This document provides an explanatory source document for the Human Markup Language Primary Base XML Schema Specification. This is the first of two foundation specifications for the family of Human Markup Language Specifications. This specification provides the primary terms and definitions of the Human Markup Language vocabulary. It is a set of fundamental concepts from which extensions can be built. The Secondary Base XML Schema of the Human Markup Language will elaborate upon this vocabulary to finish the set of Base Specifications from which more specialized, application-area-specific vocabularies and APIs will be constructed.
This is a Committee Specification.
The design of HumanML covers a large scope of possible applications. The Primary Base Human Markup Language Schema, located at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/humanmarkup/schema/huml-primary-base-1.0.xsd is the normative document for validating XML-based applications which use it.
This document is normative for the purpose of documentation and description of the specification
as of the date it is adopted by the OASIS HumanMarkup Technical Committee.
Committee members should send comments on this specification to the
firstname.lastname@example.org list. Others should subscribe to and send comments to the
To subscribe, send an email message to email@example.com with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message.
For information on whether any patents have been disclosed that may be essential to implementing
this specification, and any offers of patent licensing terms, please refer to the Intellectual
Property Rights section of the HumanMarkup TC web page
The errata page for this specification is at
This document is normative as of the date it is adopted by the OASIS HumanMarkup Technical Committee.
If you have comments about this document, please send them to Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards [OASIS]
The Human Markup Language provides a vocabulary which will allow a wide variety of human-centric
applications to be built. It will also allow for a greater depth of information about individuals
to be assembled and used with existing applications at the discretion of the individual concerned.
This effort is motivated to fill the need to:
The Human Markup Language Primary Base Schema is not meant to be application-specific, but
rather to build a foundation on which subsequent schemata can be written to supply application-specific
The scope of the Human Markup Language Primary Base Schema is very broad since it is the
foundation for applications as diverse as enabling realtime animated behaviors for 3D
representations of humans to enhancing diplomatic communication with translation services and/or
applications capable of making provisions for cultural practices.
The following terminology is used specifically for and throughout this document, without any claims of
applicability outside it.
When capitalized the key words must, must not, required, shall, shall not, should, should not, recommended, may, and optional in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC 2119].
Human Markup Language (compound term with separated words with Upper and Lower case
characters as shown) = the XML-based, special-purpose computer networking language specification
itself and all of its associated modules and sub-specifications.
HumanML(compound term with Upper and Lower case characters as shown) = the Human Markup Language Specification.
HumanMarkup (compound term with Upper and Lower Case characters as shown) = the collective effort to build the Human Markup Language, also used for similar purposes in the name of the OASIS HumanMarkup Technical Committee.
The Human Markup Language Primary Base XML Schema Requirements state that this specification MUST
contain the Elements and Attributes to describe a basic or fundamental set of characteristics of
HUMAN entities and HUMAN activities as they occur in digital information systems. In keeping with
the charter of the OASIS HumanMarkup Technical Committee, which states that the aim of HumanML is
to "enhance the fidelity of human communication," this schema SHOULD specifically address the
HUMAN activity of communication.
It is not expected that the components contained in this initial version, or in any subsequent
version of the Primary Base Schema, comprise a final and completely definitive resource. This is the
first and most fundamental vocabulary, and it is intended to change and evolve as our needs and
It is important to understand what the Human Markup Language is designed to be able to do, as
well as what many of us hope it will actually accomplish. There is a significant difference in
the requirements for the design of the language and the personal goals of many of the participants
in this effort.
It is apt in this case to use a trope, a figure of speech which a later schema of the Human
Markup Language will elucidate, to describe this state. This is also an aphorism.
We entered into this effort realizing that our reach will exceed our grasp.
We would like this language to improve diplomatic communications to secure World Peace, but we do
not expect such a state of affairs. That does not mean that having such a goal is unrealistic,
because without such goals, any improvement is all but impossible.
However, if we can make a contribution to improving the fidelity of human communication, we will
have accomplished much. In truth, if all we are able to do is to help ensure the accuracy and
privacy of personal information we will have accomplished much.
The table that follows summarizes the elements, attributes and types included in this XML Schema
The namespace for this schema is urn:oasis:names:tc:huml:xsdschema:huml-primary-base:1.0
The schema location is http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/humanmarkup/schema/
Future specifications are planned to share this namespace as part of the OASIS family of standards.
As you will note, the definitions offered here begin with the the definition used in the
documentation portion of the schema. The definitions are given greater detail where it seems
appropriate. While there is an inherent organizational structure that emerges from the vocabulary
of HumanMarkup, it is not arranged into hierarchical categories. This is intentional at this
stage, since we need to ensure that any structure which is eventually adopted is only adopted
because the material itself exhibits that structure. So, to follow this approach to its logical
conclusion here, components are not grouped other than by their classification as element,
complexTypes, simpleTypes and attribute/attributeGroups.
