Knowledge Organisation


Kim H. Veltman

Standard and Variant Names and Classifications: Cross-Cultural Challenges for Europe in a Global Context

European Association of Directory and Database Publishers (EADP), Rey Juan Carlos Hotel, 19 September, 2002, Barcelona, 2002 (in press).

1. Introduction
2. Developments
3. Dangers
4. Fuzzy Versus Exact
5. Variant Names
6. Domain Names and Classification Systems
7. Local, Regional, National, International and Global
8. Conclusions
Appendix 1. Key Developments in naming and directories over the past fifty years.

1. Introduction

Naming is a process as old as mankind. Names play a central role in directories and databases. The challenge is straightforward: when we name things we need ways to find (back) those names efficiently. Enormous progress has been made in this context over the past fifty years. There are global trends towards convergence. There are new global solutions with respect to electronic data in general and names in particular. On the surface we are moving from strength to strength. Efforts which began in the mid 1970s as Electronic Data Exchange (EDI), have led to Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT). It has also led to X.500, LDAP and more recently to a host of new acronyms, which promise to solve all our problems: SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, UCLP and XML/EDI.

The first part of this paper reviews these developments, which are described in more detail in Appendix 1, and outlines a trend whereby a) Europe tends to develop complex solutions which are then b) adapted in a simplified form in the United States and subsequently c) these simplified adaptations pose as solutions for Europe. We shall note dangers and challenges entailed in this trend before outlining a more comprehensive solution for the future.

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