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Last modified: November 11, 2002
General SGML/XML Applications

SGML/XML Applications in Cross-Domain and Multi-Disciplinary Enterprises

This document provides brief description of and pointers to general industry applications that use SGML/XML encoding for structured information processing and data interchange. Specific XML applications and XML vocabularies are listed in the main XML Page, while XML/XLL/XSL software tools are listed in the software section. Academic applications of SGML and XML are described in the document "Academic Applications".


HyTime: ISO 10744 Hypermedia/Time-based Structuring Language

[CR: 19980318] [Table of Contents]

[March 18, 1998] Note: Information on HyTime is now being maintained in a separate document, The content below will be retained for some time(so as not to break bookmarks), but it will not be maintained for currency/update.

SMDL - Standard Music Description Language, ISO/IEC DIS 10743:1995

[CR: 20031104] [Table of Contents]

SMDL is organized by Working Group 3 of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 (Information Association). "The Standard Music Description Language (SMDL), an application of the HyTime Hypermedia/Time-based document structuring facilities, is described. The discussion covers the domains of information that SMDL associates with any piece of music, the timing of cantus events, pitch in cantus events, gamut-based pitches, just-intoned pitches, user-defined functions for pitches, chords and chord symbols, instrumental and vocal sounds, and non-western music." [from Steven R. Newcomb]

Extracted from the [July 1995] DIS: "This International Standard defines an architecture for the representation of music information, either alone or in conjunction with text, graphics, or other information needed for publishing or business purposes. Multimedia time sequencing information is also supported. The architecture is known as the "Standard Music Description Language", or "SMDL". // SMDL is a "HyTime" application; it conforms to International Standard ISO/IEC 10744 - Hypermedia / Time-based Structuring Language ("HyTime"). Specifically, SMDL is a "derived architecture" derived from HyTime architecture, and SMDL is expressed in this International Standard in a manner which conforms to HyTime's specifications for the expression of architectures (also known as "meta-DTDs") and derived architectures. // SMDL is an SGML application conforming to International Standard ISO 8879 - Standard Generalized Markup Language." [See the Overview cited above]

SGML Initiative in Health Care (HL7 Health Level-7 and SGML/XML)

[CR: 20000620] [Table of Contents]

"HL7 was founded in 1987 to develop standards for the electronic interchange of clinical, financial and administrative information among independent health care oriented computer systems; e.g., hospital information systems, clinical laboratory systems, enterprise systems and pharmacy systems." In August 1996, the HL7 Technical Steering Committee authorized the creation of an SGML SIG as part of a larger initiative to integrate SGML into medical informatics standards. "HCML" is a proposed abbreviation for the evolving markup language: "Health Care Markup Language."

"The HL7-SGML Initiative is a special interest group of HL7 formed to create the standard for the use of SGML in all domains of health care. This standard will comply with ISO 8879 (SGML) and SGML-related standards and complement other appropriate standards. Participation is open to all parties. Our Mission statement will guide the primary objectives: (1) To create and coordinate the development of a comprehensive document architecture for health care; (2) To educate the healthcare community in the utility of SGML-based information; (3) To develop, coordinate, and maintain a framework for interoperable Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for use in health care; (4) To coordinate and cooperate with other SGML initiatives outside of healthcare where appropriate; (5) To enable and promote the use of these standards and to make the standard as widely available as possible; (6) To represent healthcare in SGML standards activities/evolution; (7) To promote longevity of all information encoded according to these guidelines." [from the main page, Mission Statement and Charter]

"Those presenting at SGML '96 made it clear that while planning for the design of the initiative is in the early stages, their vision for this initiative already differs substantially from earlier industry initiatives. The HL7/SGML initiative must design an information architecture that will make the EMR work within the heterogeneous computing environment of a healthcare enterprise and must make the information available to a wide range of applications from billing to epidemiology and decision support. They feel that it is a significant advantage to begin this initiative after the publication of the HyTime, DSSSL, and preliminary XML standards." [L.Alschuler post]


Contact addresses:
John Mattison, SGML SIG Chair
Kaiser Permanente
393 E. Walnut
Pasadena, CA 91188
Tel: +1 (818) 405-5091
Email: Chris Zingo - [meetings of the HL7-SGML Initiative]
or [general HL7]:
Mark McDougall, Executive Director, Health Level Seven
3300 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite 227
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4250
Phone: (313) 677-7777
Fax: (313) 677-6622
Email: HQ@HL7.ORG

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

[CR: 19971118] [Table of Contents]

Updated from 19971118. See now the separate document: "NCBI Molecular Biology Data Model."

SPIDER - Structured Platform-Independent Data Entry and Reporting

[CR: 19971118] [Table of Contents]

SPIDER is one of the research projects sponsored by MIDAS (The Medical Informatics and Decision Science Consortium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA). Its principal investigators include Charles E. Kahn, Jr., (MD), Phiem N. Huynh, and Kurt J. Pfeifer. SPIDER uses platform-independent, public-domain technologies such as SGML and HTML (with the World Wide Web) to achieve structured entry of medical data. Applications include radiological reports and medical questionnaires." The requirements for SPIDER and the associated form-generation tools are informed by concepts related to structured data entry (SDE), as applicable in medical informatics: "SDE standardizes data collection, increases the certainty of data summaries, and facilitates integration with decision support systems. [. . .] clinical observations in a computer-based patient record may be acquired as natural language or through structured data entry."

SPIDER makes use of the "Data-entry and Report Markup Language (DRML), a platform-independent markup language for specifying the content and format of structured reporting applications. DRML is based on the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), an international standard for document exchange. [. . .] DRML was created to provide a simple standardized, universal method for specifying reporting applications. With SPIDER, DRML documents are used to create structured data-entry forms, outline-format textual reports, and datasets for analysis of aggregate results. SPIDER transforms its reporting knowledge base, written in DRML, into the appropriate hypertext markup language (HTML) codes for display by Web client programs."


Metafile for Interactive Documents (MID)

[CR: 19960809] [Table of Contents]

"The Metafile for Interactive Documents (MID) is a common interchange structure, based on the international standards for SGML and HyTime, that takes neutral data from varying authoring systems and structures it for display on dissimilar presentation systems, with minimal human intervention. [MID Draft specification dated Nov. 94]. It is envisioned that a MID Instance (the actual MID document) will be a 'hub' document, containing references to various (external) source data components. The MID Instance will be created by an interactive, automated process (i.e., a MIDWriter), and will be interpreted for viewing by off-the-shelf software incorporating a MIDReader. Development of a MIDReader was the primary focus of the 1995 MID project, as its development was intended (and already has) served to both point out issues in the structure of the MID, and identify implementation issues. Resolution of these issues has resulted in an evolutionary improvement to the MID specification." [from the Abstract]

"The MID provides a modular approach to authoring and maintaining IETMs. A MID standardizes the presentation of information and the behavior of that presentation across platforms. This is achieved through a standard set of user interface objects combined with an internal scripting language that controls the interaction of these objects with each other and the user as the objects access databases and display information on a Presentation System."

"Cross-platform interoperability is achieved through the use of SGML/HyTime. The MID is an application of SGML (ISO 8879) and HyTime (ISO 10744). SGML standardizes the syntax of the Document Type Definition for the MID language. HyTime provides standard models for location and addressing element types used in the MID DTD. This document assumes that the reader is familiar with the concepts and requirements of SGML." [from the NavySGML description]

MID is ". . .an application of HyTime aimed at Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals [IETMs] . . . It has been implemented and it works" [Steven R. Newcomb]

Standard Hypermedia/Multimedia Scripting Language (SMSL)

[CR: 19961222] [Table of Contents]

SMSL . . ."Provides a standardized method for defining the constructs used in the script for an audiovisual presentation. . . Extends HyTime by providing SGML meta-DTD architectural forms for describing the object classes, virtual functions, messages, aggregates and class/data membership used in a multimedia presentation's script. Also contains a definitions for a starter-set of functions used by scripting languages. . .sponsored by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18 WG8 . . . Still at committee draft stage (ISO/IEC CD 13240)" [from]

"SMSL is a standardized mechanism for embedding scripts in SGML hyper-documents. SMSL prescribes: (1) a mechanism for describing script and data notations; (2) a mechanism for describing classes, data structures and method arguments; (3) services that SMSL applications use; (4) an optional library providing useful classes for multimedia, generic operating system functions and graphical user interfaces. . . The features of SMSL include: (1) object-oriented interface between scripts and documents (both the "outside-in" and "inside-out" views); (2) use of message passing model for inter-object communication; (3) use of SGML to describe data structures and interfaces; (4) upport for distributed applications; (5) support for a wide variety of scripting and programming languages."

