Types of data

Susan B. Farmer sfarmer at GOLDSWORD.COM
Tue Nov 23 18:39:09 CET 1999

>From: Leigh Dodds <ldodds at ingenta.com>
>So, what do people see as the basic requirements for this kind
>of format?
>- ease of use (i.e. authoring)
>- ease of processing (parsing, validating, reading, converting)
>- ease of sharing (i.e. distribution)
>- open-ness (i.e. proprietary/non-proprietary)
>- ease of extensibility (i.e. ability to add more information cleanly at a
>- internationalization
>- un-abiguity of data representation
>- unlimited size of data sets? (i.e. any limitation on character names,
>lengths, item names, numbers, etc)
>What types of data need to be modelled by the format? (this can
>be a post-requirements gathering step, but some consideration needs
>to be given early on to measure the 'success' of the current
>- what types of characters? (real, integer, text, etc)
>- what types of data (text, images, other formats?)

One of the data types that I would like to see modeled is a "matrix type"
data type.  Consider the leaf shape.  When I made up my DELTA data set,
I turned leaf shape into *3* characters -- one for leaf width, one for
the position of the widest shape, and a 3rd for the contour of the
sides.  (narrow, broad; ovate, obovate; rounded, parallel).  As the
basis for this division, I used the IAPT plain shape chart -- a two
dimensional representation.

When you have a shape that varies from narrowly ovate to broadly obovate --
how can you model that in *one* character?  Variance from narrowly ovate
to narrowly obovate is possible just as variance from narrowly ovate to
narrowly obovate.

You would define the data type by number and size of dimensions.  (Two
would probably be sufficient for most cases).

Susan Farmer
sfarmer at goldsword.com
Botany Department, University of Tennessee

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