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Last modified: May 02, 2004
SGML/XML: Related Standards

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 - Information Technology - Document Description and Processing Languages.

[CR: 19981007]

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 is a component of ISO/IEC JTC1, which is a collaborative effort of both the International Organization for Standards (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The Convenor of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 is Dr. James David Mason (Lockheed Martin Energy Systems). Note: ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 was formerly ISO WG4 Working Group 4 (ISO/IEC JTC1/WG4) Information Technology - Document Description and Processing Languages, and formerly ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8.

The SC34 Home pages supplies the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 Scope and Terms of Reference as follows:

  • languages for document logical structures and their support facilities
  • languages for describing document-like objects in web environments
  • document processing architecture and
  • formatting for logical documents
  • languages for describing interactive documents
  • multilingual font information interchange and related services
  • final-form document architecture and page information interchange
  • hypermedia document structuring language and application resources
  • APIs for document processing

See ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Structure and document listing.

[August 31, 1998] The first meeting of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34, Document Description and Processing Languages, will be held in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. the week of 9-13 November 1998, to coincide with XML '98 and Markup Technologies '98.

[June 08, 1998] Note: Tentative approval has been given for JTC 1/WG4 to be reconstituted as a full subcommittee. "Given the importance of the work currently being done in JTC 1WG4, JTC 1 disbands JTC 1/WG4 and establishes a new Subcommittee within JTC 1 (SC34) to carry out this work. This new SC will operate in the Technical Direction - Document Description Languages. . ." See the text of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N1993, 8 June 1998; [local archive copy]

Note: As of October 1997, a reorganization of ISO JTC1 has led to the creation of a new working group, WG4. SC 18 has formally disbanded. "ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8 has now become ISO/IEC JTC1/WG4. The new WG4 will, at least for the present, report directly to JTC1." For the time being, the WG4 Home Page maintained by James Mason will be accessible via the URL for the former WG8, under the new title: "ISO/IEC JTC1/WG4 Web Service." Most references to "WG8" below may be understood as meaning the new WG4.

Extract of description: "ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8 is a component of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18, a subcommittee of JTC1, which is a collaborative effort of both the International Organization for Standards and the International Electrotechnical Commission.
Scope and Terms of Reference: To produce standards for languages and resources for the description and processing of compound and hypermedia documents, including:

  • Standard Generalized Markup Language and support facilities
  • Document processing architecture and formatting for documents represented in SGML
  • Final-form document architecture and Standard Page Description Language
  • Font architecture, interchange format, and services
  • Hypermedia document structuring language and application resources"

See the primary URLs:

Address of the Convenor:

Dr. James D. Mason
(ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8 Convenor)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Information Management Services
Bldg. 2506, M.S. 6302, P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6302 U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 615 574-6973
Facsimile: + 1 615 574-6983

DSSSL (Document Style Semantics and Specification Language)[ ISO/IEC 10179:1996]

[CR: 19980104] [Table of Contents]

ISO/IEC 10179:1996 was complete as of January 11, 1996, and was released to the ITTF for printing. Links to DSSSL sources, software, and supporting resources are provided below.

Note: As of August 6, 1997, the DSSSL materials below are being reworked: they will be moved to a separate document soon.


The DSSSL Standard: Sources

DSSSL Introductions and Overviews

  • Serialized tutorial article on DSSSL in three parts: "Formatting Documents with DSSSL Specifications and Jade," by Bob DuCharme, published in <TAG>: The SGML Newsletter, May, June, July 1997. See the bibliographic entry for full reference information.
  • Sharon Adler, "The 'ABCs' of DSSSL." In Structured Information / Standards for Document Architectures = Journal of the American Society for Information Science [Special Issue] Volume 48, Number 7 (July 1997), pages 597-602. Similarly: Adler and Berglund, "ABCs of DSSSL," SGML '95 Proceedings, pages 1-9.
  • Tutorial article by Dianne Kennedy, "An Introduction to DSSSL (ISO/IEC 10179)," in <TAG> 10/2 (February 1997). The first in an announced series of articles. Part 2: <TAG> 10/3 (March 1997) 1-4.

DSSSL Tutorial Materials Online

  • Announcement from Jon Bosak for an expanded collection of simple tutorial materials for DSSSL (Document Style Semantics and Specification Language, ISO/IEC 10179). [March 03, 1997]
  • Learn about DSSSL, starting with a simple example: See an example contributed by Jon Bosak for DSSSL stylesheets applied to (SGML-encoded) email messages. In the tutorial package, the files "show a simple SGML application and a set of DSSSL stylesheets for that application. The stylesheets are arranged in a progression that shows certain basic DSSSL features in action." [mirror copy], February 1997]
  • [July 24, 1997] Announcement from Paul Prescod (University of Waterloo) for an online "Introduction to DSSSL." The tutorial does not presuppose a basic knowledge of Scheme. The URL: The tutorial document was created March 10, 1997, and updated at least as recently as July 25, 1997.
  • Announcement for a tutorial "Introduction to DSSSL," contributed by Daniel M. Germán. Tutorial prerequisites are said to include a basic SGML knowledge and a basic Scheme knowledge. [March 10, 1997]
  • [July 19, 1997] Example/tutorial DSSSL specification from Eliot Kimber, documented in the paper "An Approach to Literate Programming With SGML Architectures." See the announcement from Eliot, or the abstract in the Topics section, sub "Architectural Forms and SGML Architectures."