"The Editor and Architect of SMSL is Mr. Brian Markey. Comments on SMSL documents may be sent to the Editor, but under ANSI/ISO rules, the Editor is under no obligation to respond to comments from non-participating parties. To participate in the development of SMSL, employees of U.S. companies or academic institutions are encouraged to contact Mr. Rudolf Riess, Chairman, ANSI X3V1." [from Permanent Wave WWW site]

Digital Libraries (Initiative) and SGML

[CR: 19970221] [Table of Contents]

A broad range of consortial and cooperative initiatives currently [Spring 1996] underway make use of the phrase digital library" in identifying or describing their resarch and development efforts. Several such projects are being carried out jointly by research libraries and government bodies. Several such projects are making use of SGML as a means of structuring the digitized information, whether of the documents themselves or of metadata (descriptive cataloging and finding aid information). For metadata issues, see further below. Some provisional links:

SGML and Metadata

[CR: 19971101] [Table of Contents]

Hyper-G Text Format (HTF)

[CR: 19951220] [Table of Contents]

"HTF is defined in terms of the ISO Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). SGML is a sort of meta-standard for defining structured document types and markup languages to represent instances of those document types."

"HTF is closely related to Hyper-G in the following sense: HTF is the preferred text format for Hyper-G. That means that all current and future Hyper-G clients will support this format, even if other text formats will become available in some future versions of Hyper-G."

"Hyper-G clients employ a generic SGML parser that makes it possible to display any kind of SGML markup, provided there is a DTD and a style sheet. There is a stand-alone incarnation of the parser called hgparse that is part of the Hyper-G server distribution that allows to use the parser to verify the correctness of the SGML markup, and to convert it to other text formats, given an appropriate style sheet." [from "Hyper-G Text Format", by Frank Kappe]"

Association of American Publishers (AAP)

ISO 12083 DTDs

[CR: 20001106] [Table of Contents]

ISO 12083 is the successor to the AAP/EPSIG standard, and four DTDs have been distributed by EPSIG as the "ISO" DTDs.

ISO 12083 Scope (1998): "This International Standard presents a reference document type definition which facilitates the authoring, interchange and archiving of a variety of publications. This document type definition is deliberately general. It is a reference document type definition which provides a set of building blocks for the structuring of books, articles, serials, and similar publications in print and electronic form. This International Standard is intended to provide a document architecture to facilitate the creation of various application-specific document type definitions."

[January 25, 1999] As of January 1999, Dianne Kennedy was "convener of ISO 12083, the electronic manuscript standard." Dianne indicated that ISO 12083 would be undergoing a 'major overhaul' during 1999. "ISO 12083 meeting minutes, existing DTDs, newly proposed XML DTDs and more are posted at Our next meeting will be in Granada Spain, on May 1, 1999 (following XML Europe '99)."

[November 06, 2000] ISO 12083 is available free in PDF format from NISO: ANSI/NISO/ISO 12083 Electronic Manuscript Preparation and Markup ("The standard specifies the SGML declaration defining the syntax used by the document type definitions [DTD] and document instances, and a definition for mathematics which may be embedded in other SGML applications").


IBMIDDoc: IBM Information Development document type

[CR: 20021111] [Table of Contents]

Wayne L. Wohler, Rick Dennis, and Eliot Kimber were principal contributors to the IBMIDDoc specification. Ref: IBMIDDoc User's Guide and Reference. Document Number SH21-0783-02. December 17, 1995. Rick Dennis (Author), Wayne Wohler (DTD Architect).

IEEE Computer Society Digital Library

[CR: 19971023] [Table of Contents]

The Computer Society Digital Library (CSDL) is an SGML-based document repository that uses Inso's DynaWeb server to deliver the documents as HTML on the fly to Web browsers. The CDROM version of the library also stores the articles in SGML format, delivered by the DynaText SGML browser. With this SGML-based software, users can search by any arbitrary string to find references for their current projects, attach their own electronic notes, place electronic bookmarks, and print full articles. The 1996 edition has over 12,000 pages of text from the 114 IEEE journals issues.

The CSDL digital library "contains all issues of seventeen (17) of the society's magazines and transactions from 1995 to the present. The material is viewable and full-text searchable via standard WWW browsers. . . For those interested in the publication technology, we have created a database of SGML files and linked images. These files are converted and displayed as HTML on the fly. This allows subscribers to manipulate and view the content -- including math -- with standard web browsers without any helper applications or plug-ins."

According to the CS style guide, the IEEE Computer Society "has made a corporate decision to become an active participant in the electronic publishing arena," and has now become a content provider rather than a publisher in the traditional sense. "To maintain its lead in this rapidly developing field, the society began in 1994 to archive all of its transactions and magazine articles electronically. This is done by putting Microsoft Word documents through a custom filter in order to convert them into SGML files. These SGML files can then be manipulated in any way that may be considered desirable for future reproduction. For example, the entire 1995 content of each of the society's periodical titles is now available on CD-ROM. In 1996, the society began to post the content of some of its publications on the World Wide Web home page it maintains."


Edna Straub
SGML Database Coordinator
Information Technology & Services Department
IEEE Computer Society
10662 Los Vaqueros Circle
Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264
Tel: 1-714/816-2103
FAX: 1-714/821-4641
EMAIL: WWW: [Contact: Edna Straub]

IEEE Standards Department

[CR: 19990520] [Table of Contents]

The Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), "is the internal production format of IEEE Standards."

Provisional introduction: "SPAsystem modular DTD approach: The purpose of the SPAsystem Authoring DTD Suite (SPA Z-30) is to create an environment that allows authors to write an IEEE standards document in SGML in a simple and intuitive manner. This is accomplished through a series of DTD modules. Each module is a small, highly structured DTD that defines a particular portion of an IEEE standards document." [from the Authoring System description]

IEEESTD V3.0 DTD ('ieeestd.dtd' - DTD for an IEEE standard): "This DTD is used both to create and edit IEEE standards of all sorts and to hold legacy standards, some dating back 20 years ago. Hence it is a VERY lax structural DTD, with very few semantic elements, except in the front matter (frntmttr) and standard title (stdtitle). . . Public Identifier: -//IEEE//DTD IEEE Software Standards 3.0//EN. Please send comments regarding this DTD to Version: 3.0.0 1998-10-15.


IEEE Standards Department
Stephen Huffman, Electronic Program Implementation
445 Hoes Lane, P.O. Box 1331
Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331
Tel: 908-562-3828
Fax: 908-562-1571

Davenport Group: DocBook DTD

[CR: 20000830] [Table of Contents]

See now also "DocBook XML DTD."

[January 06, 1999] In January 1999, the DocBook DTD moved to a new Web site at DocBook is an SGML DTD that is 'particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software'. While the official DocBook distribution is an SGML DTD, an XML DTD based upon DocBook version 3.0 has been under development for some time -- principally through the efforts of Norman Walsh. Walsh also maintains the DSSSL Modular DocBook Stylesheets, used for print and online publishing of DocBook documents. "Because DocBook is a large and robust DTD, and because its main structures correspond to the general notion of what constitutes a 'book,' DocBook has been adopted by a large and growing community of authors writing books of all kinds. DocBook is supported 'out of the box' by a number of commercial tools, and there is rapidly expanding support for it in a number of free software environments. These features have combined to make DocBook a generally easy to understand, widely useful, and very popular DTD. Dozens of organizations are using DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and online formats, worldwide." Originally designed and implemented by HaL Computer Systems and O'Reilly & Associates in 1991, the DocBook DTD is now maintained by the OASIS DocBook Technical Committee. The meetings of the DocBook Technical Committee are open to anyone who wishes to attend, and thus not limited to OASIS members.

[July 01, 1998] In the summer of 1998, plans were made to turn over the maintenance of the DocBook application to OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) under a new OASIS DocBook Technical Committee. See the relevant communique to the Davenport Group mailing list from Eve Maler, and Karl Best's invitation to a wider group of DocBook supporters to attend the first committee meeting in San Diego. And see the press release.

"The purpose of the Davenport Group [is] to promote the interchange and delivery of computer documentation using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML, ISO 8879:1986) and other relevant standards." [adapted from the DAVENPORT GROUP CHARTER AND BY-LAWS]. A recent "version of the DocBook DTD is 2.4.1, released 10 April 1996. This release includes much improved documentation." "The DocBook DTD was developed specifically for computer software documentation, that is, user manuals and programming references. DocBook maintenance is performed under the aegis of the Davenport Group, a discussion forum sponsored by individuals representing large-scale producers and consumers of software documentation. Davenport meetings are held roughly quarterly, and are open to everyone. However, decisions about the DocBook DTD are made only after approval by the Davenport sponsors." [from the README].

Sponsors: As of October 07, 1996, the Davenport sponsors are: Terry Allen, Fujitsu Software Corporation (San Jose, CA), Mark Buckley, Microsoft (Redmond, WA), Ralph Ferris, Fujitsu Software Corporation (San Jose, CA), Lee Fogal, Digital Equipment Corporation (Nashua, NH), Eduardo Gutentag, SunSoft Inc. (Mountain View, CA), Eve Maler, ArborText, Inc. (Boston, MA), Murray Maloney, SoftQuad Inc. (Toronto, CA), Nancy Paisner, Open Environment Corp. (Boston, MA), Bob Stayton, The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA), Norman Walsh, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. (Boston, MA).


