[Smt-talk] General term for movements, acts, numbers

Richard Lewis richard.lewis at gold.ac.uk
Tue May 29 05:11:10 PDT 2012

Dear All,

Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. Many of them were good and
generic: component, section, division, piece, work-section. However, I
think it's quite important to have a more specific term here to avoid
overlap with other concepts and to make the intended meaning clear.

At Sat, 26 May 2012 17:44:05 +0000,
Richard Porterfield wrote:
> I believe the word Richard Lewis is looking for is the German
> Satz. Not only does it serve the purpose, it is established in the
> literature (see article by William Drabkin and Ingeborg Pfingsten in
> NGO) and short.

Thanks for this; it looks very promising. I wonder if I could ask the
list for another opinion? If, as a scholar, you encountered this term
in a thematic catalogue, would you understand its intended meaning?

At Fri, 25 May 2012 20:17:05 +0000
mwmorse at bell.net wrote:

> Some interesting answers here. But isn't this in effect a database
> problem? Tools from that world sound like the best solutions: Roman
> numerals, subletters, and so on. Not elegant, but both more
> functional and less frustrating than trying to coin logical
> terminology.

It is a database problem, but the problem is, what should I call the
table that contains these things? I'd like to have them all in the
same table because they can all have very similar relations with other
entities in the database, e.g., they can be performed, they can be
published, they can appear in manuscript, they can be mentioned in a
letter, and, of course, they can form part of a work.

At Fri, 25 May 2012 10:53:44 -0400,
Locke, Ralph wrote:

> As a further clarification to my suggestion ("work-section"), I
> should add that, of course, part of the problem is with the
> (ontological?) concept of what a "work" is.

This is, of course, an important consideration and I attempt to model
it in my database by allowing works (and parts of works, whatever they
will be called!) to stand in a variety of derivation relations with
each other.

At Fri, 25 May 2012 12:39:37 -0400,
Charles J. Smith wrote:

> To my mind, the interesting question here is whether these concepts
> are similar enough that trying to find a single covering term is
> worth the effort.

I believe the benefits of grouping them together for this particular
project outweigh any potential loss of meaning. I refer, especially,
to their participation in relations with other entities in the

> If I were designing such a database, I'd try to design in some kind
> of hierarchy. Why not a super-category of Movement/Act, and then
> another smaller-scale category of Scene/Number/Division, to be used
> only where necessary and otherwise left blank? That seems an
> appealingly hierarchical solution.

In fact, this is already part of my model. These parts of works can
point to a "parent" and describe their relation with their
"parent". This way, the hierarchy can go to any depth required,
although, so far, two levels has been the deepest (acts <- scenes).

Richard Lewis
ISMS, Computing
Goldsmiths, University of London
t: +44 (0)20 7078 5134
j: ironchicken at jabber.earth.li
@: lewisrichard
s: richardjlewis

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