[crm-sig] Editorial Proposal

Crofts Nicholas (DAEL) nicholas.crofts at etat.ge.ch
Tue Sep 17 12:39:15 EEST 2002

Concerning Martin's proposal to add settlements and populations to the scope
of E4 Period.

Martin observes that scope notes should "remind us our common concepts..."

The proposal to include settlements and populations as examples of periods
does not concur with my common-sense view of what these things are. I would
argue that E77 Persistent Item is more appropriate and that it is already
intended to deal with the identity questions Martin raises.

As I understand him, Martin gives two reasons for regarding settlements as
instances of periods. i) that satisfactory identity criteria are difficult
to establish and that ii) their existence has temporal limits.

Taking these point in turn:
i) Martin notes, correctly, that the composition of a city may change over
time and that it is therefore difficult to use as a criterion of identity :

" What is the city? people change, buildings change, borders change.
The diachronic identity can neither be Stuff, Actor, [nor] Place."

However, the difficulty of providing precise identity criteria based on
material composition has already been discussed in the scope note for E77
Persistent Item:

"The conditions under which an object can be deemed to maintain
its identity are often difficult to establish ... material objects in daily
use ... undergo material changes due to maintenance etc. without changing
identity. Identity in these cases would seem to depend more on *continuity*
rather than the presence of any particular physical state or component."

I would suggest that the identity criteria for settlements and populations
can be established in terms of continuity and that, therefore, they should
be regarded as instances of E77 persistent item.

ii) Martin elsewhere has noted that the fact that a material object has a
limited life-span is not a good reason for regarding it as a period: "I have
never seen a reasonable documentation structure, that puts
objects under events because of their limited life-span... The evidence in
data structures is that they are disjoint."

I would argue that the same reasoning applies to settlements and

Broadening the scope of E4 Period to include settlements would entail
including other many other similar objects, for which precise criteria of
"diachronic identity" are difficult to establish.

Best wishes

Nicholas Crofts
Conseiller en systèmes d'information

-----Message d'origine-----
De : martin [mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr]
Envoyé : samedi, 14. septembre 2002 10:28
À : crm-sig at ics.forth.gr
Objet : [crm-sig] Editorial Proposal

Dear All,

I propose to add the following to the scope note of Period:

Settlements and populations in their diachronic identity are
also regarded as Periods.


E.g. "This object is from Heraklion"
can have two interpretations:
A) It was found within the city limits at the time of finding.
     In that case Heraklion denotes a Place, but only, if identified
     at a specific instance of time.
B) It is a product or trading good of the city.
     What is the city? people change, buildings change, borders change.
     The diachronic identity can neither be Stuff, Actor, Place.

Therefore I regard it as a contiguous set of phenomena, a Period.
I have so far not found any conflict with this interpretation.

A "community" would be an Actor. I would however not identify the
Greek, Sarazene, Byzantine, Venetian, Turkish, and again Greek
community of Heraklion as one Actor. But despite discontinuity in
will, sef-understood identity and influence, there is continuity
in settlement.

I think this explanation has been used by us, but not been formulated.


  Dr. Martin Doerr              |  Vox:+30(810)391625         |
  Principle Researcher          |  Fax:+30(810)391609         |
  Project Leader SIS            |  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr |
                Information Systems Laboratory                |
                 Institute of Computer Science                |
    Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)   |
  Vassilika Vouton,P.O.Box1385,GR71110 Heraklion,Crete,Greece |
          Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl               |


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