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Subject: Re: [dita] proposal on "vocabulary" terminology

I try not to have opinions about terminology unless it appears
critical to avoid misleading users (through adoption of a
definition that's counter-intuitive).  In this case it feels
fairly important.

For the target object, "document type" feels wrong because it's
already overloaded with explicitly defined precise meanings (as
well as with not-so-precise related usages).

I would prefer "vocabulary" in this setting because it most
easily leads one to think about a set of names (lexical features)
represented in the collection of all names in the set.  That's
more to the point than "type," which carries other connotations
from its usage in many computing domains and formalisms.

"Vocabulary" isn't overloaded as far as I know in its use as
a precise term -- and I had forgotten about the XML Namespaces
spec, where it refers to element and attribute names (but
apparently not to names in PIs, entities, notations, etc).  Few
people are going to be misled because of the usage in Namespaces.

Most users, I think, will get the right idea correctly from
"vocabulary" because it's an imprecise word for a collection of
named markup constructs, including elements, attributes and
related named aggregations of constructs.

My $0.00002

- Robin

On Fri, 1 Oct 2004, W. Eliot Kimber wrote:

> JoAnn Hackos wrote:
> > Is there a reason that we cannot use "document type" except for an
> > intrusion into the DTD world? I think information developers and
> > architects are more likely to understand the term "doc type" rather
> > than a more esoteric term like "vocabulary"? I'd like to err on the
> > side of usability and user-centeredness if possible. JoAnn
> "document type" is certainly the most accurate if you take it to mean 
> "abstract document type" (that is, a set of types distinct from any 
> implementation expression of them) but I think that most people don't 
> make that distinction, especially people like many of us with deep SGML 
> brain damage, where there was no obvious need to distinquish between the 
> abstract document type and its syntactic expression.
> That's one reason I prefer "vocabulary"--it's completely (and in the 
> namespace spec, explicitly) divorced from any particular syntactic or 
> formal definition or expression of the vocabulary.
> Cheers,
> E.


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