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Subject: Evaluation of the subject scheme review

It was very interesting to evaluate the comments made in the review of the subject scheme material. Several points became very clear:
  • It was the first time that most people had read this content, and probably the first time that it has been reviewed.
  • The draft 1.3 topics contained some examples that illustrate processor behavior that is either not described normatively or described in inadequate detail. I'm working on this, but will definitely need help. There also are limits to what we can do and get DITA 1.3 out this year.
  • The draft 1.3 topics focus primarily on controlled values and do not discuss (much) what can be done with taxonomic subjects, especially in conjunction with the classification domain. I think we'll just need to accept this as a shortcoming for 1.3.
  • Keys and key references function differently in the context of subjectScheme maps. This is especially evident in the following situations, and I think we must clarify our collective, TC stance about the expected processing of @keyref in the context of a subject scheme:
    • Using <schemeref> to extend an enumeration of controlled values or to broaden subject categories
    • Using an addressing attribute to link to a detailed explanation of a subject from a <subjectdef> element. Here I think one must use @href; using @keyref would open up the possibility of lots of circular processing.
  • If subject scheme maps have special rules for processing @keyref, do they also have special rules for key scopes? Are key scopes even valid for subject scheme maps?

Back story:

  • There was one subjectScheme topic in the 1.2 Architectural Spec, and then lots of material in the Language Reference examples. For 1.3, I broke the content into multiple topics, and moved material out of the (non-normative) examples in the Language Reference.
  • The original spec material had been taken from proposals drafted by Erik Hennum (IBM), who left IBM before 1.2 was released. Erik's tendency was to define through example,  which is how so many of the rules and processor expectations ended up in the Language Reference examples.

Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
+1 919 682-2290; kriseberlein (skype)

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