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What does 'cease to exist' mean?




> Chris wrote:
> I say it means that no instance of PERSON can
> cease being an instance of PERSON, unless it (the instance) ceases to
> be.
> 
> Aren't there different meanings of "cease to be"?
> Dietrich

My first reaction was that 'cease to be' means 'a representation for the
instance is no longer stored in a computer'.

Then looking at the medical informatics applications I'm most familiar
with, I see that 'cease to be' means a lot of different things.

A Clinic may 'cease to exist', but still be an instance of CLINIC
because we need to have historical references to the old instance 
because it is a part of an appointment.

A Clinician may 'cease to exist' either because of death, or because
they no longer work at the institution, but again must stay in the
database for historic or audit records.  It is frequently the case that
clinicians come back to work at places they have left, so total purging
of their records doesn't actually make sense.

Sometimes, a duplicate record 'ceases to exist' but still maintains a 
forwarding reference to the 'replacement' one.

A common thread of these cases is that the fact that something
'ceases to exist' does not imply that it 'ceases to be known about'.

David (whitten@netcom.com) (713) 791-1414 ext 6116