RE: ISO 11179; Basic Semantic Repository; Z39.50/STAS

Fritz Lehmann <>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 1995 03:26:20 -0700
From: Fritz Lehmann <>
Message-id: <>
To:,, edi-new@tegsun.Harvard.EDU,,,,,
Subject: RE: ISO 11179; Basic Semantic Repository; Z39.50/STAS
Precedence: bulk
Dear Ken Steel,

     You wrote:
---begin quote---
>    If 11179 fails to have any standardized basic "semantic content" at all,
>who will provide it?
How did you arrive at that conclusion?
---pause quote---

     Someone on X3L8 told me, to my dismay, that disputes over the
semantic content of the 11179 "Object Taxonomy" had caused some 
committee members to decide on having no taxonomy at all rather
than prolonging the disputes.  Since this discussion is read by
X3L8 members, they are in a good position to reply and clarify this
issue -- explain what the dispute was, and what the resolution was.

---resume quote---
>     Thanks for clarifying the relation of ISO 11179 to the EDI BSR
>(Basic Semantic Repository).  Denis Hill, head of the UN BSR committee,
>has said things a number of times in email that seem to warn against
>excessive attention to correctness and detail, so that the BSR effort can
>move forward fast as a practical matter.
That is an incorrect conclusion as to Denis Hill's position. What is
happening is Denis is refusing to be side-tracked by red-herrrings. There
is a lot of care going into the semantic content of the BSR by the whole
production team INCLUDING Denis Hill.
---pause quote---

     I based my remarks partly on Hill's own email remarks about "red herrings"
among others.  Would you please explain in some detail what semantic issues you
and Denis Hill have determined to be red herrings.

>This is quite legitimate, but
>I am reminded that the same "practical orientation" (dispensing with
>careful analysis of meanings and coordinating of different sources)
That is not happening with the BSR. You really should stop listening
to people who don't know what is actually happening. PLEASE GET
I must say you are surprising me. You are usually quite careful about
analysis and conclusions. Why are you being so stupid in this case?
---end quote---

     I was attempting to glean Hill's view from his "red-herring" remarks
and others which seemed to emphasize speed over care.  To assist me in
getting my facts straight, it would be helpful if more BSR facts were posted
by BSR people to the BSR list; I have been watching it for quite a while
and have seen few technical facts.  As for the people I'm listening to
not knowing what is happening, I confess to presuming that committee members
do.  I am very happy to be corrected, and I would like to learn the process
by which all the Basic Semantic Units are being defined, and see the actual
repository definitions.

     Despite my stupidity, I am still a supporter of the BSR and 11179
which I have been praising, if you recall; I just have become worried lately
that they are now considering turning away from "the high road" in the
name of "practicality".  If this is demonstrably untrue, I'm reassured.

                          Yours truly,   Fritz Lehmann
GRANDAI Software, 4282 Sandburg Way, Irvine, CA 92715, U.S.A.
Tel:(714)-856-0671               email: