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Re: [ddlm-group] DDLm aliases (subject changed). .. .. .. .. .. .

On Tuesday, February 01, 2011 9:55 AM, Herbert J. Bernstein wrote:
>   There is no "point" in denormalizing for presentaion purposes.  The normalized and denormailzed presentations carry the same information.

As long as this is this is merely a presentation issue, that's true.  When the data model is denormalized in order to permit a denormalized presentation, it is no longer true.  It is to the latter that I object.

>   This really is just a matter of taste.  John B. is wrong when he tries to settle it as a technical issue.

If it affects the logic that my programs must perform to correctly validate a CIF, including a dictionary CIF, then it is a technical issue.  If I can make a valid technical argument favoring one position, then it is a technical issue.  It becomes a matter of taste only if we make a technical decision that it should be so.  Herbert clearly prefers that we make such a decision, but he is not empowered to declare it made.

>  If you, in working with the core want the alias information in denormailized form, that is fine.  If you, in working with the core are more comfortable with the alias information normalized, that is fine.  We don't need a uniform answer for all dictionaries.  It is easy to go back and forth and to combine information from both forms.
>   We already have multiple flavors of dictionaries because we are all different people and we have different work to do.
The important issue is not that the dictionary styles be the same but that they contain the necessary information in ways that allow them to be combined in a consistent, interoperable manner.

Inasmuch as this is about the appropriate requirements for presenting parent and child categories in joined form, I find the argument somewhat persuasive.  However, I'm still confused by the emphasis that Herbert is placing on this issue.  If the language provides an adequate way to do the job, then why is it of such importance that it also provide alternatives?  Doing so makes the language more difficult to process, which might overall outweigh any benefit it provides to dictionary authors.  I'm not sure where the balance lies, but I don't think anyone is well served by insufficiently considered action.

John C. Bollinger, Ph.D.
Department of Structural Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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