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Re: [ddlm-group] Clarification on dREL tables

Dear James,
  Why is it necessary or desirable to have a uniform type for keys?  This would seem to bar a lot of uses of 
rather natural mmCIF and imgCIF constructs in which tables can be formed with composite keys some
of which are integers, such as array_id and binary_id and some of which are strings such as entry_id.
This kind of mixture allows us to build useful databases of information culled from multiple entries unless
we completely forbid making databases of rows extracted from tables with integer keys where the data
comes from multiple entries.

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 9:02 PM James Hester <jamesrhester@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi all,

The dREL paper is not explicit on the uniformity of the keys used in dREL tables (associative dictionaries). In the supplementary material it says is that keys can be integers or 'character values'.  It is not explicit about whether these types of keys can be mixed in a single table. I suggest we clarify this point by stating that dREL table keys must be of the same type (the key types would be "cased strings", "caseless strings", or "integers"). I note that values are already constrained to be of the same type, and I believe that this stipulation is consistent with the current usage in the CIF dictionaries.

If there are any concerns about this, feel free to respond, otherwise I will incorporate this clarification into the Vol G dREL chapter.

all the best,
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