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Circular Lists that are not lists?

From: Thorsten Jolitz
Subject: Circular Lists that are not lists?
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:48:51 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.130002 (Ma Gnus v0.2) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi List, 

in a parse-tree produced calling 'org-element-parse-buffer' in
org-buffer "" I see that the first first-level headline is tagged
with a :CATEGORY attribute:

| (headline (:CATEGORY #1=\"tmp\" ...))

and that the other headlines in the parse-tree reference the attribute

| (headline (:CATEGORY #1# ...))

except when a category is explicitly specified for them:

| (headline (:CATEGORY \"My Category Name\" ...))

Now ignore the Org-mode specific stuff, this question is really about
circular lists. 

This seems to be a case where circular lists are applied to strings -
should they rather be called circular sequences? 

How can I distinguish the three cases shown when mapping the parse-tree,
i.e. not on the textual level after printing the tree with (print-circle
t), but while mapping the nested list?

 - case 1 :: value defined #1=\"tmp\"

 - case 2 :: value referenced #1#

 - case 3 :: custom value without circular characteristics


When getting the property's values, they are all just strings ...


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