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Last modified: July 15, 1998
News from the SGML '93 Conference

News from the SGML '93 Conferenec

This document (now primarily of historical interest) was originally mirrored from: It is probably also still available on the Exeter FTP server.

To: *cals
From: young
Posted: Dec 19 00:29 EST (Dec 19 05:29 ZULU)
Subject: News from SGML '93

Yuri Rubinsky, the conference chair of SGML '93, put together this
collection of information, along with Tommie Usdin, and they both
delivered the info at the conference like a news broadcast.  It was
quite amusing, very quick, and very informative.  From it, you can see
just how broad the use of SGML is, beyond the military's application via
28001.  I got it from comp.text.sgml.



Date: 15 Dec 1993 16:18:23 +0000
From: "Yuri Rubinsky" <>
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada
Message-ID: <>
Keywords: SGML, ISO 8879, applications, news
Summary: recap of major or interesting SGML initiatives and implementations
Subject: The SGML Year in Review for 1993 [long]

The SGML Year in Review -- 1993

by Tommie Usdin, Atlis Consulting Group and Yuri Rubinsky, SoftQuad Inc

being the text of a speech given at the GCA SGML '93 Conference
December 6, 1993 -- Boston, Massachusetts, USA

(c) Copyright 1993 by Tommie Usdin and Yuri Rubinsky
This document may be reproduced in whole or in part provided that
this copyright notice is reproduced on each copy made.

As always, we begin this article with a disclaimer: This is a highly
personal whirlwind tour of SGML activities in the last year and includes
only things we've heard about.  Thanks to all the individuals who
contributed to this document, either through the Internet, or at the SGML
'93 Conference.  Please note that unlike previous year's reports, this one
does not include vendors' announcements of new products.

1. Standards Activity

        The SGML review produced its first interim report in May, which was
        published in <TAG>.  In addition to reiterating the principle for
        future development -- which guarantees that existing SGML documents
        will continue to conform -- the report indicated that the review
        has progressed sufficiently that participants were comfortable
        indicating that they know that changes will be required to SGML.
        The group has included an arbitrary non-representation sampling of
        requirements in the report.  It is important to re-state that this
        activity is NOT the five-year review.  That traditional ISO routine
        event was passed some time ago; The creators of SGML continue to
        meet with the SGML user community to consider future development
        based on present and anticipated uses.

        HyTime, whose formal adoption as an International Standard was
        announced as the kickoff item in the 1992 Year in Review is gaining
        momentum in a variety of places.  IBM is incorporating HyTime
        structures into its IBMIDDOC DTD (which we'll hear about later in
        this talk); TechnoTeacher demonstrated some of the capabilities of
        its HyTime engine a few weeks ago at CALS Expo and will be
        releasing product in the first half of next year.  And it seems at
        least three HyTime books are heading towards publication.  Yuan-Ze
        Institute of Technology and IBM Research have announced the
        formation of Project YAO, an international consortium for the
        production of free SGML system software.  The consortium's first
        products are Object SGML, a C++ class library for SGML parsing with
        native HyTime support, and POEM, a Portable Object-oriented Entity
        Manager.  The products are currently in alpha test and shipment is
        expected in the first quarter of 1994.

        Sharon Adler reports that the second draft of DSSSL will be out by
        the end of January and will consist of three levels of complexity
        and conformance.  It is expected that vendors will be able to move
        quite quickly to the first level, which is effectively equivalent
        to the screen and print display capabilities of most SGML authoring
        and browsing tools.  The 2nd level will offer full compatibility
        with FOSIs, but, in Sharon's words, "will be better."  The 3rd
        level will support arbitrarily complex specifications.

ISO 12083
        This week marks the formal announcement of ISO 12083, the
        much-enhanced and internationalized version of the ANSI/NISO
        standard Z39.59-1988, the American National Standard for Electronic
        Manuscript Preparation and Markup (also known as the AAP DTD).  The
        ISO standard differs from the ANSI standard in that all
        ambiguities, redundancies and formatting specific aspects of the
        original have been removed, element and attribute names and values
        have generally been lengthened for increased legibility (within the
        limits set by the Reference Concrete Syntax), and simple HyTime and
        ICADD constructs -- see separate item below -- have been
        incorporated into the DTDs.

