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Re: Two examples of semi structured data.

From: Jan Hidders <>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 20:16:44 GMT
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 01:19:36 +0200, mAsterdam wrote:
> Jan Hidders wrote:

>> mAsterdam wrote:
>>>Jan Hidders wrote:
>>>>mAsterdam wrote:
>>>>>Jan Hidders wrote:
>>>>>>mAsterdam wrote:
>> [...] It is nowhere claimed that there is data that is meaningless from
>> *all* perspectives.

> Of course not. Who would claim such a thing?

You implied that Serge Abiteboul did by accusing him of speaking about "potentially meaningless data". But anwyay, then we agree. So remind me, what exactly was again the problem that you had with his paper?

>>>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.

> Yep.
> Let's zoom in some more:
> Not caring about meaning, we can change structure without affecting the
> signs:
> "The secret agent walked into the room." "The agent walked into the
> secret room." and we can change both signs and structure, and yet convey
> the same meaning:
> "At 4:05 pm tomorrow the doors will open" "The doors will open tomorrow
> at 16:05"

Yes, but to be really orthogonal that should *always* be possible. And as you just showed, it isn't, so they are not. But perhaps you have a different idea of what "orthogonal" exactly means. Note that we were discussing your following claim:

>>This structure does not determine meaning, neither is it determined by >>meaning. Buzzword bingoish: it is orthogonal to meaning.

In your example you yourself just showed that changing the structure changed the meaning. So what then do you mean when you claim the structure does *not* determine meaning?

>>>>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
>> 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.

> Are you telling me the second message relates to same Harry and 43 as
> the the first? It contains some of the signs which are also in the
> second message. Do they mean the same? Their closeness suggests it. Your
> use as an example suggests it. If I had to make a decision based on it
> I'ld say they do.

They might, and that is sufficient for the point we're discussing here. But what you should be focusing on is not the meaning of the symbols but the relationship between them that is communicated.

Received on Tue Aug 24 2004 - 15:16:44 CDT

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