DSSSL Development and Reference Resources

  • [January 04, 1998] DSSSL Documentation Project, coordinated by Mulberry Technologies, Inc. The DSSSL Documentation Project is "a collaborative effort by DSSSL users to write and disseminate documentation on all aspects of DSSSL for the purposes of: (1) introducing DSSSL to new users; (2) education for both new and experienced users; (3) assistance for people using DSSSL. The project draws on the combined experience of present users of DSSSL, principally those subscribed to the DSSSList mailing list, which also hosts the discussion between project participants."
  • DSSSL Syntax Summary Index, by Harvey Bingham. Announcement from May 1996. [See also SGML Syntax Summary, May 1996 or later]
  • DSSSList -- The DSSSL Users' Mailing List. See the database entry for additional details, and the administrative guidelines document [January 04, 1998].
  • DSSSL Documentation Project Procedures Library. Includes Chapter 1: Procedures (IEEE/R4RS Procedures); Chapter 2: Scheme but not DSSSL procedures; Chapter 3: DSSSL-specific Procedures; Chapter 4: Debugging. [" based largely upon David Love's contribution of July 2, 1997"] Also: SGML source.
  • DSSSL Documentation Project: GLOSSARY
  • [October 14, 1997] The DSSSL Cookbook - Part of the DSSSL Documentation Project. "...arranged as a series of hints about using DSSSL, including style and techniques for writing DSSSL stylesheets as well as the use of specific DSSSL functions and flow object classes. The examples in the DSSSL Cookbook are cross-referenced to the material in the Flow Object Gallery which details features of the DSSSL flow object classes." See also: 'simple-page-sequence'.
  • "Index to all DSSSL procedures by prototype", by Henry S. Thompson. Derived automatically from the DSSSL standard using Jade. April 21, 1997. [mirror copy]
  • [September 05 [10], 1997] Announcement from Henry S. Thompson for a 'DSSSL Digest' programmer's resource. The DSSSL Digest "contains all the procedures and top-level expressions from the electronic version of the DSSSL standard document, in alphabetical order, with thumb-tabs. Each prototype is followed by the first paragraph of its definition in the standard. Multiple prototypes which share a definition are cross-referenced to the first prototype in the group, which is followed by the summary. Section numbers are given for all prototypes." [archive copy] Document via FTP.
  • Property Definitions [Clause 9], provided by Arjan Loeffen. Tree overview in PostScript format; [local mirror copy]
  • From Arjan Loeffen, Utrecht University: HyTime architectural forms: tree listing(DSSSL style sheet element trees are available as EPS files)
  • "Node Properties in Jade", produced by David Megginson. From the overview of the document: "It is important to understand the implications of James's inclusion of the 'node-property' primitive in Jade 0.7 -- we now have direct, low-level access to the grove built from the parse SGML document, and can easily navigate from the root down to each leaf, and back again. . .[I have created] a web page to help [me] understand which classes and properties were supported by the current version of Jade, including the INTRBASE properties that are not part of the SGML grove plan proper." [archive copy]
  • SENG/DSSSL Environment (A DSSSL Environment in Java)
  • KEDIT Language Definition for DSSSL Specifications, from Geir Ove Grønmo, Falch Infotek. Version 1.0 - March 1997. See the [mirror copy].
  • Practical Formatting Using DSSSL - DSSSL Courses from Crane Softwrights Ltd.
  • [December 15, 1997] "Characters available in Jade" "The files charnames.dsl and charnames.sgml can be used to produce an RTF file that lists all of the characters available in Jade 1.0 via the '\charname;' syntax. To produce charnames.rtf do: jade -t rtf -d charnames.dsl charnames.sgml. From Daniel Speck (Thomson Technology Services Group).

DSSSL Software

  • See the dedicated section on DSSSL Software and related DSSSL development resources for a more complete listing of DSSSL software.
  • Jade: James [Clark]'s DSSSL Engine. Jade Home Page: As of August 1997: "Jade includes the following components: (1) An abstract interface to groves; (2) An in-memory implementation of this interface built with SP; (3) A style engine that implements the DSSSL style language; (4) A command-line application, jade, that combines the style engine with the spgrove grove interface and four backends: (i) a backend that generates an SGML representation of the flow object tree, (ii) A backend that generates RTF, (iii) A backend that generates TeX, (iv) A backend that generates SGML, llowing Jade to be used for SGML transformations. . ."
  • DSSSL Syntax Checker, from Henry S. Thompson. See the announcement for version 1.0, or the earlier anouncement for version 0.7 [October 03, 1996]
  • [October 28, 1997] Announcement from Henry S. Thompson for the release of an alpha version of xslj, a Jade-compatible XSL-to-DSSSL translator. "XSLJ is a virtually complete implementation of XSL by way of translation into extended DSSSL, as supported by the latest test release of James Clark's DSSSL engine Jade. XSLJ translates valid XSL style sheets into valid extended DSSSL style sheets, which can then be used to render XML documents using Jade. Virtually all of XSL as described in the W3C document 'A Proposal for XSL' is supported, although some minor modifications have been necessitated by the exigencies of implementation, all of which are described in detail in material contained in the release.." XSLJ development was supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council via their support for HCRC and by a grant from Microsoft. See the University of Edinburgh Web site for details:
  • Copernican Solutions Inc., DSSSL Developer's Toolkit - "The DSSSL Developer's Toolkit (dsssltk) provides a means for different DSSSL implementations in Java to share components such as parsers, transformation engines and flow object semantics. The toolkit contains three Java packages: dsssl.engine, dsssl.grove, and dsssl.flowobject."

DSSSL and the Web

This section provides information for 'DSSSL Online' (dsssl-o), 'DSSSL Lite,' and related efforts.

DSSSL Stylesheets

[CR: 19980108]

DSSSL - Miscellaneous and Historical Reference

XML - Extensible Markup Language

[CR: 19970602] [Table of Contents]


Warning: The XML section is being moved. Change your bookmark to:

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is descriptively identified as "an extremely simple dialect of SGML" the goal of which "is to enable generic SGML to be served, received, and processed on the Web in the way that is now possible with HTML," for which reason "XML has been designed for ease of implementation, and for interoperability with both SGML and HTML." XML is being "developed by a W3C Generic SGML Editorial Review Board formed under the auspices of the W3 Consortium in 1996 and chaired by Jon Bosak of Sun Microsystems, with the very active participation of a Generic SGML Working Group also organized by the W3C." [adapted from the Abstract of WD-xml-961101]

Features in SGML but not in XML include [November 5, 1996], though not exhaustively: "Tag omission; The CONCUR, LINK, DATATAG, and SHORTREF features; The "&" connector in content models; Inclusions and exclusions in content models; CURRENT, CONREF, NAME, NAMES, NUMBER, NUMBERS, NUTOKEN, and NUTOKENS declarations for attributes; The NET construct; Abstract syntax; Capacities and quantities; Comments appearing within other markup declarations; Public Identifiers; Omission of quotes on attribute values."

