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Proceedings: Symposium on Versioning XML Vocabularies and Systems
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International Symposium on
Versioning XML Vocabularies and Systems

Monday August 11, 2008
Hotel Europa, Montréal, Canada

Things change; new concepts come into being; sometimes things turn out to be different from how we thought they were. So sometimes we decide to revise our formerly perfect XML systems. As a result:

  • new terms appear in our tag sets
  • existing vocabularies are revised at both coarse and fine grain, either to fix bugs or to allow concepts to mutate semantically
  • parts of the vocabulary are deleted or deprecated
  • different flavors of the same vocabulary arise
  • schemas proliferate and document collections become heterogeneous

All this movement leaves us with many critical questions: Should all changes be backwards-compatible so that no users of the current system are inconvenienced? Do we ignore current users and march boldly into a new and incompatible world? Do we need forward compatibility? Knowing that users have extended our vocabulary, how do we version the core out from under them? Does it matter which schema language you are using, or all we all in the same boat?


Three presentations explore the overall versioning problem and provide a review of conceptual models and terminology. Three presentations explore live cases: the evolution of HTML by a standards development organization, the user-driven revision of a tag set for journal articles, and the problem of managing version changes across multiple vocabularies and numerous user groups in a large organization. The early afternoon presents systems and methods for attacking versioning problems. The late afternoon will be a Hyde Park Speaker‘s Corner, with open-mike signups available for attendee participation. We cap the day with a closing wrap-up.

9:00 am Peter F. Brown Versioning as a Social Construct
9:30 am David Orchard Versioning Fundamentals
10:00 am Marc de Graauw Axioms of Versioning
11:00 am Laurel Shifrin Managing Multiple Vocabularies Across a Global Enterprise
11:30 am Deborah A. Lapeyre Non-Backwards-Compatible Update: A Difficult Decision
1:30 pm Charlie Halpern-Hamu Difficulties Designing a Publishing Workflow for Three Versions of the Open eBook DTD
2:00 pm G. Ken Holman Versions in UBL
2:30 pm Sandro Hawke Forward-compatibility Using XML Transform as Needed (XTAN)
3:30 pm Symposium attendees Hyde Park Speaker‘s Corner
4:30 pm David Birnbaum Summary and Wrapup
5:30 or so Adjourn to neighborhood watering holes (for any who feel cheated by our dry definition of “Symposium”)


Hyde Park Speaker‘s Corner

At any time during the day, Symposium attendees can submit mini-proposals for five minute time-slots; these five-minute presentations will be given during the “Hyde Park Speaker‘s Corner” session in the afternoon. Speakers will be encouraged to divide their five minutes into two parts: three minutes during which they may state opinions, preferences, or experiences relating to versioning, and two minutes during which the other attendees may react. If there are more proposals than can be accommodated, proposals from people who have not already spoken will be preferred, and random selections from the remaining proposals will be made. As at the “Speaker‘s Corner” in London‘s Hyde Park, there will be virtually no restrictions on allowed content. However, the Versioning Symposium‘s organizers will terminate presentations that are not related to versioning, that are disrespectful of others or their points of view, or that are still incomplete after five minutes have elapsed.

There is nothing so practical as a good theory

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