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

Bruce wrote:
>If "vocabulary" is an elliptical way of saying "type vocabulary", and
>we all understand the derivation of the term the same way,
>then "vocabulary" would suffice.
>Regarding "document type", I would argue that this is a misleading term.
>It's a fragile argument, but I'll try it anyway.
>Documents are at the instance level. A type vocabulary is at the type level.
OK, we're talking about different things. Maybe that's where all this confusion stems from, and it's one more reason for me to dislike "vocabulary".

We have type modules and domain modules. You cannot create documents based on this modules. You can, however, knit these modules together using a shell DTD or schema file to create an actual document type, based on which you can create actual documents.  The information type modules and domain modules are not being called vocabularies, and I don't think anyone is suggesting they should be (although they have in the past, Erik's proposal is to use the word vocabulary in a different way that would be at odds with this usage). The nice thing about the word module is that it applies either to DTDs or to schemas, so it's sufficient for our purposes.

The shell file that pulls the modules together into a document type has been previously called a "DTD shell file" or "schema shell file". The resulting DTD or schema has been called a "DTD" or "schema". We need a generic word to refer to these DTD or schema artifacts (the shell file and the resulting document type). I had previously been using "shell file" and "document type" respectively. There was a concern that the term "document type" was DTD-specific, and alternatives were proposed, including "vocabulary".

I no longer buy that "document type" is a DTD-specific term, and thus I no longer buy that we need a new term to replace it. "Document type" is being used in exactly the sense we want by the XHTML specification, which has the exact same concerns we do: implementation in both schema and DTD, and document types created by integrating multiple modules, each of which on its own is insufficient to create a document.

Michael Priestley
Dept PRG IBM Canada  phone: 416-915-8262
Toronto Information Development

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