The W3C SGML Editorial Review Board, as of November 5, 1996, has the following members: Jon Bosak, Sun (, chair; Tim Bray, Textuality (, editor; James Clark (, technical lead; Dan Connolly (, W3C contact; Steve DeRose, EBT (, editor; Dave Hollander, HP (; Eliot Kimber, Passage Systems (; Tom Magliery, NCSA (; Eve Maler, ArborText (; Jean Paoli, Microsoft (; Peter Sharpe, SoftQuad (; C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, U. of Ill. at Chicago (, editor.

XML: Official Draft/Working Versions and Reference Materials

[CR: 19970602]

Warning: The XML section is being moved. Change your bookmark to:

XML: Summary Descriptions and News Articles

[CR: 19970524]

Warning: The XML section is being moved. Change your bookmark to:

XML: Other Supporting Documents and Links

[CR: 19970521]

Warning: The XML section is being moved. Change your bookmark to:

ISO/IEC 15445 HTML. [ISO-HTML, ISO Hypertext Markup Language]

[CR: 19991027] [Table of Contents]

On April 4, 1998, An announcement was posted from the editors of ISO-HTML for the availability of ISO/IEC CD 15445 HTML, in HTML format. Roger Price and David Abrahamson have also produced a User's Guide to ISO/IEC 15445:1998 HyperText Markup Language (HTML). According to the Introduction in this guide: "The ISO-HTML language is an application of the International Standard ISO/IEC 8879 -- Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). . . The International Standard was developed in an effort to ensure that it will remain possible for an author to produce simple hypertext for the web and be confident that a conforming browser will be able to render the document faithfully. . . The language defined by the International Standard is a refinement of the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 and provides additional specifications for the use of that document. All documents conforming to the International Standard also conform to the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0. ISO-HTML omits all deprecated features of the language, features whose role is purely cosmetic, and features which are still unstable or immature. This has been done in preparation for the expected wide adoption of style sheets by authors and browser manufacturers. Certain optional facilities such as markup omission of the document and other major elements have been removed to produce more robust texts in keeping with recognized good SGML practice. This does not reduce in any way the expressive power of the language. The conformance statements in the International Standard distinguish between a conforming system and a validating system. Conforming systems behave correctly when processing conforming documents, but are not required to handle errors. Validating systems are required to identify all SGML and ISO-HTML errors, and must be able to certify that a document is valid ISO-HTML. Commercial browsers are usually conforming systems, whereas authoring tools check for validity."

[October 25, 1999] ISO/IEC 15445:1999(E) Hypertext Markup Language (ISO-HTML) Available Online. A communiqué from Russell Steven Shawn O'Connor notes that a a revised 'First edition' of ISO/IEC 15445:1999(E) is now available online: Information technology -- Document description and processing languages -- HyperText Markup Language (HTML) ['First edition 1999-00-00, Copyright 1999 IETF, W3C (MIT, Inria, Keio), ISO/IEC'] "International Standard ISO/IEC 15445 was prepared by Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, Subcommittee SC34, Document description languages. JTC1/SC34 has worked on this project in close cooperation with the World Wide Web Consortium. This International Standard makes normative reference to the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 amended by the HTML 4.0 Specification Errata. Annexes A ['SGML declaration'] and B ['Entities, element types and attributes'] form a normative part of this International Standard. The International ISO/IEC 15445 "is a refinement of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Recommendation for HTML 4.0; it provides further rules to condition and refine the use of the W3C Recommendation in a way which emphasizes the use of stable and mature features, and represents accepted SGML practice. Documents which conform to this International Standard also conform to the strict DTD provided by the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0. [...] The scope of this International Standard is a conforming application of ISO 8879, SGML. This International Standard describes the way in which the HTML language specified by the following clauses in the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 shall be used, and does so by identifying all the differences between the HTML language specified by the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 and the HTML language defined by this International Standard..." See also the "Users Guide to ISO/IEC 15445"; alt. from SC34 site. ['Proposed Final Draft' local archive copy]

[From 1997:] 'ISO-HTML' is a proposed ISO/IEC International Standard for the HyperText Markup Language (HTML). An excerpt from the proposed text of the Final CD (referenced below) supplies an overview of the project objectives and its rationale. ISO-HTML was a new effort in 1996-1997, under the auspices of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8. According to Report on W3C HTML 4.0/ISO-HTML Harmonization Meeting [WG8 N1931]: "The final Committee Draft of ISO 15445 ISO-HTML is currently under review, and balloting will end on August 15th 1997." [it was successfully balloted]

[December 07, 1997] N1944 was accepted by WG4 as editing instructions for ISO-HTML, ISO Hypertext Markup Language, and the editors were instructed to prepare a new text for Final CD ballot. For background information on the decision, see "Recommendations of the Alexandria Meeting" of WG4 (5 December 1997).

[October 29, 1997] Update: As of October 14, 1997, the editors of ISO-HTML had completed documents relating to the disposition of comments on the (August 15th) ballot, and on the consultation with W3C. The proposed text of a Final CD 15445 is complete, and may soon be sent out to JTC1 for ballot as the Final CD. The Final CD 15445 - Work in Progress is publicly available in SGML, PDF, and Postscript formats.

The New Project Proposal to ISO, as documented in WG8 N1853 (May 21, 1996), said of the new ISO HTML ("Standard HTML"): "This standard shall be a conforming application of SGML, suited to serve the needs of JTC1 and others needing a stable format for documents displayed on the World-Wide Web (WWW)." The purpose and justification was given as follows: "While HTML has grown rapidly, many of the latest features are of minimal use to those who desire a simple, stable format for presenting documents on the WWW. The working group that developed the early versions of HTML is being disbanded, and a new group is needed to maintain basic functionality. ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8, as the developers of SGML, has the necessary knowledge and skills."

