need to have everything
>> structured.

> [...] Let's not engage in remote psycho-analysis on the
> basis of postings.

I thought the smiley wouldn't be necessary. Apparently I was wrong. :-)

  • Jan Hidders
Received on Mon Aug 23 2004 - 22:01:23 CEST

Original text of this message