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Conference Papers Year : 2009

ODD as a generic specification platform


The experience gained since the first concepts for the “new” ODD for P5 were set in 2004 has shown both the great usefulness but also the limitations of what has become the core element of the TEI infrastructure as a whole. Indeed, ODD has not only been used to specify all TEI components in P5 but progressively has been adopted by the community as a customisation framework, ranging from personal adaptation of the TEI to the definition of new modules, which could be ultimately submitted to the consortium. Still, ODD is so intricately connected to the TEI environment that this prevents at times other communities to use it for the specification of their own XML formats independently of what is actually available from the TEI. There has been some experiments in this direction, even in other standardisation communities (W3C and ISO for instance), but all have faced such technical difficulties (element name conflict, management of namespace, impossibility just to reuse basic components of the TEI) that the actual success of these endeavours could only be the result of a strong motivation and direct involvement of a TEI specialist. In parallel, a debate has started both within the council and in the TEI community as a whole as to whether we should make ODD evolve, in which directions and with which impact on the TEI tool developments. The issue is obviously motivated by the feeling that ODD has the potential to be a real specification platform with more architectural capacities (modules and classes) then existing XML schema languages. Instead of making a technical analysis of the features that should be modified and added from the current ODD, I will explore a series of use cases where I identify potential needs and requirements for more expressivity, more flexibility or more coherence in the core ODD concepts. These use cases will in particular be articulated along two axes: * From a TEI internal point of view, how can we reuse customizations to go towards the definition of families of schemas that allow projects or communities of users to manage various workflows and maintain their levels of requirement in coherence with the main TEI framework? * Seen from the outside, how can ODD be used independently of the TEI, or more probably in combination with some TEI components, without imposing a precise knowledge of the TEI intricacies? This will lead to the elicitation of some requirements concerning module autonomy and inter-dependence which seem to be solvable through the introduction of the concept of crystals, i.e. connected and autonomous groups of elements. I will show how this concept facilitates the understanding of inheritance mechanisms in ODD as well as allows more flexibility in contemplating any kind of combination of TEI and non-TEI components.
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inria-00433433 , version 1 (19-11-2009)


  • HAL Id : inria-00433433 , version 1


Laurent Romary. ODD as a generic specification platform. Text encoding in the era of mass digitization - Conference and Members' Meeting of the TEI Consortium, University of Michigan, Nov 2009, Ann Arbor, United States. ⟨inria-00433433⟩
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