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Subject: Minutes Draft from the OASIS Legal XML Member Section Electronic Contracts Technical Committee Secretary (File id: @@2600)

The OASIS Legal XML Member Section e-Contracts Technical Committee
                         October 19th  2005

Dr. Zoran Milosvic
Rolly Chambers
Dr. Laurence Leff
Peter Meyers
Daniel Greenwood

Started 18:03

We need a final push to complete the specification based upon BNML.
We discussed whether people thought about making the BNML a specification
and confirmed that there was a committment for the time and effort needed.

One member wants a meeting twenty-four hours later.  
The Technical Committee decided to change its meeting time to Thursdays 
at 18:00 New York City time.  The next meeting will be in eight days on
Thursday October 27th.

One member suggested that we might focus on the needs to exchange contracts
between software systems.  This would lead to an interoperability test,
recognizing that under OASIS rules, an interoperability demonstration can
occur only after a specification is approved.  Among the membership, two
systems were identified for 

We recognized there were two lists of issues, one submitted by Mr. Rolly
Chambers and the other submitted by Mr. Peter Meyer.  These will be
combined and the TC intends to "work through"these.  It anticipates
completing this by the end of the calendar year, possibly earlier.

The Technical Committe agreed that Peter Meyers could make his 
presentation at the XML 2005 in Atlanta on the subject "Proposed
Standards for Contract Document Markup."
An abstract was approved by the XML 2005 comittee.

Mr. Dan Greenwood, as chairperson, briefly raised the issue of
the communication regarding the relations between standards.
He suggested that we have someone at the meeting, to be held
in conjunction with the New York City Legal Tech conference on leveraging
these standards.

Mr. Rolly Chambers briefly compared our effort with that of the Court Document
committee of the OASIS Legal XML Member Section
Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee which he
is monitoring.  We also discussed the Unified
Business Language effort which is developing a standard for the "business
terms"  That does not deal with the "boiler plate" in contract such as
indemnity clauses and selection of an arbitrator.  We discussed attaching
semantics to the narratives and adding narrative to UBL elements.

The technical committee discussed some more technical issues in using the
BNML Specification:
BNML has "hidden recursion" which David Mergansen's work on DTD's show
cannot be specified with a DTD.    Hidden recursion is an
issue is used in dealing with item elements within block elements.

Block-item-item is not legal in BNML but this cannot be enforced with the DTD.
Another member pointed out that the Electronic Court Filing Committee
recognizes that some constraints on the Legal XML are expressed in words
in the specification but these are not enforceable with a schema mechanism.
One would have to write software in a conventional programming language
to check that a particular document obeys these constraints.

Interspersing block and item creates problems when printing a document.
In particular, the software cannot determine the appropriate place
to place page breaks, creating "widow-orphan" problems when a block
follows an item.  We discussed the three
modes, "strict," "loose" and "standard" modes.  Elkera's software
accepts all three but only generates XML that is valid under the
"strict" mode.  Thus the TC might consider using the "loose" model
for interchange.

We also discused whether the TC should specify using the ID-IDREF mechanism
in XML DTD and XML Schema.  The ID-IDREF mechanism does not work across
files.  Using this would create problems for those who wish to keep parts
of contracts as "precedent documents" as ID's and IDrefs would not
validate across the both precedent document and other part of the document.

Also, we  identified some items in the BNML specification that could be
considered formatting and presentation.

1) the align attiributes for block and text
2) EM tags to specifiy italic and bold
3) height and width tags for graphics.
4) the ability to select the numbering scheme.  Currently, a user of BNML
   can say that this list might be numbered sequentially alphabetically
   or numerically.  Alternatively, one could provide specific lables
   for each item in the list.

One user said that "if it can be done with a style sheet, it is formatting
or presentation."

The BNML specification is available as DTD, Relax Compact Notations and
XML Schema.    The TC discussed the issues in choosing these and some of the
advantages and disadvantages of these techniques of specifying
XML document syntax.
The BNML specification was originally written using
Relax and the other two were derived from this.  Comments are in the
Relax form of the specification.

One member experimented in using the BNML RNC schemas in Oxygen and Tubo XML
editors.  There was a brief discussion of the experiment and the issues
it raised and the root cause and solution of various difficulties.

Meeting closed 19:37

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