Standard Page Description Language
        Dr James Mason, convenor of ISO activity in SGML and related
        standards, reports that the SPDL now has the authorization to go to
        press; the committee is ironing out the small details.

2. User Group Activity

        The Swedish SGML UG got off to a flying start in August 1993.  A
        day with Eric van Herwijnen, several Swedish vendors and SGML
        pioneers attracted nearly 200 attendees/members.

Northern California
        The first meeting of the Northern California SGML UG was held
        recently at Silicon Graphics in Mountain View, Calif.

        The Japanese SGML Forum sponsored SGML Show '93 for the public and
        attracted an audience of 400 for product introductions, an
        advanced-user lecture, and product demonstrations.  Participating
        companies (in alphabetical order) included: Aldus, Electronic Book
        Technologies, Fujitsu, Interleaf, Nihon Unitec, and Nissho Iwai.

        The French SGML UG began in December 1992 in Paris.  The President
        is Michel Biezunski.  More than 35 people took part and included
        many people interested in implementing SGML as well as vendors.
        The plan is to organize four events each year dedicated to specific
        themes, such as one day of user experiences.

        The first chapter located in the Middle East is the Israeli Chapter
        which is being organized by Nary Ratberg in Tel Aviv.

        Erik Naggum has succeeded Steve Newcomb as Chairman of the SGML
        SIGhyper group, the long name of which is "the SGML Users' Group's
        Special Interest Group on Hypertext and Multimedia."

        Graham Tritt reports that a successful annual meeting of the SGML
        Users Group Switzerland was held in November, with attendance of
        35, in his words, most still in the "interest" or "evaluation"

3. Major Public Initiatives

        SGML Open, the consortium of vendors and users, was founded this
        year to undertake both technical and marketing activities.  With
        nearly 40 members, the group is rapidly moving to propose
        techniques to support multi-vendor interoperability beyond SGML
        itself.  Meetings at the end of SGML '93 resulted in the creation
        (and beginning activity) of working committees to deal with
        creation of marketing materials and specifications for common
        support for entity management and handling.

        Following recent meetings at the ACM Hypertext Conference in
        Seattle and between the Worldwide Web and TEI communities in Cork,
        Ireland, renewed and vigorous interest is being shown in creating a
        "seriously useful" DTD for the online browsers for the WWW.  An ad
        hoc from the ACM meeting has presented a proposed update to HTML
        and Dave Raggett of Hewlett Packard (who created HTML) is working
        on revision 2, which is known as HTMLplus.

        A joint committee of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and
        the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) continue
        to work on a device-independent file format for news service data
        transmission based on SGML.  This standard, called the Universal
        Text Format, was drafted last year and known then as the NIML, or
        News Industry Markup Language.  UTF is intended to be used in
        conjunction with the International Interchange Model, adopted
        several years ago by the NAA and IPTC.  Most major news services in
        North America, Western Europe and Japan are involved, along with a
        number of large US newspapers.  The working group currently is
        refining the UTF proposal to incorporate a DTD for news service
        files.  The goal is to submit the standard for approval next summer
        to the parent organizations.

        The Text Encoding Initiative reports that all major base tagsets
        and several additional publications, without the "Draft" status,
        are due shortly.

Pinnacles Group
        The Electronic Component Industry group takes a giant `baby step'
        toward standardization of product information interchange.  The
        Pinnacles Group, consisting of Hitachi, Intel, National
        Semiconductor, Philips Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments, last
        week (12/2/93) completed the document analysis and architectural
        phase of this effort.  DTDs for review are expected in February

International Committee for Accessible Document Design
        Last year, Texas passed legislation which specified SGML and the
        ICADD tagset as the favored encoding for mandatory delivery of all
        textbooks which have been adopted by the state education
        authorities.  The electronic files are to be used to create
        Braille, large print and synthesized voice versions of the
        textbooks for use by the print-disabled.  Eighteen other states
        have passed similar legislation and are expected to upgrade their
        legislation to match that of Texas.  Exoterica has announced that
        it will make available an ICADD application--for free -- which will
        transform any file marked up according to an ICADD-enabled DTD into
        the recommended tagset.  Berger-Levrault/AIS has announced the
        availability of similar support in its Balise software.

