A communiqué from Dennis Drescher and Eric Albright (SIL) announces the Level 1 Release of an XML Scripture Encoding Model (XSEM), developed by SIL to replace a "Standard Format Markers (SFM)" markup system which has been in use for about 20 years. Whereas the SFM notation reflected an essentially a flat record/field markup model, XSEM is based substantially upon the TEI DTD and employs a hierarchical model with advanced linking mechanisms. The XSEM markup model is designed as XML, and the application will be deployed with the next generation of editing software and publishing systems in SIL. The XSEM canonical source is "an XML Schema that is compliant with the latest W3C recommendation for the XML Schema standard," but the principal notation used in the distribution is an XML DTD (generated from the Schema source using XSLT). The demonstration materials are available as downloadable packages (.ZIP, .BIN, .HQX, .TGZ formats) and include sample XML text, XML DTDs, documentation, XSLT stylesheets, as well as output in HTML, PDF, EBook, and WML formats. The developers of XSEM have submitted the XML DTD as input to the Open Scriptural Information Standard (OSIS) Initiative, sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Bible Society (ABS).
Perspective: "The XSEM project has chosen to use the perspective that comes from the task of publishing Scripture as the primary perspective in the encoding model." Other perspectives are modeled as possible, although not always in the principal hierarchy: "The Canonical view [books contain chapters that contain verses]; The Outline view [sections contain sections that contain paragraphs]; The Literary view [a collection of prose and poetry -- here are various types of prose i.e., narrative, letters, speeches]; The Speech/Discourse view [a series of nested speech segments, that is, direct and indirect quotes]; The Linguistic view [sentences contain phrases that are made of parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives]; The Source view [a series of witnesses and renderings with one chosen as primary]."