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- To: <xtech>
- Subject: None
- From: Hugh Hoover <heh>
- Date: Wed, 21 Mar 90 13:55:53 PST
Document Description meeting
This is a long message summarizing the document description
meeting and adding a few points I thought of while writing this
I'll try to summarize the meeting by going over the major points
and what I remember about what was said. Everybody can then respond with
their favorite arguments or with anything I forgot.
The purpose of a description is to allow a user to get some idea
of what a document is without having to view the document directly.
There are two types of description that are important, descriptions
for berts and editions / variations (stamps).
The description of a bert is not associated with the material the bert
is referencing. It would allow a user to distinguish between the n
berts being used for a document (especially important when multiple
berts are on a single stamp), that is, the save bert, the publish bert,
the "my copy of Joe's variation bert", etc. This description would not
(directly) provide a way of distinguishing editions (stamps).
An edition (stamp) description should allow a mnemonic distinction
between editions without having to view the editions. A default
description can be extracted from the document (or bert description)
with perhaps an additional date/time stamp. Also, if the default
description is overridden by a user, that new description should be
presented in the future. The date/time for the edition should be
present to allow distinction without having to invent a description. If
a user does not supply a description, the front end must be able to
present some default description.
An important point brought forth was whether descriptions should be
intrinsic or extrinsic to the documents. This needs to be crossed with
the bert / stamp description
Intrinsic names do not seem appropriate for bert descriptions because
they would require modifications to the current b&o layer. An extrinsic
description for a bert can be added in several ways:
a) a link to the bert only (no stamp or CPT in the link end
- is this OK Ravi?)
b) a separate document that contains a description
(and perhaps the recorder for bert history).
c) a separate document could be kept (by user?, system?, group?, all?)
which maps from bert ID to description. FE's could then look up a
description in this.
An intrinsic description for a stamp could be stored in the document.
This has the limitation that the description cannot be changed post
facto. Seems pretty serious to me... I would expect many users wanting
to be able to change descriptions in the future without re-publishing.
There are, of course, problems with extrinsic descriptions.
These are the points (as best I can remember) brought up at the
a) "according to who?" - who gets to name it, and what
right do they have to name it.
b) # names != (means ~= dean :-) 1 - how to select a
description if there is none, or if there is more
c) efficiency of extrinsic descriptions.
Backreference will be less efficient for the
foreseeable future (3 weeks? :-)
All in all, the conclusion of the meeting is that it is a hard
For the near future, I am proceeding as follows:
Bert descriptions will be maintained as a link between the bert and a
description in another doc. I will expect to maintain a local cache of
bert ID's -> descriptions on the FE to help speed.
Stamp descriptions will first attempt to locate a <name> link to the
stamp and use the other end. If there is more than one, the one
contained in the document will be used first, arbitrary choice after
If there are no <name> links, an attempt to get the bert description
of the bert that created the stamp, adding a time stamp from a history
document if available. If no bert description can be located, the first
fifty chars of the doc itself will be used. Of course, if the user
edits the description in the link pane (? how else? MarcS?) then a
<name> link will be added to the new description. I don't know how to
specify if it should be a contained link - suggestions?
Since the stamp descriptions are comparatively hard (run-time
expensive), I'll feel free to optimize as appropriate...