Re: new draft

Jon Knight <> Thu, 07 December 1995 01:04 UTC

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From: Jon Knight <>
To: Thomas Krichel <>
Subject: Re: new draft
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On Tue, 5 Dec 1995, Thomas Krichel wrote:
>   Recently, in a private message, Jon Knight wrote to me
> > Rachel Heery at UKOLN is looking at the templates for us in the ROADS 
> > project and we've already made a number of changes.  I've re-vamped the 
> > IAFA draft and I keep meaning to send it out to the iafa mailing list but 
> > I'm still not sure its ready.  Maybe its worth just getting something 
> > half right out there so that we can at least all kick the same thing 
> > about.

OK, Thomas has finally managed to kick me into doing something about this 
- if you all care to look at <>
you'll find the HTML, DVI and PostScript versions of my current changes 
to the IAFA template draft (what was once the Internet Draft called
draft-ietf-iiir-publishing-XX.txt).  This was based on the latest 
revision from Martijn Koster and I have sent a pointer to it round to the 
current editors to illict comments a couple of weeks ago.  Note that this 
_isn't_ an Internet draft - I want to get some comments and consensus 
from the iafa mailing list before I try to resubmit it (yep, that means 
_YOU_! :-) ).

The major changes are the introduction of a Template-Version: attribute 
that identifies the version of the IAFA document that the template adheres 
to (1 initially) and the replacement of Library-Catalog-v* with two new 
variant attributes: Subject-Descriptor-Scheme-v*: and 

The Template-Version: is my sneaky attempt to future proof the IAFA
templates.  By including a version number relating to the version of the
IAFA document describing the template structure it allows new software to 
recognise older templates and process them accord to old rules without 
forcing use to bend over backwards to make the future IAFA syntax look 
like the current one (so that we could, for example, choose to junk 
variant attributes in the next version and introduce a hierarchical 
nesting structure).  It also allows old software to recognise templates 
that will have a structure that it might not understand (and then either 
ignore them or proceed with caution as appropriate).

The Subject-Descriptor-Scheme-v*:  attribute is the name of the
classification scheme used in the corresponding Subject-Descriptor-v*:
attribute.  The names are not defined in the document but are intended to
be well known schemes such as UDC, LCCN, etc that are currently in use in
the library community.  This was suggested on the IAFA mailing list by 
Lorcan Dempsey some time ago and we've been using it fairly successfully in 
the ROADS project (<URL:>.  However 
recently we've come across a few problems relating to our interpretation 
of variants and so I might well make a Descriptor: cluster that contains:

Template-Type: DESCRIPTOR

and then include this in the DOCUMENT, etc templates as a single cluster 
reference such as:


(note that this sneakily means that the expanded attribute names stay the 
same which is handy for us in ROADS as we've already got lots of 
templates with these attributes in. :-) ).  I'm happy to listen to howls 
of complaint though.

Anyway, take a look at it and see what you think.  Any bugs that you can 
see that need fixing email me _and_ the list and we can either discuss 
them and/or I can fix them.  Once everybody is happy, I'll resubmit it as 
an Internet Draft and we can get the ball rolling again.  Another 
``coming attraction'' will hopefully be a small document that relates the 
attributes in the IAFA DOCUMENT template to the Dublin Core elements for 
sanity checking purposes - expect that in a couple of weeks as I'm pretty 
busy at the moment and people keep popping up with unexpected meetings 
and problems everytime I sit down to do something (which is why I'm typing 
this message at 1am and I still haven't had my tea yet :-( ).


Jon Knight, Researcher, Sysop and General Dogsbody, Department of Computer
Studies, Loughborough University of Technology, Leics., ENGLAND.  LE11 3TU.
* I've found I now dream in Perl.  More worryingly, I enjoy those dreams. *