The introduction to the draft (see below) describes ISO-HTML as "an SGML application conforming to International Standard ISO 8879" ... that "provides a simple way of structuring hypertext documents which refer to one another and which collectively create an enormous "web" which continues to grow and evolve as many hypertext authors add and modify documents." The rationale for the standard is explained in these terms: "The web has expanded and browser developers have added additional features to the markup language such as new tags and new semantics for the tags. As a result, many documents have been created which can only be rendered faithfully on a limited number of browsers. Normal web practice is to hide any syntactic problems detected by the browsers and thus the reader is not always aware that the page being browsed is not faithful to the original authored document. . . This [text for proposed standard] has been developed in an effort to ensure that it will remain possible for an author to produce simple hypertext for the web and be confident that a conforming browser will be able to render the document faithfully. This specification represents a core of the language to be supported by all conforming browsers and provides techniques for extending the core that are SGML conformant and represent good SGML practice." [from the draft, ca. 970326]

As of February 12, 1997, a (very) provisional committee draft has been produced, along with sample proposed DTDs and corresponding documents. Documentation describing the differences between ISO-HTML and HTML 3.2 is available through WG8 channels, or possibly from the designers. Among other changes, the current CD-proposal for ISO-HTML "extends the W3C's HTML 3.2 Recommendation to include the IETF HTML internationalization features defined by RFC 2070."

As of March 26, 1997, [see the WG8 document with the announcement] CD text from the ISO-HTML editors and supporting documents became available. Further information is provided in the links below. Note: While there is [was] no indication from the FTP server (at the Department of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin) that the draft information is regarded private, still, as with other online WG8 standards materials: (1) it is the relevant domain of WG8 and liaisons, (2) participation in the standards work presumably follows normal rules, and (3) relevant copyright conventions undoubtedly apply to the documents, as to all publicly-accessible documents on the Net.


SPDL (Standard Page Description Language)

[CR: 19970402][Table of Contents]

Standard Page Description Language (SPDL) is under ISO Project JTC1., documented as ISO/IEC DIS 10180. According to WG8 Document #1789 (Annual Report of the Convenor of WG8 to SC18, 9-June-1995), "The SPDL project has delivered its final text to ISO for publication"; see also from Multimedia and Hypermedia Standards Activity, January 1996: "ISO has now formally published ISO 10180, the Standard Page Description Language (SPDL)."

ISO/IEC TR 9573:1988. Techniques for Using Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

[CR: 19980605][Table of Contents]

ISO/IEC 9070:1991 Registration Procedures for Public Text Owner Identifiers

[CR: 19980610] [Table of Contents]

Note that in the "Recent Changes to ISO 8879" as documented in ISO/IEC JTC1/WG4 N1983 and related documents, the production [80] for "owner identifier" has been augmented. See: Annex K.4.6 'Internet domain names in public identifiers': "owner identifier = ISO owner identifier | registered owner identifier | unregistered owner identifier | internet domain name owner identifier," where internet domain name owner identifier [83.1] = "+//IDN ", minimum data and where the 'minimum data' must begin with an internet domain name."

Names of Languages - ISO 639

[CR: 20010829] [Table of Contents]

See now the relevant section in the separate document "Language Identifiers in the Markup Context."

Names of Scripts - ISO 15924

[CR: 20001020] [Table of Contents]

ISO 15924 is a an international standard being developed under ISO TC46/SC2 (International Technical Committee 46 / Subcommittee 2), "Conversion of Written Languages." The document is now (June 1998) a Draft CD, and specifies names of scripts: Code for the Representation of Names of Scripts (Code pour la représentation des noms des écritures). The scope of this standards work is the design of script codes "for use in terminology, lexicography, and linguistics, but they may be used for any application requiring the expression of scripts in coded form." The standard "also includes guidance on the use of script codes in some of these applications."

In form, script codes have been "created from the original script name in the language commonly used for it, transliterated or transcribed into Latin letters. If a country, where the script concerned has the status of a national script, requests a certain script code, preference is given to this code whenever possible. The two-letter and three-letter codes shall be written with an initial capital Latin letter and final small Latin letter(s) (both taken from the range Aa[a]-Zz[z]). This serves to differentiate script codes from language codes, and country codes: so, for example, Mon mon MON or Mn mn MN would refer to a book in the Mongolian script, in the Mongolian language, originating in Mongolia. [. . .] The two-letter and three-letter codes are derived from ISO 639 and from ISO 639-2 respectively [sic! and] where there is an identity between the name of a script and the name of a language using the script (example: Gujaratiguj/gu, Guj/Gu). In some cases where there is no identity the script name has a unique form. . ." [from the second CD, 1998-05-26]


ISO 8601. Representation of dates and times.

  • [November 2000] ISO/FDIS 8601. DRAFT STANDARD. ISO/FDIS 8601:2000(E). Data elements and interchange formats -- Information interchange -- Representation of dates and times. Éléments de données et formats d'échange -- Échange d'information -- Représentation de la date et de l'heure. "This International Standard includes specifications for a numeric representation of information regarding date and time of the day. In order to achieve similar formats for the representations of calendar dates, ordinal dates, dates identified by week number, time-intervals, recurring time-intervals, combined date and time of day, and differences between local time and Coordinated Universal Time, and to avoid ambiguities between these representations, it has been necessary to use, apart from numeric characters, either single alphabetic characters or one or more other graphic characters or a combination of alphabetic and other characters in some of the representations. The above action has had the benefit of enhancing the versatility and general applicability of previous International Standards in this field, and provides for the unique representation of any date or the time expression or combination of these. Each representation can be easily recognized, which is beneficial when human interpretation is required. This International Standard retains the most commonly used expressions for date and time of the day and their representations from the earlier International Standards and provides unique representations for some new expressions used in practice. Its application in information interchange, especially between data processing systems and associated equipment will eliminate errors arising from misinterpretation and the costs these generate. The promotion of this International Standard will not only facilitate interchange across international boundaries, but will also improve the portability of software, and will ease problems of communication within an organization, as well as between organizations. Several of the alphabetic and graphic characters used in the text of this International Standard are common both to the representations specified and to normal typographical presentation. . . This International Standard specifies the representation of dates in the Gregorian calendar and times and representations of periods of time. It includes: (a) calendar dates expressed in terms of year, month and day of the month; (b) ordinal dates expressed in terms of year and day of the year; (c) week dates expressed in terms of year, week number and day of the week; (d) time of the day based upon the 24-hour timekeeping system; (e) differences between local time and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC); (f) combination of date and time; (g) time-intervals; (h) recurring time-intervals. This International Standard is applicable whenever dates and times are included in information interchange. This International Standard does not cover dates and times where words are used in the representation and dates and times where characters are not used in the representation. This International Standard considers the leap seconds that are occasionally inserted at the end of a calendar month to maintain astronomic precision of the calendar day. This International Standard does not assign any particular meaning or interpretation to any data element that uses representations in accordance with this International Standard. Such meaning will be determined by the context of the application." [FDIS voting begins on 2000-10-05, voting terminates on 2000-12-05.]

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) - ISO/IEC 14772-1:1997

[CR: 20001114] [Table of Contents]

[November 14, 2000] See now "VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) and X3D."

"The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is a file format for describing interactive 3D objects and worlds. VRML is designed to be used on the Internet, intranets, and local client systems. VRML is also intended to be a universal interchange format for integrated 3D graphics and multimedia. VRML may be used in a variety of application areas such as engineering and scientific visualization, multimedia presentations, entertainment and educational titles, web pages, and shared virtual worlds." [from the Introduction, ISO spec.]

According to a recent [January 1998] WG document, the VRML-DHTML Integration Working Group is studying "a potential closer integration between VRML and DHTML, a common term for a set of evolving features and architecture extensions to HTML and Web browsers that includes cascading style sheets and document object models." The WG is exploring "the potential of future inclusion of XML functionality, expanded Web media related capabilities envisioned by SMIL and MPEG4, [and] media-rich Web enabled set top computers. . ." The WG has observed, with respect to XML: "The XML movement is one indication that a parseable, hierarchical object model will play an increasingly major role in the evolution of HTML. And the more general and powerful this object model becomes, the more meaningful it may become for related media graph structures like VRML." See below.

Note: Some would claim that VRML has nothing (quint)essential to do with SGML/XML; they are probably correct as of January 1998. However, VRML is of interest to some SGML/XML experts and users; hence this brief entry. And: see the preceding paragraph.

ODA (Open Document Architecture)

[Table of Contents]

"ODA is a typo" [or, variant] "might better have been called DOA" - C. Michael Sperberg McQueen and James Mason, respectively.

The Europeans think SGML is an IBM plot, and the North Americans think ODA is an ECMA plot -- Anonymous, 1989.

Conduct a literature search in a large online periodicals database. Search on the title word "oda". If the article is about "Office (Open) Document Architecture", then the author is European; if the article is about biology, then the author is North American. Truth rating: 85%. -- For you to test


[CR: 20010319] [Table of Contents]

See updated materials for 2001- in "STEP/EXPRESS and XML." Much of the information cited below is still fundamentally important.

  • A first working draft of ISO 10303-28 has been developed by Eurostep and Monsell EDM for BSI. This is: ISO/WD 10303-28:1999(E). Product data representation and exchange: Implementation methods: XML representation of EXPRESS-driven data. Reference: ISO TC184/SC4/WG10 N285 and ISO TC184/SC4/WG11 N090, Date: 1999-10-24. This "first rough draft of part 28" specifies "the way in which XML can be used to encode both EXPRESS schemas and corresponding data." An accompanying document explaining the use of Use of Architectural Forms is also available: "Use of Architectural Forms for Early to Late Bound Mapping WG11 N91. These two documents have been sent to SOLIS as WG11/N90 and N91, and are intended to form the basis for discussion at an upcoming meeting in New Orleans. The goal of the project in this new work item is explained in the introduction to the proposed standard: "ISO 10303 is an International Standard for the computer-interpretable representation of product information and for the exchange of product data. The objective is to provide a neutral mechanism capable of describing products throughout their life cycle. This mechanism is suitable not only for neutral file exchange, but also as a basis for implementing and sharing product databases, and as a basis for archiving. This part of ISO 10303 specifies means by which data and schemas specified using the EXPRESS language (ISO 10303-11) can be encoded using XML. XML provides a basic syntax that can be used in many different ways to encode information. In this part of ISO 10303, the following uses of XML are specified: a) A late bound XML architectural Document Type Declaration (DTD) that enables any EXPRESS schema to be encoded; b) An extension to the late bound DTD to enable data corresponding to any EXPRESS schema to be encoded as XML; c) A canonical form for the late bound DTD that is derived from the architectural DTD; d) The use of SGML architectures to enable early binding XML forms to be defined that are compatible with the late binding. The use of architectures allows for different early bindings to be defined that are compatible with each other and can be processed using the architectural DTD." The Architectural Forms document (by Robin La Fontaine) "explains the basics of SGML Architectures as needed to represent the relationship between the early-bound and late-bound XML formats for Express-driven data... Given a document in XML which corresponds with a particular DTD, architectural forms provide a standard mechanism for viewing it as if it were consistent with another DTD (the meta-DTD or base architecture). This is being used within STEP to allow one or more early-bound data sets to be viewed as if they were defined in terms of the standard late-bound DTD. Thus software written against the late-bound DTD can, without modification, process data that complies with any compliant early-bound DTD. 'Compliant' here means that the early-bound DTD has the late-bound DTD as its base architecture. This gives some flexibility in defining early-bound DTDs which can be optimised for different purposes, e.g., for display, for data exchange, for compactness." Persons interested in the activity of this ISO group may contact the Nigel Shaw (Project Leader, Eurostep Limited) or Robin La Fontaine (Project Editor, Monsell EDM).
  • STEP/SGML - Standard Exchange for Product Data/Standard Generalized (ISO/TC184/SC4/WG3/T14): "The STEP standard task group, Product Documentation (ISO 184/SC4/WG3/T14), is aimed at the integration of two of the most prominent and important information technologies encompassed by standards efforts. These are the areas of product data and product documentation. The results and recommendations of Working Group 3 (T14) are aimed at harmonizing the use and application of the international standards covering the following areas: ISO 10303, Standard Exchange for Product Data (STEP) which covers product data, is being developed by a broad range of industries to provide extensive support for modelling, automated storage schema generation, life-cycle support, plus many more data management facilities, [and SGML]"
  • [January 12, 1999] The ISO TC 184/SC4 [Industrial data] Secretariat has issued an ISO New Work Item Ballot for "XML representation for EXPRESS-driven data." The NWI 'specifies the representation according to the syntax of Extensible Markup Language (XML) of data defined using ISO 10303-11 (the EXPRESS language) and/or for EXPRESS schemas. The mappings from the EXPRESS language to the syntax of the representation are specified. Any EXPRESS schema or schemas and the data they describe can be represented.' The current proposal 'arises out of the preliminary work item on SGML and Industrial Data (commonly refered to as 'STEP/SGML Harmonisation') and is seen as an important part of that initiative. The use of XML will enable increased flexibility with respect to future changes to EXPRESS schemas. The result of the NWI will enable the generalized use of XML and SGML tools and web browser technology with EXPRESS-driven data and schemas.' The facility would 'enable the use of the recommended syntax for data exchange on the World Wide Web to be applied to instances of EXPRESS-driven data, enable the use of the recommended syntax for data exchange on the World Wide Web to be applied to EXPRESS schemas, and enable EXPRESS schemas to be exchanged together with data instances they describe.'
  • Preliminary Work Item Proposal: SGML and Industrial Data. ISO TC184/SC4/WG10 Architecture N112. June 1997. "The SGML family of standards is highly important in the publications domain. The SC4 family of standards is set up to enable the exchange and sharing of product and product related information. Product documentation obviously belongs into both worlds. This project will investigate ways to increase the interoperability between both families of standards for the benefit of product definition, product documentation, and beyond."
  • Daniel Rivers-Moore (Director of New Technologies, RivCom, and Joint Project Leader of the ISO Preliminary Work Item on SGML and Industrial Data) presented a paper on XML and EXPRESS as Schema Definition Languages at the MetaStructures 1998 Conference (August 17 - 19, 1998. Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montréal, Québec, Canada). [local archive copy]
  • [June 21, 1999] A communiqué from William C. Burkett (Product Data Integration Technologies, Inc., P.D.I.T.) reports on the development of a small XML tool called 'FirstSTEP EXML' that is being made available to the product data exchange/XML community. FirstSTEP EXML is a software tool which may be used to to convert an EXPRESS schema into an equivalent XML DTD. The conversion algorithm is faithful to the semantics and structure of the EXPRESS language and, as a result, is very literal in the way that the EXPRESS entity declarations map to the DTD element declarations. P.D.I.T. is providing this tool free-of-charge to anyone interested in experimenting with EXPRESS schemas and XML DTDs. Bill Burkett writes: "As a data encoding language, XML is a very flexible and 'Internet-friendly', but it lacks many of the semantic features that data management professionals expect and applications require to ensure data semantics and integrity. Therefore, the PDI project adopted EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11) as the data specification language that governs the semantics of data exchanged with an XML encoding; see or This necessitated a mapping from EXPRESS to XML DTD." The background to this work: "P.D.I.T. is the principle contractor for a program called Product Data Interoperability (PDI), an initiative sponsored by JECPO (Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office), and supported by USAF (U.S. Air Force), and DLA (Defense Logistics Agency). The objective of PDI is to demonstrate a prototype XML-based data exchange between different commercial Product Data Management (PDM) systems. This data exchange will effected with an XML vocabulary known as Product Data Markup Language (PDML). PDML is based on a international product data exchange standard known as STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product model data - ISO 10303), on which, see or" Comments, questions, and feedback on FirstSTEP EXML may be sent to
  • ISO NWI Revised Ballot Results. XML representation for EXPRESS-driven data From: ISO Technical Committee 184: Industrial automation systems and integration, Subcommittee 4: Industrial data. [local archive copy]
  • [April 16, 1999] XML and STEP study notes. By Ann M. Wrightson (Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, University of Huddersfield). These materials are part of a collection of 'XML study notes' prepared for postgraduate students upport class-based and independent study at the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Huddersfield. [local archive copy]
  • [August 20, 1998] "XML for STEP." In OASIS@Work: Summer Workshop 1998 Newsletter, edited by Kathryn Holman (Crane Softwrights) and Carol Geyer (OASIS), reporting on the OASIS Summer Workshop, July 29-31, 1998 Newsletter. [URL probably bad, broken link; try this or cache/partial, also cache from Wayback.]
  • June 07, 1998] Update - see abstract for STEP and SGML, by Daniel Rivers-Moore (RivCom) and Peter Bergström (EuroSTEP), presented at SGML Sverige 98. Slides (HTML) also.
  • Configuration Control for Product Documentation: A Way of Integrating STEP & SGML, by Reiner Reschke and Hugh Tucker; see also the
  • STEP - SGML ISO/TC184/SC4/WG3/T14 mailing list
  • [December 08, 1998] STEP's EXPRESS Data Modeling Language - Update on the ISO TC184/SC4 work toward "STEP and SGML Harmonization" work, really "STEP <-> grove". From Eliot Kimber.
  • Bibliographic entry for Technical Report by Lisa Phillips and Joshua Lubell "An SGML Environment for STEP"
  • Bibliographic entry for Technical Report by Joshua Lubell, "The Application Protocol Information Base World Wide Gateway"
  • ISO/TC184/SC4/WG3/T14, Standing document H "technical requirements needed for the co-existence of product documentation produced in SGML-compliant environments and product data produced in STEP-compliant environments"
  • STEP: ISO 10303 Standard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP)
  • STEP and SGML White Paper: "Interoperability between STEP and SGML" from SwedCALS [mirror copy, partial text only]; or [mirror copy in Postscript]
  • The STEP Project - ISO TC184/SC4
  • STEP Home Page, Ikeda Lab.
  • STEP, SGML and the Internet (October 6, 1996 - Toronto, Ontario), Tutorial Presentations. Presentations: (1) CALS, SGML, STEP and the Internet,Candian Department of National Defense CALS Program, presented by Joe Gollner; (2) STEP/SGML Harmonization, presented by Nigel Shaw, EuroSTEP; (3) T14, STEP/SGML Harmonization, presented by Hugh Tucker, Documenta
  • The STEP Project - NIST
  • Application Protocol Development Environment (APDE), NIST ["The APDE integrates STEP-specific tools with an SGML environment for accessing information in existing STEP documentation and authoring new documents. Document Type Definitions (DTDs) have been developed for STEP Application Protocols and Integrated Resources and are being used in this SGML environment."]
  • NIST UoF Repository
  • STEP Conformance Testing Project
  • SGML DTDs for STEP (NIST STEP Gopher: contact is Lisa Phillips, email:, telephone: 301-975-5021)
  • README file for DTDS subdirectory on SOLIS (February 1996), [mirror copy] [README file for the STEP/SOLIS DTDs [October 1995]]
  • DTDs (February 01, 1996); [mirror copy]
  • STEPIR DTD gopher:// OR [local mirror copy, and STEP DTD Readme File]
  • STEP On-Line Infomation Service (SOLIS) from NIST,
  • STEP DTDs: "As part of the Application Protocol Development Environment (APDE), NIST is developing SGML document type definitions (DTDs) for STEP (ISO 10303) documents." []
  • Metastructures 1998 Presentation. W. Eliot Kimber (ISOGEN International)  -  "STEP/EXPRESS as XML; XML as STEP/EXPRESS."
  • Metastructures 1998 Presentation. Daniel Rivers-Moore (Rivcom)  -  "An XML Representation of EXPRESS-driven data."
  • Metastructures 1998 Presentation. David M. Price (IBM Advanced Manufacturing Solutions)  -  "The STEP Data Integration Architecture Activity."
  • See the details for two NIST-sponsored discussion groups on STEP and SGML: sgml-step-docs and express-sgml.
  • [September 01, 1998] Eliot Kimber (ISOGEN International Corp) has authored a paper The SGML Storage Model which may be of assistance to readers who wish to understand more about the SGML entity as an abstract storage object, and how storage managers interface with an entity manager, a parser, and a processing application. The paper was written in the context of ongoing work toward SGML and STEP harmonization, but its discussion of formal system identifiers and storage models should be of wider interest. ". . .all SGML systems consist, in one way or another, of the same layers. At the bottom are the physical storage managers, the systems that actually manage data on storage media (file systems, database, etc.). Above the storage managers is the entity manager layer. Above the entity manager is the SGML parser and any processing applications. Processing applications talk to the SGML parser to get parsed SGML documents and to the entity manager directly to get data entities. . . [Conclusion:] SGML abstract storage model and entity declaration syntax coupled with the Formal System Identifier facility of ISO/IEC 10744:1997 provides a robust mechanism for representing systems of repositories and storage objects, regardless of their data types." [local archive copy]
  • Early materials from NIST, STEP-SGML as new work item. (1) Material related to the NWI on XML representation; (2) EXPRESS for SGML property set; (3) Meeting minutes from San Fransisco; (4) "Formal Data Models for SGML and HyTime", by Eliot Kimber and Peter Bergström, at SGML/XML Sweden, March 1999. Formal Data Models, IEEE version. [cache for data models, NWI materials, propset]

Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM). ISO 8632:1992.

[CR: 19990414] [Table of Contents]

The CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) standard is an "international standard for the open interchange of structured graphical objects and their associated attributes." It is defined in ISO 8632:1992 together with Amendments 1 and 2, and specifies a two-dimensional data interchange standard which allows graphical data to be stored and exchanged among graphics devices, applications, and computer systems in a device-independent manner. It is a revisable, structured format that can represent vector graphics (e.g., polylines, ellipses, NURBS), raster graphics, and text. Although initially a vector graphics format, it has been extended in three upwardly compatible extensions to include raster capabilities and provides a very useful format for combined raster and vector images. A metafile is a collection of elements. These elements may be the geometric components of the picture, such as polyline or polygon. They may be details of the appearance of these components, such as line colour. They may be information to the interpreter about how to interpret a particular metafile or a particular picture. The CGM standard specifies which elements are allowed to occur in which positions in a metafile." [adapted from NIST]

Historically, CGM has been a preferred graphics standard in government and industry applications of SGML and ODA (e.g., CALS defense, ATA aviation, J2008 automotive, petrochemical). SGML Notations have been proposed for the various parts of the ISO standard; see The SGML Handbook (536-537) for ISO 8879 Annex E2, and PDTR 9573-9 Information Processing -- Text and office systems -- Using SGML Public Identifiers for Specifying Data Notations (ISO/IEC JTC1/WG4 N1958, December 5, 1997).

More recently, CGM has become of interest to W3C researchers (W3C Activity: Web Graphics) and commercial vendors (CGM Open Initiative) for its use on the Internet. Ongoing collaborative work between the W3C and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has explored the "use of CGM on the Web, including integration of a CGM plug-in into Amaya (using the OBJECT tag), supported by a W3C technical NOTE on inline CGM proposing ways to increase interoperability and performance for inline CGM. This work continues as part of the W3C-LA initiative, in cooperation with SGML Open." In September 1997 at a Springfield ATA - TICC meeting, a number of CGM vendors and users met to discuss CGM interoperability issues and ". . . generally agreed that the use of the CGM standard as well as products and technology based on CGM are poised for potentially rapid growth." Thus, it has been proposed that "a CGM Open profile for Web-based graphics should be written. . .simple (e.g., perhaps at about the level of SVF), so that it is easy and reliable to implement. . .In order to better harmonize CGM with other emerging standards such as XML, it might be possible to develop a new encoding for CGM which could easily be parsed by (for example, an XML parser)."

[August 20, 1998] An effort toward "SGML/CGM Harmonization" is being promoted by OASIS, as reflected in the OASIS@Work - Summer Workshop 1998 Newsletter.

