[rfc-i] Digital Preservation Considerations for the RFC Series -- draft-flanagan-rfc-preservation-00.txt is posted

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Thu Sep 11 09:05:28 PDT 2014

Hash: SHA1

On 9/10/14, 7:16 PM, John Levine wrote:
>> I'm reviewing the draft, and wondering if the problem is that I'm
>> specifying xml2rfc as the tool to preserve over a more broad "whatever
>> tools are required to verify the XML source and render the publication
>> formats"?
> That's an interesting question, but the answer is along the lines of
> how far down in the turtles do you want to preserve.

The tension between trying to capture all the turtles (see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down for those of you
who aren't familiar with the 'turtles' reference here) and trying to be
reasonable is exactly why I drafted this document in the first place.

> The xml2rfc tools are written in python.  Current versions of python
> are written mostly in C.  Current C compilers are written in
> themselves, but depend on an underlying operating system to handle the
> files and such.  And so forth.
> Assuming the W3C is making a comparable effort to preserve the specs
> for XML, I would preserve the python code for xml2rfc, and the specs
> for the format.  What are you using to create the PDF/A?  I expect
> it's complex enough to be a challenge to reverse engineer.

I'm not actually sure that assumption re: the W3C is valid; there is a
remarkable lack of information out of other SDOs on how they archive
their material.  In any case, I think you and I are arguing for the same
thing - archive the tool(s) and associated documentation for those
tools, but don't go as far as trying to archive all the language
libraries, compilers, unicode standards, etc, etc, etc.  Am I
misunderstanding what you're looking for in the draft?

- -Heather

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