Current efforts within the Davenport project include:

ICADD: International Committee on Accessible Document Design

[CR: 19970425] [Table of Contents]

SGML is being used by various entities supporting ICADD because the document structure captured in SGML is vital in the communication processes designed for persons with print disabilities. ICADD Statement of Purpose: The International Committee for Accessible Document Design (ICADD) is dedicated to making printed materials accessible to persons with print disabilities. ICADD is an international nonpartisan consortium of representatives from industry, education, and the disabled community. We believe that advancing computer based publishing, through adaptive computer technology for persons with disabilities, offers the potential to make printed information accessible simultaneously and at no greater cost than the able bodied community enjoys." [from the 1992 Statement of Purpose document referenced below]

For more information on the InfoUCLA - ICADD project, contact: (1) Jeff Suttor, Programmer/Analyst, Library Information Systems; 11334 University Research Library, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1575; Email: JSuttor@Library.UCLA.Edu, Tel: 310-825-1206 or 310-206-5565; FAX: 310-206-4109; or, (2) Daniel Hilton-Chalfen, UCLA Disabilities and Computing Program,, 310-206-7133, TDD: 310-206-5155

CAPS (Communication and Access to Information for Persons with Special Needs) and HARMONY (Horizontal Action for the Harmonisation of Accessible Structured Documents)

[CR: 19960226] [Table of Contents]


The CAPS Project started in 1991 with a pilot action which ran until March 93. The project then received an extension to further develop the ideas and techniques designed in the Pilot Phase. This Extension Phase was concluded in September 1994.

"The project is financed under the TIDE (Technology Initiative for Disabled and Elderly Persons) programme by the Directorate-General XIII for Telecommunications, Information Industries and Innovation of the E.U.

"The project's main objective is to provide broader access to digitally distributed documents, especially newspapers, books and public information. The Consortium believes that more traditional forms of information transfer will loose some of their importance in favour of electronic information. This presents an enormous opportunity to the reading impaired community as much more information will be available to them.

"In the Extension Project, an electronic library prototype has been set up. This electronic library provides a whole variety of SGML documents to its clients who can access them by means of the Reading Station or via a Telephone Access System. Also non-interactive access is guaranteed."


"The HARMONY Horizontal Action is the follow up to the two previous CAPS Projects (TP 136 and TP 218). Within HARMONY the Consortium will try to increase the quantity and quality of documents accessible to the print disabled. To accomplish this goal, the publishing community will be stimulated by means of involvement and lobbying with standardisation being a key issue.

"The use of the ISO Standard SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language, ISO 8879) will be encouraged. The HARMONY Consortium expects to stimulate an increase in accessible newspapers through the use of the European Interchange Format (EIF) developed in CAPS, and other SGML based techniques. Publishers will be urged to introduce and incorporate these techniques within their organisations."


ELVIS - Elektronisches Literaturverzeichnis - Informatik für Sehgeschädigte

[CR: 19960730] [Table of Contents]

The ELVIS WWW server hosts a number of services and information resources relevant to SGML/HTML technologies for sight-disabled people (ICADD, CAPS, etc.). Most documents on the server are in German. As of November 1995, an SGML tutorial was also available. The resources apparently have been collected and developed by Thomas Kahlisch (email:

From the ELVIS Home Page: "Willkommen am WWW-Server der Arbeitsgruppe Studium für Blinde und Sehbehinderte an der Fakultät Informatik der TU Dresden. Unsere Arbeitsgruppe beschäftigt sich mit der Bereitstellung von blinden- und sehbehindertengerechten Studienmaterial. Über das ELVIS (Elektronisches Literaturverzeichnis - Informatik für Sehgeschädigte) werden diese Materialien angeboten. Wir beabsichtigen, ausgewählte Materialien über diesen WWW-Server anzubieten. Damit wollen wir helfen, Erfahrungen für die Gestaltung der blinden- bzw. sehbehindertengerechten Auffahrt auf die "Infobahn" zu sammeln."


Technische Universität Dresden
Attention: Thomas Kahlisch
Fakultät Informatik
Arbeitsgruppe Studium für Blinde und Sehbehinderte
01062 Dresden
Tel: 0351/4575 467
Fax: 0351/4575 335

NITF (News Industry Text Format) [Formerly UTF - Universal Text Format] - SGML for the News Distribution Industry

[CR: 19990115] [Table of Contents]

Update March, 1996: "What was called the UTF is now known as the NITF (News Industry Text Format)" [Steve Pepper]. See the links to below.

UTF ("Universal Text Format") is the name of a new standard being adopted by the news distribution industry, and particularly, under the direction of working committees in the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) and NAA ( Newspaper Association of America). UTF is part of The Information Interchange Model (IIM) standard. Description from a working document on UTF by Dave Becker: "In June, 1992, a working subcommittee was established to create an industry standard for the interchange of textual material between news agencies and and their clients (primarily newspapers) that would replace the current standard IPTC 7901 and ANPA 1312 formats. The new standard is called the Universal Text Format (UTF). After significant discussion, SGML was adopted as the encoding language for the new standard. Members of the working subcommittee are now attempting to finalize and prototype the new standard in selected test environments."

Further information about NITF/UTF/SGML may be found in:

Contact addresses (New Text Subcommittee):

International Press Telecommunications Council
Attention: David Allen
8 Sheet Street
Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1BG
TEL: 44-753-833-728
FAX: 44-753-833-750
Email: 100321.2156@CompuServe.COM [Davis Allen]

Newspaper Association of America
Attention: John W. Iobst [Director, Advanced Computer Science]
1921 Gallows Road
Suite 600
Vienna, VA 22182-3900
Tel: 703/902-1838
FAX: 703/902-1842

Canadian Strategic Software Consortium (CSSC): SGML and SQL

[CR: 19960321] [Table of Contents]

"The objective of the Canadian Strategic Software Consortium (CSSC) is to perform pre-competitive research in order to create software technology that will permit the extension of database management technology to text-intensive data; produce working prototypes that are based on these new technologies; apply the working technology to several large-scale real-world problems; and to present the research and the technology in forums that are appropriate to the establishment of technical standards."

The consortium is currently [March 1996] composed of eight members: Fulcrum Technologies Inc., Grafnetix Systems Inc., InContext Corporation, Megalith Technologies Inc., OpenText Corporation, Public Sector Systems Ltd., SoftQuad Inc., and University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario. SGML plays a significant role in the members' current operations and in the consortium's development plans.

"The mandate of the consortium is to undertake pre-competitive research to: (1) create the technology that will permit the extension of database management technology to text-intensive data; (2) produce working prototypes that are based on these new technologies; (3) apply working technology to several large-scale real-world problems; and (4) present the research and the technology in forums that are appropriate to the establishment of technical standards." Several of the research and development efforts work toward the integration of SQL and (SGML) structured text models. A "Hybrid Query Processor" (HPQ) being developed at the University of Waterloo "will provide a gateway to a federated database system and will support the construction of "virtual" tables managed (and updated) solely by the HQP. Tuples in these managed tables can contain TEXT and standard types of relational information stored on one, two or many underlying database engines."


Bilingual Canadian Dictionary Project

[CR: 19971018] [Table of Contents]

The Bilingual Canadian Dictionary Project (Lexicographie comparée du français et de l'anglais au Canada) is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (through 1999), and is expected to publish a completed work in about 2003. SGML tools have been used for designing a dictionary DTD, editing database entries, and querying the lexical database. "This interuniversity, pan-Canadian project, known informally as the Bilingual Canadian Dictionary Project, was launched in early 1988 with the goals of producing a truly Canadian English-French, French-English dictionary and developing an electronic database of English- and French- Canadian texts for comparative work in the fields of translation and lexical research.

"Led by Professor Roda P. Roberts at the University of Ottawa's School of Translation and Interpretation, the project brings together a team of seven researchers specializing in various subfields of linguistics at the University of Ottawa, the University of Montreal and Laval University. The research team also includes a number of graduate students and researchers who are being trained in bilingual lexicography. Microstar Software Ltd. is serving as the project's computer consultant."


Bilingual Canadian Dictionary
University of Ottawa
40 Stewart
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1N 6N5
Fax: 1-613-562-5131


[CR: 19960410] [Table of Contents]

"Protein Science, a peer reviewed journal published by The Protein Society and Cambridge University Press, has established the Electronic Protein Science at the University of California, Irvine." [see ad]. In 1993, a CDROM with the title 1993 Protein Science [PIR Sequence Database, and Special Edition of Brookhaven Protein Data Bank] was produced: all data were marked up in SGML and indexed and accessed by DynaText(TM) on Mac, PC, and Unix platforms.

Now "the entire Protein Science editorial production process at Cambridge University Press has been redesigned to accommodate the electronic edition and to incorporate it into the routine production of the printed edition. Underlying both the printed and electronic edition is a single master document that is prepared in the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) that is sent for production of typesetting code and to the Web site for the production of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) documents used for the delivery of the electronic edition. Underlying the SGML document is another document called the Document Type Definition (DTD) which describes the information content of the document and makes possible sophisticated indexing. A great deal of innovation has gone into the design of the DTD to make it serve simultaneously the requirement of electronic and print media. We believe it will help set standards for electronic and print publishing in the world of scientific publishing." [from: "Finally! Protein Science On-line," An Editorial from Protein Science Volume 4, Number 9, 4:1665, by Stephen H. White and Hans Neurath.]

