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Sunday, February 17, 2008

OASIS TC Publishes Code List Representation (Genericode) Version 1.0

G. Ken Holman announced that "Code List Representation (Genericode)
Version 1.0" (Committee Specification 01) has been published, and is
available online. Edited by Anthony B. Coates on behalf of the OASIS
Code List Representation TC, this document describes the OASIS Code
List Representation model and W3C XML Schema, known collectively as
'genericode'. Code lists, or enumerated values, have been with us since
long before computers. Most people would agree that the following is
a code list: {'SUN', 'MON', 'TUE', 'WED', 'THU', 'FRI', 'SAT'}. Code
lists should be well understood and easily dealt with by now.
Unfortunately, they are not. As is often the case, if you take a
fundamentally simple concept, you find that everyone professes to
understand it with complete clarity. When you look more closely, you
find that everybody has their own unique view of what the problem is
and how it should be solved. If code lists were really so simple and
obvious, there would already be a single, well-known and accepted way
of handling them in XML. There is no such agreed solution, though.
The problem is that while code lists are a well understood concept,
people don't actually agree exactly on what code lists are, and how
they should be used. The OASIS Code List Representation format,
'genericode', is a single model and XML format (with a W3C XML Schema)
that can encode a broad range of code list information. The XML format
is designed to support interchange or distribution of machine-readable
code list information between systems. Note that genericode is not
designed as a run-time format for accessing code list information, and
is not optimized for such usage. Rather, it is designed as an
interchange format that can be transformed into formats suitable for
run-time usage, or loaded into systems that perform run-time processing
using code list information. There are 3 kinds of genericode documents,
all supported by the one W3C XML Schema: (1) Column Set documents
(contain definitions of genericode columns or keys that can be imported
into code list documents or into other column set documents); (2) Code
List documents (contain metadata describing the code list as a whole,
as well as explicit code list data -- codes and associated values); (3)
Code List Set documents (contain references to particular versions of
code lists, and can also contain version-independent references to code
lists; a code list set document can be used to define a particular
configuration of versions of code lists that are used by a project,
application, standard, etc.). Work on the corresponding CVA formats is
still underway. More Information

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