Accounting for Context in Markup: Which Situation, Whose Semantics?
Karen M. Wickett
University of Texas at Austin
Situation semantics - as developed by Barwise and Perry - is a general theory of meaning for natural language, and can be used to understand the role of context in markup semantics. While the notion of a discourse situation provides many of the right hooks for accounting for contextual assignment of meaning to markup structures, there are still many open questions. One critical issue is that situation semantics itself is open enough to allow many different approaches to identifying the relevant discourse situation. Three core types of discourse situations for descriptive markup - documentary, transport, and discovery - lead to distinct features in the discourse situations connected to those scenarios. Beyond developing a fuller picture of the discourse situations that shape the meaning of markup, this exercise lays groundwork for the full analysis of the assignment of meaning to metadata records.