"The copy editors and production editors must now produce a document prepared by using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which is a machine-readable marking scheme that describes in detail the structure and information content of an article. SGML makes it possible to index the contents of articles for full-text searching and, importantly, to establish hyperlinks within individual documents and between related documents. In addition, SGML and its derivative language HTML can be used for controlling the layout and appearance of articles displayed in both the electronic and printed environments. The typesetters and printers must adapt to SGML-marked documents and the electronic production editor must make provisions for mounting the documents on computer servers in such a way that they can be indexed and delivered rapidly over the World Wide Web." [from: an Editorial from Protein Science Volume 4, Number 1, 4:1-2, by Stephen H. White and Hans Neurath.


MIME-SGML (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)

[CR: 19980606] [Table of Contents]

SSSH - Simplified SGML for Serial Headers

[CR: 19970719] [Table of Contents]

"A Serial Header contains bibliographic information about an article appearing in a Serial publication, i.e., a journal or other periodical. Serial Headers created by journal publishers for various purposes including electronic delivery to current awareness and electronic document delivery services. SSSH - Simplified SGML for Serial Headers - was developed last year by Publishing Technology and New Media Group on behalf of Book Industry Communications, the standards body of the UK book and serials publishing industry. SSSH has much in common with its respected antecedent, MAJOUR, but reduces the number of required elements, in accordance with the recommendations of the OASIS group of UK serials publishers, and adds new elements for the article identification schemes (SICI and PII) that have been developed since MAJOUR was published in 1991."


OCLC SGML Projects

[CR: 20000828] [Table of Contents]

OCLC Fred: SGML Grammar Builder Project (DTD and document grammar) tool

"Fred is an ongoing research project at OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) studying the manipulation of tagged text. As a service to the community, OCLC has decided to make several portions of Fred freely available via a WWW server. Fred addresses two main problems associated with managing tagged text as seen at OCLC: (1) tagged document collections with no corresponding DTD, and (2) arbitrary transformation of tagged text." [adapted from Fred main page]

"As an electronic publisher, OCLC receives tagged text from several data sources. Often, this tagged text is not valid SGML since it does not have or conform to a Document Type Definition (DTD). Despite this, OCLC must build data transformations, databases, and interfaces for this tagged text. To address the lack of DTDs, Fred can automatically build DTDs from tagged text. While it is fairly straight forward to extract tags from a tagged document without a DTD, it is non-trivial to produce a reduced representation of this structure. You can use Fred's free automatic DTD creation services to sample this process."

"To address arbitrary transformations, Fred includes a translation language that allows direct mappings based on tag names, attributes, and structure, as well as movement of text within the tree and several other manipulation features. See the Fred Translation Service Home Page to read more about Fred's translation capabilities or to access Fred's free translation services."

Provisional Links for Fred:

SGML and Chemistry: The OCLC CORE Project (Chemistry Online Retrieval Experiment) and other Initiatives

[CR: 19960322] [Table of Contents]

"The OCLC CORE Project: Overview. The CORE project is an electronic library prototype the provides networked access to the full text and graphics content of the American Chemical Society journals and associated Chemical Abstracts Services indexing since 1980 (some 250 journal years of data). The database is coded in SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) which was translated from the original typography codes, captures the structural richness of the original document and provides flexibility for indexing, searching and display. The prototype provides a full-scale laboratory environment in which to explore issues of database structure, user interface capabilities, and information retrieval questions on a large, real-world scholarly electronic journal database. The complete database, representing more than 600,000 pages of full text and graphics, will be available at Cornell University in late 1994. The major contributors of this electronic library project include: Cornell University (Mann Library); OCLC; Bellcore; American Chemical Society; Chemical Abstracts Services."

Chemical Markup Language (CML)

[CR: 19990724]

"CML is a powerful generic tool for management of molecular and technical information, especially geared to Inter- and Intra-net use. Object-Oriented, based on Java and SGML (XML) it covers a wide range of chemical disciplines. . ."

NB: Some links below are obsolete. See later references in "Chemical Markup Language (CML)."

SGML and Physics: The American Physical Society, American Astronomical Society, and The American Institute of Physics

[CR: 19961222] [Table of Contents]

American Physical Society

Bob Kelly:: "The current explosion in the use of information technology for early dissemination of scientific information dovetails with APS's interest in electronic publishing and consumption of scholarly journals and provides both physicists and the Society and other Physics Publishers and Librarians with an opportunity to join forces to support and improve scholarly communication in physics.

"SGML is the center piece of the APS strategy to accept manuscripts electronically and to provide storage and delivery choices. With the advent of software, it is becoming feasible to make the SGML files of individual articles available for viewing. It is believed that, if we as publishers can agree on some degree of SGML standardization, the authors and readers will benefit. A common SGML approach will facilitate ease of integration of papers from multiple publishers at the library or reader level. A common SGML approach will facilitate the development of many authoring tools and reading choices." [from "The American Physical Society (APS) and the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)", see below]

"TORPEDO: As part of a cooperative experiment with the American Physical Society (APS), the Library is authorized to disseminate current issues of two APS journals, Physical Review Letters and Physical Review E through TORPEDO. Under the terms of the NRL-APS agreement, NRL employees, NRL on-site contractors and ONR Headquarters staff may search and view the journals and make single copies for personal use. Any other use of APS copyrighted material is not permitted."

"The APS is now in position to make Physical Review Letters available to the NRL Library in SGML format on a regular basis, thereby eliminating the need to scan and OCR the paper copies. Moreover, Physical Review E is now partially available in SGML and will soon be available entirely in SGML as well as all of Physical Review A through Physical Review D. While the EFS imaging system chosen by the Library for TORPEDO has no native support for SGML (EFS only supports CCITT Group IV TIFF files and ASCII), it does have support for third-party image, word processing, and SGML display applications. In fact, EFS can import files in almost any format and integrate all of them into one full-text and field searchable database. The Library is presently investigating the software viewers of several SGML product vendors for possible integration with TORPEDO." [from: InfoWeb: TORPEDO. The Optical Retrieval Project: Electronic Documents Online; see below]

American Astronomical Society

[CR: 19981007]

"The AAS set out to produce an electronic version of its flagship publication, the Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJ Letters), with the primary goal of enhancing the usefulness of the journal. Edited at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and published by the University of Chicago Press, this highly-regarded journal contains papers describing vital and current astrophysical research. Its short papers (approximately four print pages) and frequency of publication (every ten days) make this journal well-suited for electronic publication. . . The foundation of the electronic journal is a database of manuscript files tagged in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). A document type definition (DTD) based on ISO 12083 identifies the structural elements in the articles (title, author, abstract, figure, etc.). By managing the database with such structural fields, the articles can be indexed, searched, and presented to the readers in variety of ways. For instance, it is relatively straightforward to produce a set of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files from the SGML database, so it is easy to derive the journal's presentation format for the World Wide Web. . . AASTeX manuscripts are converted to SGML upon receipt at the publisher, and copy editing of the resultant SGML-tagged manuscripts is done on-line. The edited SGML-tagged files are converted by the compositor of the journal into a commercial typesetting system, and final pages are produced for the printed version, as well as PDF files of these pages..." [From: "Closing the Digital Information-Knowledge Continuum" (below)]

American Institute of Physics and OCLC

[CR: 19990120]

From Tim Ingoldsby (link below): "Having electronic versions of all page elements is only the first step in producing an electronic product. Information must be available in the correct electronic format. For EJO/Guidon, that means text (including equations and tables) in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), line art in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), and photographs in the new standard known as JPEG, for Joint Photographic Experts Group. For AIP, these requirements have meant development of translation software to convert Xyvision files into SGML, changes to the line-art scanning procedures to support different scanning resolutions required for screen display, and incorporation of batch programs to convert halftone files from the TIFF greyscale used by Xyvision into JPEG required by OCLC. Changes have also been made to the copy-marking and keyboarding process, to incorporate the necessary tags to identify hypertext links."

"The SGML translation process is further complicated by the need to agree on a particular Document Type Definition (DTD), which describes the content of a particular form of document (in this instance, the scholarly journal article). Fortunately, there exists a DTD, ISO12083, that is being embraced by the international physics publishing community. AIP and OCLC have agreed to use this DTD for APL Online, rather than develop another, highly specialized DTD."

See also: Archiving, SGML, and Postscript: "Journal issues are archived following release to printer: File format is Xyvision input code with TIFF graphics. For those journals with digitized graphics, the entire issue is also available in PostScript format. Also available soon are the article files with SGML coding in place of Xycode. SGML files conform to the standard 12083 DTD.'

