Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 105. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2020-06-12 09:20:34+00:00 From: Desmond Schmidt
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.93: notation, software and mathematics Peter, I share your sentiments on OCP. I had the good fortune to use it once many years ago when computers looked rather different than now. It was thrilling to have that much power at a time when everything to do with digital texts was exiting and new. I have no experience with XQuery though I have used XPath which is pretty similar. So what I say may be wrong. But since it provides a way to search a hierarchy of elements it must be rather bad at performing the kinds of tasks you mention below. In XML pages are usually represented as empty milestone tags embedded in a hierarchically organised document. So recovering anything *between* page references must be pretty difficult. But in a language like COCOA where *all* the tags were milestones, and you move through the text linearly and not hierarchically, the contents of any page can be easily retrieved. Your other comment about JSON replacing XML in many applications makes a similar point. JSON is winning (has won already?) the battle of web application formats because it has a fraction of the complexity of XML and its myriad standards. In the end simplicity wins. What is lost when we try too hard to do a few specific tasks too well is the ability to turn our tools to other uses. Less is truly more. Desmond -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2020-06-08 20:05:57+00:00 From: Peter Robinson Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.89: notation, software and mathematics [...] 3. OCP actually did ONE important thing far better than did XQuery and all the rest. It understood and gleefully processed multiple overlapping hierarchies. You could output (as I did) a concordance of the Merchant of Venice which located every word according to its speaker, scene and act AND according to the page of the edition. You can (as Michael will tell you) indeed do the same with XQuery. But it is an order of magnitude more difficult in XQuery etc. And the orders of magnitude escalate if you want (for example) to do things such as: tell me the range of act/scene/line numbers on each page; or give me a list of the pages in which Solanio speaks; or get me all the text between two page breaks; or create a hypertext link that takes me to a particular page and tells the user just what is on it, and so on. This does lead me into a little bit of alternative reality speculation. Around 1987, the godparents of what became the TEI (Susan Hockey, Nancy Ide, Lou Burnard, Michael himself — and others of course who were in the conversation, which I was not) had to make a critical decision. What document modelling architecture would the TEI choose as the base for its encoding? Of course, they chose SGML, and not OCP. There are many excellent reasons why they made that choice. (Interestingly at almost exactly the same moment I chose differently, to use OCP as the basis for the transcriptions I was then making, and the first versions of Collate were built on this markup. I recall David Robey making a similar choice for the work he was doing on Italian verse). But still: one wonders what might have happened if they had decided to build on OCP and not go down the SGML (and then XML) route. As an aside: yes, SGML (and later XML) had the immense advantage of document validation, and I think every one of us involved in those early TEI years (and still now) saw that as critical. Perhaps it is not as critical as we thought. JSON is sweeping the world, and has no document validation facility. Just some heretical thoughts. Peter _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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