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Subject: Furthering support for "existing standards"

*** NOTE : First time poster.  Sorry for any unintentional blasphemies, heresies, and/or sacrileges. O:-)


I started playing with DocBook when version 5 was in a Release Candidate (RC) status.  One thing that I immediately noticed was that it replaced (or modified) existing linking structures to use XLink.  This pleased me.  Then I read the following quote from the Transition Guide (after Example 2 under "Relaxing with DocBook"): "As you can see, DocBook V5.0 is built on top of existing XML standards as much as possible."  This is great stuff.

I would like to see this thinking pushed even further.  I was working on the documentation for an open-source project the other day, and I was stricken with the amount of copy-pasted markup for author information.  I thought to myself, "Well, why don't we just put all the authors in one file and reference them?"  

And then I thought: 

  1. "Well, since the <author> element contains contact info for a person or an organization, and 
  2. the VCard standard contains contact information for a person or organization, 
  3. wouldn't it be great if I could just put all the authors / editors / etc. in one directory as Vcards and then put something like <author vcard="doe.john.vcf" /> in the DocBook source?"


  1. Info for authors / editors / etc. would not be become inconsistent across multiple files
  2. Easier for editors working on <authors> in DocBook, since they simply reference a Vcard
  3. Easier for authors, since they only have to worry about updating their Vcard, rather than a potentially long list of items like "I wrote this chapter, and this chapter, but not this chapter; and I wrote this section within this chapter…" and so on.
  4. Reuses an existing standard.

Well, Vcards are an existing standard; but upon revisiting the quote I cited earlier, it says "DocBook V5.0 is built on top of existing XML standards as much as possible."  

No problem.  See Representing vCard Objects in RDF/XML for RDF/XML; and the subsection "6. vCard in XML" deals with Vcards as XML without the RDF.  (See also "XEP-0054: vcard-temp", the XML spec for Vcards "in the Jabber community.")

Bonus points if this could also be accomplished with FOAF as well!  (Example:  <author vcard="doe.john.vcf" foaf="doe.john.foaf" />)


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