"In June, 1996, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) made a decision to distribute all of its journals online via the World Wide Web. The following six months were spent developing an online journal publishing system that would combine state-of-the-art Web technology for secure and authenticated subscriber access with the journal article files that were already prepared in SGML format. AIP also decided to use the contents of the SPIN (Searchable Physics Information Notices) bibliographic database as a searchable front-end for the online journal. In January 1997, AIP successfully launched the Online Journal Publishing Service (OJPS). [from: "Web News. Online Journal Publishing at the American Institute of Physics." By Peggy Judd, Director of Information Technology and Products, American Institute of Physics.]

SGML and Physics: General


[CR: 19951201] [Table of Contents]

A significant body of research has been done at GMD-IPSI (Institute for Integrated Publication and Information Systems) investigating the use of SGML with object-oriented database systems for electronic publishing. The principal project is HyperStorM: "Using Object-Oriented Database Technology in Innovative Publishing Applications." A large number of technical reports and published documents are available online. Excerpts follow (from the project overview) describing these researches.

"The objective of the project HyperStorM (Hypermedia Document Storage and Modelling) is to investigate the use of advanced object-oriented DBMS technology for the storage needs in hypermedia publishing applications. We focus on the different systems and concepts which are under development at GMD-IPSI, e.g. in its department OCEAN the cooperative hypermedia authoring tool SEPIA and the versioningconcepts of CoVer and in its department MIPP the electronic journal MultiMediaForum.

"We use the object-oriented DBMS prototype VODAK as a testbed. A document database (D-STREAT) open to the different applications is developed and to this end the utilization of standards like SGML and HyTime is considered. Particular attention is paid to the integration of information retrieval functionality into the hypermedia document base. We prove the appropriateness of VODAK as database platform for publishing systems and identify new requirements for the VODAK system. From another perspective, an objective is to support the integration of the systems developed at IPSI. In more detail, the project comprises the following activities: (1) Administering SGML documents of arbitrary types. An interactive online journal runs as an application on top. (2) Integrating VODAK as the underlying storage system for the hypermedia authoring tool SEPIA."

Multiagency Electronic [Pharmaceutical] Regulatory Submission (MERS) Project

[CR: 19960312] [Table of Contents]

"The purpose of the MERS project is to develop and demonstrate an interchange standard for the electronic exchange of pharmaceutical regulatory information based on existing de jure information standards."

"The MERS project was initiated on January 31,1994 at a meeting between representatives of the FDA, HPB and PharmaSoft (a consultant to the MPA on IT technology) at FDA headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. Meeting participants discussed and explored common interests in the application of SGML technology to the development of an international standards-based electronic submission. SGML is an international standard for electronic document interchange (ISO 8879, US Federal Information Processing Standard FIPS 152, Canadian Treasury Board Standard TBITS-14). The Quality (Chemistry and Manufacturing, CMC) section of the submission was identified as the initial part of the submission to prototype since the Quality section is technically complex and relatively compact. A draft data model was developed at the working group meeting held in Ottawa, Canada in October of 1994. Four meetings have been held since October 1994 between the participants to develop, define and refine the necessary Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for the development of a non-proprietary SGML- based Quality submission, with InfoDesign (USA, Canada) and PharmaSoft (Sweden) providing technical expertise.

"At the working group meeting hosted by the MPA in Uppsala, Sweden, July 24-27, 1995, the draft data model was further refined and a prototype DTD was prepared. This prototype DTD will be tested with simulated regulatory submissions. This prototype solution will be completed in 1995/96 and tested across multiple environments to assure cross-platform / software portability and implementation independence. The outcome of this phase will provide essential experience for prototyping DTDs for the clinical and safety sections."


docs.sun AnswerBook Documentation - Sun Microsystems

[CR: 19980513] [Table of Contents]

docs.sun is an online documentation system from Sun Microsystems, based upon AnswerBook2 technology. AnswerBook2 based upon SGML. The AnswerBook2 product implements a strategy for encoding source docments in SGML and delivering them online via a Web browser.

"The service from Sun stores information in a compiled SGML format and can deliver either XML or HTML data dynamically, according to requests from a client." See for example the XML documents for display with Mozilla source: TocView.xml and disability.xml.

The paper written by Eduardo Gutentag and Jeff Suttor for SGML Europe '97 (referenced below) supplies background to the emerging 'AnswerBook2 based upon SGML.' As of Spring 1997, Sun was three years into a major effort to redesign its documentation system using SGML. The DTD selected for use was a thoroughly reworked and customized version of the DocBook DTD: one that "became known as Solbook DTD version 1.0, which is a true subset of the Docbook DTD, designed for authoring, but also designed to ensure that whatever documents are written with it are readable as Docbook 2.4.1 documents." Other aspects of the migration to SGML are described, as noted in the paper's abstract.

Adapted abstract: "Sun is three years into a large project that radically revamps its online document creation, management and delivery system, from a proprietary product to an open SGML system designed to meet all current needs, including XML and Java, as well as whatever the future might bring. The goals are deceptively simple: take the writers' documents and, with a minimum of processing, package them and make them available to all users; support links not only within the books but also between books, independently of where the books are ultimately located; execute context driven searches; support user manipulation of contents of book collections and installation wherever they wish; enable viewing books outside of the Solaris environment - and we want, finally, for anybody to be able to publish their own books within this environment.

"A decision was made, very early in the process, to migrate to an SGML-based delivery process, and, following consultations with others in the industry and our own research, we also decided to migrate our authoring environment and tools to SGML, rather than continue using a third party proprietary product, so as to avoid the painful problems associated with multiple conversions. Three processes were put in place: conversion/authoring, production, and delivery vehicles.

The case study presented in the SGML Europe '97 paper concentrates on: "1) how we arrived at our DTD; 2) how SunSoft decided on an editing tool; 3) how inter-book linking in the absence of standard URNs is accomplished; 4) how books are delivered over the Net, including multiple HTML formats; 5) print-on-demand; 6) I18N/L10N; and 7) what is the relationship between all of the above and the so-called 'production process', which controls both the automatic production of collections, and the repository/database where all meta-information is maintained?"


The Data Documentation Initiative

[CR: 19990415] [Table of Contents]

[April 15, 1999] See now: The Data Documentation Initiative as an XML Application

The Data Documentation Initiative is "a Proposal for an SGML Document Type Definition for Data Documentation," sponsored by ICPSR (The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research). ICPSR, "located within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization serving member colleges and universities in the United States and abroad."

"The international social science community of researchers and archivists has long felt a need for a new structured codebook standard to replace OSIRIS, but no universally-supported standard has yet emerged. Accordingly, in May 1995 Richard Rockwell, Executive Director of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, established a committee to develop a Document Type Definition (DTD) for an international codebook standard using Standard Generalized Markup Language, or SGML. . .SGML documents on the Internet can be linked and accessed through hypermedia tools, and social science codebooks marked up in SGML can take advantage of the enhanced functionality the World Wide Web affords. Because of their structured and encoded nature, SGML codebooks will also lend themselves to the production of data definition statements for SAS, SPSS, and other analysis software. This standard will be structured yet flexible and will permit Internet browsing and the generation of SAS and SPSS data definition statements. Further information about the standard and the codebook elements included in it will be forthcoming. When the DTD (Document Type Definition) for the codebook standard is completed and accepted, ICPSR will encourage data depositors to submit codebooks marked up in SGML according to the specifications of the DTD."


The University of Michigan
Institute for Social Research
P.O. Box 1248
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
Telephone: (313) 764-2570
FAX: (313) 764-8041
Email: Mary Vardigan,, or
Email: John Brandt,

Joint Electronic Document Interchange (JEDI)

[CR: 19960324] [Table of Contents]

The researches of the Joint Electronic Document Interchange project are managed through the Division Of Learning Development Research Group at De Monfort University Leicester, the Computer Science at University College London, and the Document Interchange project at UKERNA.

"The project will analyse the current international and industry de facto standards that are in use for electronic document creation, transfer and presentation. The project will identify the set of common elements that will allow the conversion of both logical and layout aspects of a document. The project will also include the design and implementation of a conversion tool that will allow multiple common formats to be converted into SGML and DSSSL Lite formats. The SGML and DSSSL Lite documents will then be able to be viewed using a WWW type browser that will be available for common computer platforms." [from the DMU EDI proposal]

"The project and its aims: The Joint Electronic Document Interchange (JEDI) project emanates from the call for proposals by UKERNA in September 1994 for Electronic Document Interchange projects. JEDI is studying the popular formats for word processing that exist in both academic and commercial environments. The project aims to identify format conversion methods for popular de facto standards and their relationship with internationally recognised standards such SGML and ODA. The work on SGML converters is being performed at De Montfort University (DMU), while the work on ODA, WWW, electronic mail, and database access is being performed at University College London (UCL). This explains the Joint part in the project title's acronym."

