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[Axiom-developer] Re: noweb, pamphlets, and TeXmacs

From: William Sit
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: noweb, pamphlets, and TeXmacs
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 01:51:45 -0500

Just a simple comment on:

> Currently noweb needs to expand the chunk definition syntax
> to handle some more general scheme such as a URL.

I object to allowing URL in the pamphlet document, the reason being that
pamplet is designed to be "self-contained" (as much as possible). A URL
is unfortunately not something permanent and the link therefore can
frequently be broken. Unless there is some mechanism to ensure that all
URL are valid and updated, it would not be useful. An example: authors
post preprints to the web. Perhaps because of copyright, the preprints
are withdrawn after publication. The URL pointing to the preprint no
longer works, and no new one can be substituted (even pointing to the
journal does not assure availability because of subscription; pointing
to an archive may violate copyright).

  The trouble is that there is no mechanism for the author of the
pamphlet who cited the URL to be aware or notified when the URL fails
(which may happen years afterwards when someone try that link). If the
goal is to preserve documentation and readability "for eternity", this
would not be acceptable.

  Ideally, it seems we are planning to build Axiom into a mathematical
encyclopedia for symbolic computation, and so references should be as
internal as possible. Of course, we cannot achieve this until "steady
state" occurs, but if this dilemma is not considered and resolved now,
the goal could never be reached.

  The same consideration would require that the Axiom system be always
backward compatible when the language grows to incorporate new
technologies; and if not, there should be automatic translations to
update all existing pamphlets.

William Sit
Department of Mathematics..............Email: address@hidden
City College of New York..........................Tel: 212-650-5179
Convent Ave at West 138th Street..................Fax: 212-862-0004
New York, NY 10031.....Asian Symposium on Computer Mathematics 2003

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