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Subject: RE: Units of Measure

Bob Miller writes that he personally "would not have coded Hispanic as a
data element value, as it makes it harder to hang a semantic ID on the
value."   But he "might have coded the value as <Hispanic/>."  Frankly,
I don't see the difference between a value assigned to <Ethnicity>, such
as "Hispanic", and the empty element <Hispanic/>.  It's like arguing
whether you should use attributes or elements, a difference without a
distinction in most cases (except I think attributes are usually
clearer).  Should it make a difference in yielding those precious

Bob gives way too much credit to the X12 manuals: "In X12, the trail [to
yield its semantics] leads through paper documents."  There's nothing in
the X12 manual that tells you how to discern the semantics of the race
and ethnicity code we've been yapping about, though the entirety of
Census and OMB minutes and hearings might yield an answer.  This is a
self-reported designation, and is just carried along in the EDI data;
knowing the bloodlines that go into "Hispanic," as Bob suggests for
exhuming the semantics, is irrelevant to processing any EDI data
containing the code.

Bob believes "a code list like Unit of Measurement will be torn apart,
and the unit they represent will be related to the individual entities
they modify, so that the syntax prevents things like
'<length>15<FeetPerSecond/></length>'."  Without complicated semantic
analysis, I can already restrict an attribute like "UOM" to "MTR" and
"FOT" (UN/ECE Rec.20) within the element <length> just by using
enumerated attributes in a DTD.  Why mess with breaking down the

If Bob is going to be that much of a fuss-budget, then we're gonna
really be thrown for a tizzy with units of weight.  Me, I'd be satisfied
with a enumerated list of attributes including "KGM" and "LBR" (pound),
satisfactory everyday "weight" units for manageable stuff, whether
coffee, corn or cocaine.  But as every school boy (and girl) knows,
weight is really force and I'd have to use "newtons" instead of
kilograms (1 newton, at the earth's surface where the gravitational
force is 9.8 meters per second squared, is the force applied by a .102
kg. mass because 1 / 9.8 = .102).  I can play this game, too!!!

William J. Kammerer
4950 Blazer Memorial Pkwy.
Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305
+1 614 791-1600

Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/
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