"The DMU work consists of identifying known format conversion techniques and establishing methods by which popular word processing formats can be converted to SGML and related style sheet formats for presentation. It was hoped to utilise the Document Style Semantics Specification Language (DSSSL) Lite standard [11], but delays in its release and its limited support by computer software manufacturers have prevented this. In order to demonstrate the concepts of word-processing conversion to SGML the project has chosen the style sheet language of Panorama from SoftQuad [12]." [from Deliverable #3, see below]

The JEDI project has concluded that "SGML is ideally suited for EDI as it is text based and is platform and operating system independent. For SGML to be "presented" it must have a style sheet mechanism that is also text based. The style sheet approaches we have studied all conform to this criterion. The Panorama style sheet can be generated from any text based editor or from within Panorama. They are flexible and readable whilst being comprehensive. It is possible for Panorama style sheets to be created for any DTD. The JEDI project will concentrate on the TEI Lite and Rainbow DTDs. The Arena style sheet mechanism is similar to Panorama's approach but concentrates on the HTML 3.0 DTD only. The DSSSL style sheet mechanism is the prefered one for future development as it is an ISO standard. Unfortunately its acceptance by software manufacturers has been slow to materialise." [rom deliveralbe 3, Conclusions.


Earth Interactions: An Electronic Journal in SGML

[CR: 19981015] [Table of Contents]

"Earth Interactions: An Electronic Journal Serving the Earth System Science Community. . .The effort represents a collaboration between five scientific societies (AGU, AMS, AAG, ESA, and TOS), and NASA since 1992. An overview document describes the mission of the journal, the technical model for the peer-review process, the technical model for delivery of the journal, special features of the journal, and aspects of the economic model. The electronic journal that grew out of this extensive planning effort is a collaborative effort in which the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) are joining with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) as copublishers. The Oceanography Society (TOS) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) have cooperated in the planning of this journal, as well. Individual articles within the journal will be coded in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) rather than HTML and will be viewable by an SGML Web viewer that can be launched from the standard Web browser." [adapted from the Home Page]

In October 1998, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) won an award from InfoWorld for innovation in technology: "Instead of watching the skies, the AMS watched its journals move from print-only versions into multimedia creations with a little help from Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). As manuscripts are entered into the system, SGML automatically is implemented to make the text multimedia-ready. Because the AMS wanted everyone to have easy access to its information, it compiles its journals onto CD-ROMs at the end of each year for easy reference. The AMS also created an Internet-only publication to support articles that cannot be reduced to print form, such as stories with sound or movie clips."


Eric J. Barron, Editor in Chief
Earth System Science Center
Pennsylvania State University
Deike Bldg Rm 248
University Park, PA 16802, USA
Phone +1-814-865-1619
Fax +1-814-865-3191

Topic Navigation Maps

[CR: 20000621] [Table of Contents]

"The new SGML-based standard project, "Topic Navigation Maps" (ISO 13250), due at the end of 1998, aims at representing thesauri, as well as glossaries, indexes and cross-references. This standard represents a general way to represent link-based information, and does not enforce use of specific authority keywords, which is left to user communities to define. The two co-editors of this standard are Martin Bryan and Michel Biezunski." [adapted from a posting of Michel Biezunski to CTS]

Additional references are available in the separate document "(XML) Topic Maps."

[March 10, 1999] Steve Pepper (STEP Infotek AS, and Acting convenor, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34, WG3 [Information Association]) reported on the TNM mailing list that the Final CD Text for ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Navigation Maps which went out for voting in late October 1998 has now passed its ballot. Comments will be resolved before the publication of the IS. This ISO standard is being co-edited by Michel Biezunski, Martin Bryan, and Steven R. Newcomb.

[January 19, 1999] Michel Biezunski announced a GCA Topic Map Workshop, to be held in Alexandria, VA, March 2-3, 1998. The Topic Map standard (ISO 13250) is 'an application of SGML/XML for managing knowledge databases, (formerly known as indexes, glossaries, thesauri or library catalogs, and the like). The standard is being processed for publication, due in Spring 1999. Details on the workshop price, registration, content, may be found at

[November 23, 1998] As acting convenor of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG3, Eliot Kimber has issued a request for comments on the draft Topic Navigation Map (Topic Map) standard, ISO/IEC 13250, which is now out for ballot to become a final committee draft (CD). Eliot says: "The Topic Map standard is similar to RDF in some ways (but has an essentially different focus and intended domain of application). It is also designed to be implementable using Xlink. It defines a relatively simple (but still powerful) approach to representing rich relationships among information objects. If you are working with Xlink, especially extended links, or thinking about how you might use them productively, I urge you to take a look at the standard." The draft is available in HTML, SGML, and PDF formats.

[May 27, 1999] "Using ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps to Create The OII Knowledge Base." By Martin Bryan (The SGML Centre). May 1999. "To test and demonstrate the concepts in ISO/IEC 13250, the Topic Map standard, I have attempted to create a knowledge base that relates to one part of the Open Information Interchange (OII) web site that I maintain for the European Commission. I took as my example the section related to Document Interchange Standards, mainly because this is an example of a highly incestuous set of related standards, where associations play a key role. One of the things I wanted to do was to test how a Topic Map could be defined using XML rather than an HyTime-aware engine. (A related issue was how easy it would be to convert the existing HTML pages on the OII site to XML.) I also wanted to test how easy it was to create a displayable version of a topic map using an XML browser. As there are no XSL FO object browsers around at present I decided to use RivCom's RivComet plug-in to test the concept."

[September 21, 1998] Michel Biezunski announced the availability of a new "extensively revised" Committee Draft (CD) version of the Topic Navigation Maps Standard. The text constitutes material that is to be processed as a final Committee Draft, DIS, and ISO in the ISO SC34 committee. The document is available in HTML and PDF formats. This ISO/IEC 13250 Committee Draft version (21 September 1998) has been edited by Michel Biezunski, Martin Bryan, and Steven R. Newcomb.

"Topic Maps" have to do with "Indexes, Glossaries, Thesauri, Cross-references, and Tables of contents for Electronic Documents." According to Michel Biezunski of HighText, "Topic Navigation Maps is a HyTime-derived architecture. It is the first application that provides user-defined semantics and supports multiple document navigation. Users can create and maintain consistent electronic indices, glossaries, thesauri and tables of contents for multiple heterogeneous documents. Potential uses are: highly enriched technical documentation, Web management, database publishing, library cataloging, etc." [extracted from a tutorial description]

"The Topic Map Architecture has been developed first within the Davenport Group (1992-1993) where it was then known as the SOFABED (Standard Open Formal Architecture for Browsable Electronic Documents), then became part of the CApH activity and has been proposed as a new project for international standard by the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8 in May 1996." [from the "History of the Topic Map Architecture", see below]


Information Mapping and SGML

[CR: 19960705] [Table of Contents]

Note: Information mapping in some contexts is said to be a general information management and delivery technology. Most of the following links reference a particular implementation(s) and provider(s). Check also with: Information Mapping, Inc., 300 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA 02154 (617) 890-7003).

Channel Definition Format, CDF (Based on XML)

[CR: 19970620] [Table of Contents]

A press release from Microsoft announced that "it has developed and submitted the industry's first Channel Definition Format (CDF) for push technology to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)." The Channel Definition Format is an application of the Extensible Markup Language (XML). The press release title: "Microsoft Leads Industry to Standardize on Formats for Internet Push Channels; Submits Channel Definition Format Specification to W3C. More Than 30 Leading Companies Rally Behind CDF as an Open Industry Specification For Optimizing the 'Broadcast' of Information to Millions of Internet Users."

"CDF is an open and easily authored format for the publishing of Web-standard channels that will allow Web publishers to optimize the broadcast of their content to millions of Internet users. . . CDF will be easy for Web developers to adopt because it is based on XML [emphasis added], which has support among many third parties. XML has public domain software written in Java and other languages available now that can be used to parse CDF files. The CDF specification submission extends XML and Web Collections work that the W3C has in progress. These efforts will allow for open, HTML-based Web broadcasting based on standards-based technologies that are expected to have strong support among W3C members. Microsoft looks forward to other leading Web developers joining in support of this open standards effort."


Contact: (Castedo Ellerman, CDF Editor)

Open Financial Exchange (Based on XML/SGML)

[CR: 19990331] [Table of Contents]

"Microsoft, Intuit, and CheckFree have joined to develop an open specification for the online transfer of financial data. Open Financial Exchange (OFE) integrates Microsoft's Open Financial Connectivity, Intuit's OpenExchange, and CheckFree's electronic banking and payment protocols." . . The Open Financial Exchange specification essentially combines Microsoft's Open Financial Connectivity format and Intuit's OpenExchange format into one specification, enabling financial institutions and brokerage firms to implement online connectivity for Microsoft's and Intuit's personal financial management (PFM) software products." Features [to be] supported include: 1) Bank statement download; 2) Credit card statement download; 3) Funds transfers including recurring transfers; 4) Consumer payments, including recurring payments; 5) Business payments, including recurring payments; 6) Brokerage and mutual fund statement download, including transaction history, current holdings and balances; 7) Bill presentment and payment. Other companies have announced support for OFE, including: Vertigo Development Group, Inc., Syntellect Inc., Destiny Software Corporation, InteliData Technologies Corporation, Digital Insight, ULTRADATA Corporation, Online Resources & Communications Corp., etc.

