[tei-council] TEI Conformance

James Cummings James.Cummings at computing-services.oxford.ac.uk
Mon Nov 27 11:11:20 EST 2006

Daniel O'Donnell wrote:
> To the extent that it matters, I'm finding Conal's reasoning here persuasive.
> Is it necessary that the "private" TEI extension namespaces be labeled as tei
> extension namespaces. I.e. my namespace for tei extensions should not simply
> be danielodonnell.org but tei.danielodonnell.org so that the space is clearly
> identified as a TEI extension namespace (as opposed to all the other things I
> might us my general namespace for) and also mine (to avoid collisions). This
> might help the incubating idea, because it would clearly mark out the TEI 
> interesting material.

In reply to Conal writing:

>> I think it would be very odd to say (even in big letters) "this is a
>> special namespace in which name collisions are only to be expected",
>> because the avoidance of namespace collisions is literally the only purpose
>> of XML namespaces. The analogy with Unicode's Private Use Area is not
>> valid, since Unicode only needs the PUA because it lacks namespaces.
>> Where name collision is considered tolerable, I think it would be better to
>> define extensions in no namespace at all, because at least there's a
>> universal recognition that non-namespaced elements are prone to collision.
>> If a user doesn't care to protect their customisation against name
>> collision then let them not use namespaces.
>> Finally, can I ask: what's the actual benefit of defining a special
>> "extension" namespace? It's not like by providing a "TEI Extension"
>> namespace we would save anyone significant work since literally ALL they
>> have to do is make up a unique URI for their namespace.

I've been thinking about Daniel and Conal's comments, and must say that I too
find Conal's argument that we should strive to avoid element name collision by
not having a single TEI Extensions namespace entirely convincing.

Part of the reason though for suggesting a TEI Extensions namespace is that
these are extensions to the TEI rather than anything else.  That is, I want them
clearly demarcated that these are things the person has added to the TEI, and
that the TEI is the system of assumptions and semantics that has inspired these
elements.  That they are, indeed, TEI-inspired, rather than coming out of
another tradition (say docbook), etc.

What does council think of proposing that new additions to the TEI which are not
renaming subsets are *recommended* to be in a namespace following certain
conventions.  Particularly a namespace like:


As everyone knows the namespace URI doesn't need to (indeed some say shouldn't)
resolve to anything.  This would have the in-built reminder that these are
extensions to the TEI, rather than extensions just generally. My intention here
being that we should be reinforcing the prominence of the TEI whenever possible.

I do, however, foresee at least two significant comments on this:

1) Does this bring the TEI into disrepute if I make some really *stupid*
additions, and they are in a namespace which is associated with the TEI
Consortium?  Does it look like we are somehow approving of these extensions?
Obviously, we'd have to make it clear that we were in no way responsible for
their content.  Although I doubt the porn industry uses TEI (do, please, prove
me wrong!), I'd hate to see a namespace used that was

2) If this is made into a recommendation, then why not make it a 'member
benefit' that I've heard so much about.  I.e. members of a certain level are
allowed to do this, and others are forbidden. Of course, then, since there is no
control over this (even with interchange), there is really no way to regulate
that.  (so nothing to stop me putting my namespace in http://www.w3.org/james/
or anywhere else... but of course not really much benefit of doing so...unless I
want to come up with fake recommendations?!)

If you feel these (and other problems) are significant enough not to recommend
this, then let me know and instead I'll recommend that they just choose their
own URI.



Dr James Cummings, Oxford Text Archive, University of Oxford
James dot Cummings at oucs dot ox dot ac dot uk

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