Components are introduced in alphabetical order within those basic categories.
huml is the prefix that will be associated with the Human Markup Language Specifications. It
indicates the first Human Markup Language schema, which forms the basis for succeeding
Address refers to an address in a named address system, such as street, city, state, etc. Note that this needs to be code-based, that is, adaptable to different naming conventions of international locales. For this purpose we have imported the Extensible Address Language from the OASIS Customer Information Quality Technical Committee, currently under review as an OASIS standard and the PostalAddress Standard XML Schema from the Human Resources Consortium (HR-XML).
Address is a part of the specification which deals with Individual Human Identity and, as such, is the first of the elements which require harmonizing with existing standards. For this purpose we have imported the namespaces mentioned, and we will also ensure harmonization with the standards of the eXtensible Name Service protocol, made available by The XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG).
This specification avoids duplicating those standards, and for this purpose defines a sequence of elements which define types of specific interest to this specification.
A trace object, usually human-made, and/or assigned human meaning. When we use the term trace, we mean in the sense of tangible evidence.
Usually acts as sign or symbol as in semiosis. Typically clothing, jewelry, pictures, trinkets, and such artifacts are often used to communicate information about oneself, which express one's interests, hobbies, status, or lifestyle.
Artifact, as with many terms which we define for HumanMarkup purposes, also has wide use in scientific and academic contexts. We have included these domains within our scope. Therefore, there are specific usages in archeology and anthropology, which our definitions MUST support. These will be supplied in due course.
The huml term Belief designates any human belief. A human belief is a conviction held by a human or humanGroup of the truth of a statement or assertion. A distinction will inevitably be made between a simple belief, such as believing in deity, and a belief system such as Judaism or Buddhism, which could be the basis of extension for this complexType, but for our purpose the simplest definition will be adopted for this schema.
It should also be noted that no attempt is made or envisioned to determine the veracity of any belief. We are not setting out to judge the truth of beliefs or belief systems.
The huml term BodyLocation is used for a location on a body part. Used in haptics, artifacts, etc.
Human Communication Channel
A Channel is one of the senses or faculties by which a Human communication is transmitted and/or received. These elements will be enumerated in subsequent huml schemata. The elements included here serve as examples, as placeholders for sensory receiving or input channels which will likely be replaced by importing the namespace and schema location of the subsequent huml schema.
However, it is important to provide the operational means by which sample implementations can be constructed in order to display the intended functionality of this specification, so the inclusion of this sequence of elements allows for that.
We mention this to explain why this complexType and some others include examples and elaborations while others do not. As we move into subsequent specifications it will become more apparent how these specifications and their specific schemata work together to form a modular, coherent whole.
Human Time Factors
Chronemic is used for time characterization. Human awareness and use of time can be associated with cultural characteristics and treated as a non-verbal communication element. The study of chronemics as a variable in communications has an acceptable body of support. Chronemics can be seen to be used very differently with respect to individuals and cultures. Time perceptions include punctuality, willingness to wait, and interactions. Time use affects lifestyles, daily agendas, speed of speech and movements, how long people are willing to listen, etc. However both as cultural characteristic and as communication factor, chronemic factors exhibit two states, monochronic and polychronic.
Chronemic is the first of several complexTypes which add the most particular kind of added value which the Human Markup Language aims to provide. By this we mean the largely non-verbal range of factors which can provide greater depth of context to communications and which, by their lack in common usage, represent a set of messages that are not received clearly, if recognized, and are presently poorly understood at best.
Community - Abstract Human Organization
(Note that HumanGroup is the atomic unit of human organization. See: HumanGroup.)
A HumanGroup attains the status of Community when it exhibits organization usually typified by a set of beliefs held in common or actions performed together. These might be communicating, creating some common artifact, a common purpose such as study, worship, business, sports, etc. Criteria for inclusion will be specific to named communities which will in turn be specified in subsequent huml schemata.
(Note that HumanGroup is the atomic unit of human organization. See: HumanGroup.)
Cultural characteristics emerge as the defining set of elements which a community shares and which distinguish the community as a cultural group per se. This partakes of the semiotic basis for communication processes as a contextual element.
To the extent possible, descriptions of cultures should be compatible with academic practices and should also be generated by members of the culture being described. The huml term is Culture.
A basic set of primitive human emotions; the six basic emotions that have well-documented facial expressions associated with them, to which we can assign strength values in the range we have established as a relative measure of intensity and which we can take as standard primitives are provided.
