At 04:32 AM 3/31/2004, Desmond wrote:
>Otherwise you end up with overlapping tags, which is not allowed in
>XML, or any other computer language for that matter.
This is something of an overstatement (even apart from the interesting
question of what a "computer language" is). Overlap was never a problem in
stream-based text encoding methodologies such as COCOA (a markup scheme
handled by OCP, the Oxford Concordance Program, and by John Bradley's TACT;
cf http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/helpsheets/cocoa.html). It is a problem in
SGML and XML, particularly the latter, since it relies on what might be
called a "strong parse", with its famous Draconian error-handling and
concomitant tree-structured data model.
But research has not ceased over these interesting issues, interesting both
technically and philosophically (having to do with the nature of text and
representation -- as this thread has already demonstrated). MECS (from
Huitfeld, Sperberg-McQueen et al), JITTs (from Durusau et al) and LMNL (by
a small team including yours truly) are all proposals and/or working
technologies at various stages of maturity that are designed to address
this kind of thing and more. (I say "and more" since LMNL, for example, has
not only overlapping ranges, but structured "annotations" -- what would be
attributes in XML, that is, can have structure of their own. This is also a
desideratum for a truly capable markup technology, although not so often
run up against as the overlap problem). The principals of all these
projects are TEI-literate and informed by the humanities.
There is even a rumor going around that there will be papers at this year's
Extreme Markup Languages conference in Montreal dealing again with these.
But I don't know how it could be true, since draft papers are not even due
until April 16, Friday next week (which means you still have time to solve
this problem and release your findings to an appreciative audience).
Wendell Piez mailto:[log in to unmask]
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