There are also several CGM application profiles. "An application profile (AP) defines the options, elements, and parameters of ISO 8632 necessary to accomplish a particular function and maximize the probability of interchange between systems implementing the profile. Profiles are defined by application constituencies who agree to adhere to the same subset of CGM for the purpose of graphical data interchange using ISO 8632" [from NIST]. Examples: The Model Profile [CGM encodings at the CGM Version 3 functionality level, in Amendment 1], The ATA Profile [Specification 2100, Air Transport Association], The CALS profile [MIL-D-28003A], The PIP profile [for petrotechnical applications], The EWOS CGM ISPs, with 4 functionality levels. Provisionally: DISP 12071-1 Basic Scientific and Technical; DISP 12071-2 Advanced Scientific and Technical; DISP 12071-3 Basic Presentation and Visualisation (Model Profile); DISP 12071-4 Advanced Presentation and Visualisation). In addition to these four internationally standardized profiles, CGM has been accepted as a MIME data type.

The ISO standard has four parts and two amendments: ISO/IEC 8632.1:1992 (Part 1: Functional Specification); ISO/IEC 8632.2:1992 (Part 2: Character Encoding); ISO/IEC 8632.3:1992 (Part 3: Binary Encoding); ISO/IEC 8632.4:1992 (Part 4: Clear Text Encoding); ISO/IEC 8632:1992/Amd.1: [1994] (Amendment 1: Rules for profiles, parts 1-4); ISO/IEC 8632:1992/Amd.2 (Amendment 2: Application structuring extensions, parts 1-4). The ANSI Standard - ANSI/ISO 8632.1-4:1992 [1994] is identical to the ISO.

In addition to the bibliographic references to the ISO, ANSI, and FIPS standards documents (ad loc), note the books by: (1) Lofton R. Henderson and Anne M. Mumford, The CGM Handbook; (2) Lofton R. Henderson and Anne M. Mumford, The Computer Graphics Metafile; and (3) David B. Arnold and Peter R. Bono, CGM and CGI. Metafile and Interface Standards for Computer Graphics; see also (4) the reference list in the W3C NOTE edited by Chris Lilley.

[January 21, 1999] A W3C press release announced that "The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation. Interoperability for Industrial-strength CGM Graphics." References: REC-WebCGM-19990121, W3C Recommendation, 21 January 1999. The authors include David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), Roy Platon (CCLRC), and Dieter Weidenbrück (ITEDO/IsoDraw). As part of the W3C Graphics Activity, the WebCGM Profile 'reflects cross-industry agreement on an interoperable way to exchange dynamic, hyperlinked Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web.' "Key industry players - members of CGM Open, W3C, or both - brought their expertise to the design of this profile: ArborText, Auto-trol Technologies, Aerospatiale, Bentley Systems, The Boeing Company, CCLRC, Inso Corporation, Intercap Graphics Systems, ITEDO/IsoDraw, Jeppesen Inc, Larson Software Technology, NIST, System Development Inc, Xerox Corporation, and Zeh Graphic Systems. The work was also supported by the European Commission's Esprit Project and undertaken in liaison with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24, the ISO working group which developed the CGM specification. The Recommendation provides a "formal specification of the content model of the CGM Version 4 functionality of WebCGM - the 'Intelligence' content. XML has been chosen as the specification language for the content model of the CGM, as validating parsers are widely available which could be adapted to perform content validation checking against WebCGM instances (either via modification of the readers, or via transformation of the intelligent content of WebCGM instance)." The WebCGM Profile also "allows hyperlinks within multiple pictures in a document, links to close-up views of parts of a picture, and links from CGM to an HTML document, including a frame in a frameset. Links can have multiple destinations - for example, the wing of an aircraft could link to structural diagrams, wiring schematics, test results and parts lists; [its hyperlinking] follows the W3C Xlink design principles and is conformant with the RFC 1738 and RFC 1808 specifications used for all URLs (Web addresses)." See also the testimonials for the W3C Recommendation.

[November 06, 1998] An updated version of the WebCGM Profile was submitted to the W3C (and announced on November 06, 1998) by The Boeing Company, the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Inso Corporation, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and Xerox Corporation. Principal authors of the document are David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), and Roy Platon (CCLRC). See below. [local archive copy]

[September 07, 1998] The World Wide Web Consortium acknowledged the submission of a NOTE on WebCGM, "WebCGM Profile -- A Web Profile of CGM." The submission comes jointly from The Boeing Company, Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Inso Corporation, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and Xerox Corporation. Authors are: David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), Roy Platon (CCLRC), and Dieter Weidenbrueck (ITEDO/IsoDraw). Abstract: "CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) has been an ISO standard for vector and composite vector/raster picture definition since 1987. It has been a registered MIME type since 1995. CGM has a significant following in technical illustration, electronic documentation, geophysical data visualization, amongst other application areas. WebCGM is a profile for the effective application of CGM in Web electronic documents. WebCGM has been a joint effort of the CGM Open Consortium, of which a number of we submitters are active members and contributors, in collaboration with W3C staff under the W3C-LA project. It represents an important interoperability agreement amongst major users and implementors of CGM, and thereby unifies current diverse approaches to CGM utilization in Web document applications. WebCGM's clear and unambiguous conformance requirements will enhance interoperability of implementations, and it should be possible to leverage existing CGM validation tools, test suites, and the product certification testing services for application to WebCGM. While WebCGM is a binary file format and is not "stylable", nevertheless WebCGM follows published W3C requirements for a scalable graphics format where such are applicable. The design criteria for the graphical content of WebCGM aimed at a balance between graphical expressive power on the one hand, and simplicity and implementability on the other. A small but powerful set of metadata elements is standardized in WebCGM, to support the functionalities of: hyperlinking and document navigation; picture structuring and layering; and, search and query on WebCGM picture content." As clarified in the Comment on WebCGM Submission by Chris Lilley, "This submission does not define a new format, but improves interoperability between implementations of an existing format." [WebCGM docs package]


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[CR: 20020708] [Table of Contents]

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