Georg Vogeler: Separation of Concerns – Modelling Economical Data in Texts. Abstract # 20 (random order)

“The paper will expand on a generic model of digital editing in which several layers of perception and documentation could be distinguished: a visual layer, a textual and the content i.e. the world to be represented by the text. As I have argued elsewhere (2014, 2015a, 2015b) all these levels can be important for the work with historical accounting documents. For the visual and the textual layer exist very well established technologies: digital imaging, unicode and XML markup in particular following the guidelines of the TEI. Using the appropriate technologie for each level realises the basic software development principle of separation of concern. In the case of economic and accounting documents it is the content layer which nees a deeper discussion. A look at the technologies first considered for the digital representation of this information shows that the modern business world has developed a wide set: spreadsheet software formats, SQL, dedicated business software etc. This kind of technologies often violates the principle of separation of concerns as they usually don’t use a separate method for the formal representation of logical concepts. The W3C Semantic Web recommendation for a Resource Description Framework (RDF) helps to solve this problem as it offers technologies dedicated to represent conceptualisation of “world facts”. The XML interoperability standard for business reporting XBRL adds the last facet in separation of concerns necessary in the encoding of historical economic and accounting document: It clearly distinguished between basic business reporting concepts like monetary values and their categorisation. It offers a framework to describe these kinds of taxonomies thus allowing historians to develop more than one model if the world represented in the text. Unfortunately XBRL is so complex that taxonomies are usually build by highly paid consultance. I conclude thus, that we should follow the need to separate several concerns in editing of and doing research with historical accounts by developing a RDF based ontology of economic facts that we think the monks, accountants, clerks, politicans etc. had in mind when they wrote the documents we are studying.”


Georg Vogeler (Karl-Franzens-Universität; Graz)

Presentation: Oct 23, 11.05 – 11.25 a.m., University of Regensburg, Großer Sitzungssaal des Philosophikums (PT 3.0.79) [PROGRAMME]


Picture credits: Nicolaes Maes, The Account Keeper [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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