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Subject: RE: [legalxml-econtracts] Minutes Draft from the OASIS Legal XML Member Section Electronic Contracts Technical Committee Secretary (File id: @@2540)

>(Originally, the committee anticipated that XHTML 2.0
>would have considerable market acceptance.  Thus, there would have
>been an advantage to basing the contract structural markup on XHTML 2.0. 
>One of the members of the Structural Markup subcommittee said that
>after adding to XHTML 2.0 the markup needed for contracts, it was
>"barely recognizable as XHTML 2.0.")

The seventh public Working Draft of XHTML 2.0 was published on 27 May 2005. Steve Pemberton gave an interesting talk at
http://www.w3.org/2005/Talks/05-steven-xtech/ about the work, where he discusses its relationship to the Semantic Web:

    And furthermore, how do the existing semantics relate to the 
    semantic web (i.e. to RDF), and how can you integrate XHTML 
    into the semantic web (or RDF into XHTML) without sending the 
    existing HTML community screaming in the other direction?
What we have done is craftily mutated <meta> and <link> so 
    that they look more or less the same to the HTML author, but 
    now have a clear relationship to RDF, and then generalised.
(emphasis added)

The notion expressed in the minutes that "after adding to XHTML 2.0 the markup needed for contracts, it was barely recognizable as XHTML 2.0", is one certainly ignorant of the technologies involved -- the design for metadata "solves the problem of everyone asking for new elements in XHTML". Further the W3C published a relevent paper on 15 May, Gleaning Resource Description from Dialects of Markup Languages (GRDDL), "for getting RDF data out of XML and XHTML documents using explicitly associated transformation algorithms, typically represented in XSLT." It should also be noted the XHTML WG's Forum is quite active and enthusiastic, so the report about disenchantment with XHMTL2.0 seems odd to me. FWIW, the prospect that any industry would willingly adopt an XML dialect created by OASIS to represent browseable structured narrative documents, in the face of a perfectly acceptable controlled evolutionary path from current W3 technologies, remains to this day highly questionable to me. That said, an OASIS-sponsored RDF ontology for legal documents would definitely be useful and appropriate now that the Requirements Document is published.

Ah well, as Steve says, "It is going to last call shortly: we welcome your comments!"

Rock on!


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