With this set we will be able to produce a simple implementation to provide a clear example of the uses to which the Human Markup Language can be put. The huml term is Emotion.
The huml term GeoLocator is used for a 3D address type based on map coordinate systems. We will provide references to standards. These will include the Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standards Part 4: Standards of Architecture, Engineering, Construction (A/E/C) and Facility Management FGDC-STD-007.4-2002 adopted by the Federal Geographic Data Committee and the ISO candidate standard specification amendment to the ISO VRML97 standard (ISO/IEC 14772-1 1997) which can be referenced at http://www.geovrml.org/1.1/doc/index.html. Other International Standards may also be cited.
Haptic: Human Touching Behaviors
Haptics refers to the study of touching behavior in different societies and cultures. Haptic is a communication factor that applies to a wide variety of behaviors indicating state of mind and emotion. It can range widely, as from hostility (kicking) to intimacy (kissing). Haptics is also the study of tactile response in a strictly scientific framework, such as studies about feedback in touch-controlled computer pointing devices such as the mouse and keyboard. Because of its range of applications, haptic will require more consideration than a set of simpleType elements.
The HumanML haptic model is based on the strength, location, and body part used in a touching behavior. It does not provide a semantic model for interpretation. To understand how to use this complexType, an example is provided. Theorists have proposed, for example, five degrees of the haptic and an intensity value for force of behavior (e.g., strength of a handshake) as they affect emotional states:
5. sexual arousal
HumanML notes such theories but does not assign values per the abstract haptic definition, instead leaving that to the derived application languages. This is because there can be differing applicable models, e.g., the strength of the act of physical therapy can and does approach that of sexual arousal, yet the model shown above might classify this as a functional/professional contact, indicating a low degree of arousal.
Some models would claim that sexual and emotional arousal are different states. Contact strengths could be defined dfferently for individuals, cultures and communities, but the scale has to be assigned so that, for instance, on a scale of zero through one, .20 is (1), .40 is (2), .60 (3) and so on, expresses a norm. For an individual, the rating expresses a real state of arousal based on a touch.
An entity which exhibits the basic characteristics of humans.
Some explanation of the huml term Human is called for at this point. We are not adopting a particular scientific classification for the human species in this specification. We are striving to be interoperable with the community of interest which requires identity authentication, certification and verifiability, but not in the sense of taking part in those operations. Our interest is aside from establishing basic identity, for we are committed to simultaneously documenting greater depth of individual information while introducing no procedures to distinguish between a living human being and a representation of a human, even if, and especially if, that representation is an agent such as a software program acting according to its instructions, whether on behalf of a living human being or not. An entity which represents itself as human, is human as far as this specification is concerned.
NOTE: Starting here, we get into the types that may be moved out into application modules.
Fundamental Unit of Human Groups
A HumanGroup is the most basic, fundamental unit of Humans grouped or grouping together. It is defined as two or more humans gathered in an environment. It is necessary to define it this way because it is possible for there to exist a HumanGroup that does not constitute a Community.
This fundamental distinction is necessary in the same way that our definition of Human is necessary. By adopting no crieterion for what constitutes a Human other than self-assertion and no criterion for what constitutes a HumanGroup other than co-existence in any kind of environment, we allow for better clarity in chronicling the set of characteristics which describe a particular Human or HumanGroup, and we require better fundamental descriptions that take nothing for granted.
Human Name Attributes
HumanNameElements is a set of attributes for documenting the names and aliases of real or artificial humans, communities, businesses, etc.
This specification does not supercede the standards which have been cited, nor does it wish to establish its own different standards. It only adds its own elements which can be used in applications that do not need or for any reason do not want to use the somewhat duplicated, but interoperable, terms listed in this complexType.
Intent is the state of mind and emotion, characterized by purpose and volition, with which a human acts or prepares to act.
NOTE: This complexType is a key factor in communication.
An example of Intent is the planning of a presentation. It is almost guaranteed that there will be a flood of elements in this complexType stemming from almost all areas of human characteristics and communications.
Kinesic: Human Movements
Communicational Kinesics constitute some vocabulary of body language used to portray moods and emotions and to add emphasis to verbal communication. As a study concerned with how bodily and facial gestures function as a factor in communication, kinesics is fairly well understood. For our purposes we expect enumeration of body language gestures to be included in culture-specific subsets.
A kinesic vocabulary is deferred to either the Secondary Base Schema or other subsequent huml schemata. The provided for this expansion is huml Kinesic.
The complexType is used to create measurement values.
Specifically, the complexType MeasurementUnit is used to establish the use of a recognized measurement system. Systems of measurement vary by unit, name (for example English units vs. metric units) and measurement type. For example, for radius used to determine proximity some unit of distance is needed. We anticipate a corresponding RDF Schema to act as a facility for connecting a resource reference to an application that wishes to use this and the subsequent huml schema. We may decide to include elements from such reference schemata or to import the namespaces of such measurement system standards.