[March 31, 1999] Note: As of Spring 1999, OXF and its related standards are being migrated to IFX. Ken Hobday (VP Product Strategy, CheckFree Corporation) is said to be co-chairing the IFX XML implementation working group for IFX with Microsoft.

"SGML is the basis for Open Financial Exchange. There is a DTD that formally defines the SGML wire format... The basis for Open Financial Exchange is the request and response model. One or more requests can be batched in a single file. This file typically includes a signon request and one or more service-specific requests. An FI server will process all of the requests and return a single response file. This batch model lends itself to Internet transport as well as other off-line transports. Both requests and responses are plain text files, formatted using a grammar based on Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). . . However, [XML connection] Open Financial Exchange is not completely SGML-compliant because the specification allows unrecognized tags to be present. It requires clients and servers to skip over the unrecognized material. That is, if <XYZ>qqq</XYZ> appeared and a client or server cannot recognize <XYZ>, the server should ignore that tag and its enclosed data. A fully-compliant SGML parser would not validate an Open Financial Exchange document if it contained any tags that the DTD does not define." [extracted from: Open Financial Exchange Specification 1.0, February 14, 1997]

In the FAQ document of May 1998, explicit reference is made to XML as a goal: in the changes from version 1.02 to 1.5, "Open Financial Exchange has made a move towards XML compatibility . . ."


Meta Content Framework (MCF) - An XML Application

[CR: 19970623] [Table of Contents]

Netscape Communications announced a new proposed XML application. According to the notice on the Netscape Developer's page: "The Meta Content Framework, or MCF, provides a standard way to describe files or collections of information. A new Netsape document describes how to apply MCF using XML, the Extensible Markup Language."

A preliminary specifications document entitled "Meta Content Framework Using XML" written by R. V. Guha (Netscape Communications) and Tim Bray (Textuality) was formally submitted to W3C on June 6, 1997. It is said to "draw heavily from the knowledge representation work in AI. . .[and to] owe a lot to the MCF project at Apple." The document's abstract: "This document provides the specification for a data model for describing information organization structures (metadata) for collections of networked information. It also provides a syntax for the representation of instances of this data model using XML, the Extensible Markup Language."

The Corpus Legis Project

[CR: 19990610] [Table of Contents]

The Corpus Legis project is sponsored by The Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute. "The general aim of the Corpus Legis project is to establish a permanent, computerised legal text resource for legal and linguistic studies. The project was commenced in response to established needs for improved legal information retrieval methods and enhanced support for legal investigations of different subject matters. Other significant factors include the rapid growth of legal information, its internationalisation and the general need for European harmonisation as a result of European Community Law."

"Questions of legal document management are investigated by means of the international document representation standard SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language. The corpus is divided into the following three main categories with corresponding DTD's (Document Type Definitions): Public national legal information [legis.dtd]; Public international legal information [compar.dtd]; Historical legal information [A modified version of parts of the Legis.dtd is currently in development]. The main part of the corpus (Legis.dtd) focuses on documents reflecting the system for lawmaking and individualized case law, e.g., government bills, laws, and cases decided by courts and administrative bodies. In addition, the corpus contains a sample of commercial legal documents and forms." [from the Brief Project Presentation]

Documents to be made publicly available (Autumn 1996) include a full project prospectus, "An International Comparative Perspective on using SGML for Legal Document Management" and "A Linguistic Perspective on using SGML for Legal Document Management." Principal investigators include: Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg (project manager), Peter Seipel, Gunnel Källgren, Kristofer Franzén, Nils Rönström, Jan-Olof Sundell, Per-Erik Wejshammar, Donald Broady, Hasse Haitto, Georg Haider, Verena Sebald, and others.

A major project publication is Critical Factors in Legal Document Management: A Study of Standardised Markup Languages, by Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg. Stockholm: Jure AB, 1998. ISBN: 91-7223-045-2. Extent: 458 pages. The book "is meant as a guide to modern handling of legal information with the aid of standardized markup languages, in response to the well-known need for sharpened tools for managing the rapidly growing amount of legal information in combination with transborder data flows, especially on the Internet. The SGML and XML international standards for document description are becoming increasingly important for the legal domain in these respects. The content is based on empirical results reached in the Corpus Legis Project. . ." See the the main bibliography entry for details.


Project Manager:
Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg
The Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute, Faculty of Law, Stockholm University
S-106 91 Stockholm, SWEDEN


Project Co-ordination:
Per-Erik Wejshammar
The Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute, Faculty of Law, Stockholm University,
S-106 91 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Tel.: +46 8/16 28 93
Fax: +46 8/612 90 72

Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP)

[CR: 19971018] [Table of Contents]

The Centre de recherche en droit public at the Université de Montréal is pioneering the development of a number of information models and delivery methodologies for bringing "SGML and Law on the Infohighways." The project goals are to facilitate the distribution of a large corpus of judicial and administrative documents based upon SGML encoding, including Internet delivery. A number of draft DTDs have been created for encoding statutes and laws applicable in Quebec.

The Web site hosts several online reference documents describing this effort, including highly significant papers delivered at a September 1995 conference, "SGML et Inforoutes pour la diffusion optimale de l'information gouvernementale et juridique" [Musée du Québec , Mercredi, le 27 septembre 1995]. Conference presenters included Marc-André LEDOUX, Denis LÉVESQUE, Yves MARCOUX, Michel PAQUETTE, Richard PARENT, Daniel POULIN, and Yvette HENRY ROUSSEAU.


Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP)
Université de Montréal
Faculté de droit
C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7
Tel: (514) 343-7853
Email: (Guy Huard)
Email: (Daniel Poulin)
Email: CRDP@Droit.Umontreal.Ca

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) - SIM SGML Database Technology

[CR: 19961120] [Table of Contents]

RMIT - MDS sponsors signiticant research in SGML editing and document database technologies. "The Multimedia Database Systems Group (MDS) at RMIT is one of Australia's leading centres of research in electronic document management. The group develops systems for document management and undertakes consultancies within the wider area of database management and information retrieval. The group consists of eighteen full-time staff, fourteen postgraduate students, and a number of summer students>"

SIM is one of the leading applications sponsored by RMIT - MDS. "The underlying technology for the SIM database has been developed at The University of Melbourne and RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) over many years. Research and development is now continuing at CITRI - the Collaborative Information Technology Research Institute, a joint venture between the two universities."

"ISO 8879 Standard Generalised Markup Language" (SGML) is another standard that is integral to the SIM architecture. SGML is a widely used standard for document interchange. By directly supporting the import and export of documents marked up in SGML, SIM automatically has access to a large range of text processing tools such as text editors, and translators that can convert text between a variety of word processing standards. Storing text in SGML format also means that the SIM retrieval engine has access to the structure of the documents as well as their contents. This structural information can be used to improve the processing of user queries and to determine the best ways to display a document."

"Another major project on information discovery, involving RMIT, Ferntree, CSIRO and The University of Melbourne was continued in 1995. The project is supported by the CRC for Intelligent Decision Systems. It is concerned with the development of technologies to efficiently integrate SGML text editors with the SIM database system. Support for the project, both in-kind from the participating organisations and from the CRC is nearly one million dollars per year for two years."


The Multimedia Database Systems Group at RMIT (MDS)
723 Swanston St
Carlton 3053
Tel: +61 3 9282 2400
Fax: +61 3 9282 2490


[CR: 19961120] [Table of Contents]

"The EUROMATH project was funded through the SCIENCE programme of the European Union and administered through the European Mathematical Trust based at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. EUROMATH is a project to enhance research support for european mathematicians and to stimulate interchange among them by creating a research environment based on modern information technology. The project aims to produce both software and services."

A major goal of the EuroMath Project is the design and development of the EUROMATH Editor, part of the EUROMATH system. "The EUROMATH system is a homogeneous working environment adapted to the needs of the mathematician, based on a single data model. The system is designed to incorporate an editor capable of handling mathematical documents, accessing and creating mathematical databases, an electronic mail interface and computer algebra capability. The EUROMATH system is built upon the WYSIWYG approach and the full SGML-compatibility of the Grif SGML structured editor (also EUROMATH editor) developed by Grif SA, St. Quentin. Additional functionality (also EUROMATH applications) has been developed by a number of partners." Other partners in the development of the editor include: Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe (FIZ); Institut National de Researche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA), Grenoble; EUROMATH Centre. Copenhagen (EmC); Instituto Engenharia de Systemas e Computadores (INESC) Lisbon. EUROMATH version 2, a significant upgrade, was released in October 1996.

"The EUROMATH Editor is a structured editor which encodes documents in Standard Generalized Mark-up Language (SGML). . . EUROMATH is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor with powerful mathmatics facilities, which include two methods formulae preparation. During editing, formulae are displayed on screen as they would appear on the printed page. The elements of a formula may be manipulated - moved, added or removed, and the result seen immediately by the author. Formulae can be constructed by selection from symbol palettes or, importantly, input as a LaTEX string and instantly converted to appear on screen in their final form. Changes can be made by directly manipulating the symbols or by swiftly converting the formula into a LaTEX string and editing that."

A bulletin ([part-mirror]) under the title Euromath Bulletin is sponsored by the European Mathematical Trust, and reports on all aspects of the Euromath Project. The current [November 1996] Chief editor is Stéphane Collart (email: The Bulletin itself is typeset with the Euromath Editor for mathematical texts. A recent issue of the bulletin (Volume 2, Number 1, June 1996) contains 204 pages and 21 articles (e.g., "Structured Search in Mathematical Documents," by Stéphane Collart and Gaston Gonnet; "Preparing for the Future: The New Euromath System," by Helmut Lenzing, Björn von Sydow and Richard M. Timoney).


Ian Stone, European Mathematical Trust Secretary
The Registry
University of Kent, CANTERBURY
Kent CT2 7NZ
Phone +44 227 764 000 (ext. 3229) (office)
Phone +44 227 361265 (home)
FAX +44 227 452 196
Euromath Center
Universitetsparken 5
DK-2100 Copenhagen
Phone: +45 35320705
Fax: +45 35320719
Euromath Support Center
Department of Computer Science
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Comenius University
Mlynska' dolina
842 15 Bratislava
Slovak Republic
Tel: +42-7-726 635
Fax: +42-7-727 041
WWW: Home Page

Mathematical Markup Language (XML)

[CR: 19990712] [Table of Contents]

"Mathematical Markup Language, or MathML, is an XML application for describing mathematical expression structure and content. The goal of MathML is to enable mathematics to be served, received, and processed on the Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text." [from the W3C Working Draft, WD-math-970515] The draft document issued by the working group calls for "content markup" (semantic notions, permitting evaluation of expressions, etc.) as well as presentation markup.

"Because of its extensibility and structure, XML is ideal for marking up complex and specialized data. Although large data base applications such as the health care, semiconductor, and aerospace industries are usually cited as motivating examples for XML, XML admirably serves the needs of MathML as well. In addition to its theoretical advantages, XML has garnered support from major browser vendors as well. Consequently, both on theoretical and pragmatic grounds, it makes a great deal of sense to specify MathML as an XML application, and we have done so." [introduction]


SSML: A Speech Synthesis Markup Language

[CR: 20000809] [Table of Contents]

"SSML is an application of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). The input is text-based and unconstrained in its use of words, but allows a large amount of extra information to be included with the text to guide the synthesis in its performance. The text is annotated with markers to specify features such as emphasis, particular speech styles, or the beginning of new topics." [from the thesis abstract of Amy Isard]

"The concept behined SSML was developed by Paul Taylor in 1992. After many delays, a first prototype was developed by Amy Isard and Paul in the summer of 1995. SSML version 1.0 is now fully incorperated into the Festival speech synthesis system, which is available for general use."


SSML Project
Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR)
University of Edinburgh
80, South Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1HN
Tel. +44 131 650 6358
Fax +44 131 650 6351
Paul Taylor - Email:

Electronic Data Interchange for Documents (EDIDOC)

[CR: 19980104] [Table of Contents]

"The SGML Technologies Group developed the EDIDOC server in the context of a project financed by the European Space Agency with the aim of facilitating the exchange of electronic documents between various partners of the Agency. The basic idea of the system is that every electronic information exchange is going through a unique machine and software called the EDIDOC server. The sender of a message only needs to send the message to EDIDOC; the server has the responsibility of forwarding it. Two dedicated SGML DTDs have been defined to structure the headers of the messages (one for the external plain envelope, one for the secured envelope). By means of this approach, EDIDOC messages carry a rich and flexible header which can be a vehicle of security, communication, format, workflow, compression, and packaging information. Standard email headers are much poorer and rigid."

"SGML DTDs have been established to structure the headers of the messages exchanged. Two headers have been defined: 1) a Security Header (ESH) which describes how and if the messages are enciphered and/or signed. This header is stored in clear at the beginning of messages; 2) a Header (EH) which contains all the informations about the message but the security scheme: this had to be split from the Security Header because the EH, stored in the 'secured envelope', is possibly enciphered. An additional DTD has been defined for the 'Partner definition' configuration request, which is stored in the body of the message when relevant."



[CR: 19970228] [Table of Contents]

EuropeMMM - Efficient Usage of Remote and Online Publication of Electronic MultiMedia Materials. The project began in January 1996, and will complete in December 1998. We are building upon the Hyperwave systems and SGML standards, and are developing both software to support the customisation and to support the catalogue. EuropeMMM will deliver Guidelines to the effectiveness of multimedia materials; reuse and re-purposing of material from a catalogue; standards; intellectual property rights and product pricing; procedures and skills needed for commercial publication."

"We are evaluating the process and its support in three cycles. The first evaluation takes place at Spermalie in Belgium, involving both staff and visually impaired students. In the second evaluation staff at the Open University in the UK and the Fernuniversitšt in Germany will supply material for a catalogue of English and German software engineering educational materials from which a small course will be developed collaboratively. The final demonstrator in Italy during the last twelve months will develop a course in the Telematics area, from reusable multimedia parts, involving staff and students at the Universities of Florence and Pisa."

"EuropeMMM is a Pilot Application (IE2044) funded by the Information Engineering programme of the European Union."


Project Co-ordinator
Rosemary Altoft
John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Baffins Lane
West Sussex PO19 1UD
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1243 770332
Fax: +44 1243 775878

OpenTag Initiative

[CR: 19971125] [Table of Contents]

OpenTag: "A Standard Extraction/Abstraction Text Format for Translation and NLP Tools." "International Language Engineering Corporation . . .[has] announced a proposal for an open standard for data interchange within the localization industry. By launching the OpenTag Initiative, ILE is seeking to establish a working group in which both localization customers and their suppliers can participate in defining a standard that will support open data encoding methods during the localization process, and permit robust data interchange between suppliers and customers. . . As part of the OpenTag Initiative, ILE will contribute a draft specification of the format, sample files, and reference materials, all based on previously proprietary ILE information and technology, to facilitate adoption of the initiative by the localization industry. This proposed standard itself relies on the international open standards of XML/SGML and Unicode."


International Language Engineering Corporation
Tel: (303) 447-2363

SELA Journals Project (Scholars Press - Emory Library Linked Academy)

[CR: 19991008] [Table of Contents]

"Scholars Press and the Emory University Libraries are involved in a three-year cooperative venture known as the SELA Journals Project (Scholars Press-Emory Library Linked Academy). Supported by a study grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project involves taking four of the print journals published by sponsors of Scholars Press and preparing them for electronic distribution. The project will begin with the 1996 issues of each journal: the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Semeia, Biblical Archaeologist, and Critical Review of Books in Religion. In addition, all of the back issues of Semeia will be made available in electronic format."

According to Jimmy Adair, Manager of Information Technology Services, Scholars Press: "Scholars Press is using TEI (actually TEI Lite) in our electronic journals project called SELA, in which we are converting four of our print journals into electronic format. Although only a preliminary version of one issue of one of the journals is now available, others should be ready soon." [from a posting to TEI-L: March 7, 1997]

[October 07, 1999] See now the follow-on "ATLA Serials Project (ATLAS)" which will use XML (TEI) encoding for a digital library.


Scholars Press
TELA: The Electronically Linked Academy
Scholars Press
P.O. Box 15399
Atlanta, GA 30333-0399
Jimmy Adair, TELA Manager of Information Technology Services. Email
Patrick Durusau, TELA Associate Manager of Information Technology Services. Email

Common Desktop Environment (CDE) Help System

[CR: 19970726] [Table of Contents]

"The Common Desktop Environment (CDE), based on Motif and X11, is recognized as the next-generation desktop. CDE was created by a group of UNIX vendors (Hewlett-Packard, Sun, IBM, and Novell) to consolidate all the UNIX desktop interfaces and to define a consistent user and development environment. . . The Help System provides a complete set of tools to develop online help for application software. It enables authors to write online help that includes graphics and text formatting, hyperlinks, and communication with the application. The Common Desktop Environment: Help System Author's and Programmer's Guide includes a 'Helptag' DTD: "The Helptag 1.3 DTD tag set and its associated rules are referred to as formal markup. The DTD conforms to the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) ISO specification 8879:1986. This means that you can use formal markup to create help files that are SGML compliant."

"CDE Help widgets are the most widely applicable. They handle navigation and interaction with application help volumes. Help is delivered with an application in the form of Semantic Description Language (SDL) files that have been compiled from a form of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) files known as HelpTag. Both SDL and HelpTag are SGML Document Type-Descriptions (DTDs) tuned for different tasks. CDE Help features mixed text and graphics, hyper links, dynamic reformatting of text, and structured navigation capabilities. [from the Architectural Overview document]


GNUstep Documentation Markup Language (GDML)

[CR: 19980212] [Table of Contents]

GNUstep is a proposed public implementation of NeXTStep/OpenStep. "Why define a new documentation markup language when we already have a host of others, like HMTL, Texinfo, or TeX? The biggest reason is that no text markup language freely available to us is able to markup Objective-C method names satisfactorily."


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OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards

Sponsored By

IBM Corporation
ISIS Papyrus
Microsoft Corporation
Oracle Corporation


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