Human Personality Type
This complexType is used to establish the use of a Personality typing system. There are several, and this specification makes no determination as to the validity or value of any such system.
Proxemic: Human Space/Time Relationships
Proxemic factors in communication indicate both time and space as well as relative body positions (given some organization of the features of the space in which communication occurs). The huml term Proxemic includes physical distance or closeness maintained between individuals, which affect messageTypes such as body heat they give off, odors perceived in social situations, angles of vision they maintain while talking and the like. Derived from proximity, proxemic considerations include:
fixed feature space (unmovable boundaries, such as divisions within an office building)
semi-fixed feature space such as furniture
informal space including
NOTE: Proxemic elements will fall into two main categories, communication and spatial. Because there is not a significant body of literature supporting these categorizations, it is deferred to the Secondary Base Schema and subsequent huml schema to enumerate and extend.
Semiotic Communication Mode
Semiosis is a meaningful exchange of signs, signals and symbols among cognitive agents.
NOTE: This process is the model of the human communication process upon which HumanML is based. It can be, and we expect that it will be, further enumerated by semiotic types and extended in the Secondary Base Schema and subsequent huml schemata.
A Semiote is a cognitive agent who participates in meaningful signal exchange among cognitive agents.
NOTE: This element is the actor in the semiotic model of communication It is comprised of some set of processors capable of emitting, receiving and responding to signals.
A concrete denotation of a specific meaning. Common signs include pictures or drawings, although a human posture like a clenched fist, an outstretched arm, or a hand posed in a "Stop" gesture may also serve as signs. The main difference between a sign and a signal is that a sign has a specific meaning and usually requires training. For example, an ape or dog can be taught to respond consistently and appropriately to signs but teaching them Morse Code is much harder if at all doable. Communicating simple messages swiftly and efficiently, simple signs may be culturally and location-specific, that is, meaningful in a locale (a stop sign) or culture (the Hindu greeting of folded hands).
A huml Signal constitutes perceptible change in an environmental factor that can be used to transfer meaning. The basic function of such signals is to attract attention and to transfer meaning. The vocalization of language is a clear example.
Any device with which an abstraction can be made. May include written and spoken language as well as visual objects. May include a process of symbolization. May be culturally specific and often used as a means to communicate cultural values. May and often do appear in clusters and depend on one another for meaning and value.
The physiological process of mentation.
NOTE: We are including this complexType Thought without any stipulation for how a set of thought elements or types could or should or will be constructed. There are any number of ways this concept might be used, but an accepted definition, which involves the much-disputed concept of what constitutes self-consciousness or awareness in terms other than physiological, is not within our present scope to support or defend.
An example of Thought which could be described as a process from the viewpoint of an observer though perhaps not characterized as coherent awareness or communication would be the brain activity of an autistic person or someone in a coma or even someone asleep.
This specification contains two simpleTypes.
This set of attributeGroups is used by many of our complexTypes.
This huml attributeGroup age is a set of attributes for documenting or determining the age of a human.
This huml term gender is a set of attributes for documenting the gender of a human.
NOTE: Needs code list for values, e.g., male, female, hemaphrodite, which is deferred to Secondary Base Schema.
Human Communication Attributes
This huml term humlCommAtts is used for identifier uniqueness and huml element names. It is used to indicate use in communication.
Human Identifier Attributes
This huml term humlIdentifierAtts is used for identifier uniqueness and huml element names. It is used to indicate use in identifying characteristics.
Human Temporal Attributes
This hum term humlTemporalAtts is used for identifier uniqueness and huml element names. It is used to indicate specified periods of time from one date and/or time to a later date and/or time.
This huml term physicalDescritors is a set of attributes for a physical description of a human.
NOTE: The height and weight types should be numbers but have to allow for different measurement systems.
NOTE: The hair color, eyeColor, race or build attributes need code lists for values.
NOTE: Scars, Marks and Tattoos should be a complex type for graphic, location, body part.
NOTE: These issues are deferred to the Human Physical Characteristics Description Markup Language.
The following individuals helped in the formulation of this document:
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[RFC 2119] IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). RFC 2119: Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. S. Bradner. 1997.
[XSLT] James Clark, editor. XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0. World Wide Web Consortium, 1999.
[XSL] Sharon Adler, Anders Berglund, Jeff Caruso, et al., editors. Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0.World Wide Web Consortium, 2001.
[PDF] Adobe Systems, Incorporated, editor. PDF Reference, Third Edition, Version 1.4. Addison Wesley. 0-201-75839-3. 2001.