Davenport Group
        The Davenport Group discovered that it had at least two
        crash-priority agendas that were competing for the attention of its
        participants, and so it splintered quite amicably into two groups.
        The group that kept the name "Davenport" continues to work on the
        "DocBook" DTD, in collaboration with the Unix International DocSIG,
        which is expected to allow the documentation of Unix (and
        Unix-like) software documentation to be entirely portable.

        The other Davenport successor group continues to work on the
        development of conventions for the use of HyTime.  This group now
        functions under the aegis of the Graphic Communications Association
        Research Institute, and it is called the "Conventions for the
        Application of HyTime" (or "CApH", an acronym which is pronounced
        like the first syllable of the word "caffeine").  The meta-DTD that
        used to be called "SOFABED" under the aegis of Davenport is now
        called "Topic Relationships" under CApH; it suggests ways of
        representing indexes and other navigational information using
        HyTime.  CApH is also developing conventions for using the HyTime
        "activity tracking" architectural forms to represent the wishes of
        information can be used, for example, after royalty payments,
        security clearances, etc.

        In Canada, a joint venture of government and industry was formed to
        promote the CALS vision without reference to the military domain.
        The conceptual framework for the initiative has been termed FUSION,
        an acronym that stands for the "Focused Use of Standards for
        Integrating Organizations and Networks."  The prototype
        applications currently under development deploy SGML as the central
        tool in managing shared information holdings.

New Drug Applications
        The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is skeptical that SGML
        will really work for New Drug Applications (NDAs), so a small group
        headed by the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) has built a
        demonstration Computer Aided New Drug Application (CANDA) using
        real drug content.  The FDA has agreed to "look at it" and in fact
        has people in attendance at this conference.  Many pharmaceutical
        companies have decided they can't wait, so they're implementing
        SGML on their own.

Common Desktop Environment (CDE)
        The help system that will be distributed with CDE Unix systems from
        six major vendors is based on a SGML file format called SDA.

        The US Securities and Exchange Commission is now accepting
        corporate filings in SGML as part of its long-awaited second phase
        EDGAR -- Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval -- project.  By
        1995, all public corporations in America will be expected to file
        their financial disclosure information this way.  Sadly, the DTD is
        very limited and shows how the politics of trying to please
        absolutely everybody can play havoc with good application design.

Air Transport Association/Aerospace Industries Association
        In the ATA world, British Airways reports that it will provide an
        SGML solution to handle SGML aircraft maintenance and operational
        manuals.  Phase I is for introduction into British Airways of the
        Boeing 777 in March 95.  The German Lufthansa Airlines has released
        to field-usage an SGML-based central document management system
        using ATA DTDs.  The system, which supports any DTD, is named
        DocMaint and will be marketed by STEP who developed the system.
        Pratt & Whitney is implementing a system to deliver technical
        publications in SGML for use in the commercial aviation industry.
        The first publication will be available in 1994 for the engine
        being developed for the Boeing 777 Aircraft.  Aerospatiale, through
        the Airbus consortium, began this year to deliver SGML-coded
        maintenance and operations manuals to their customers on a routine
        basis.  The Electronic Library System, in which SGML and associated
        standards will play a major role, was launched, with an initial
        focus on its ground-based component.  Boeing itself has developed
        an indexing system for Service Bulletins using tagged Service
        Bulletins and created dynamically.  This leads to very user
        friendly search and navigation path to get to the desired bulletin.
        The system was developed under Unix and the materials are
        downloaded to PC machines.

4. Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Press Coverage

        1. North American coverage of SGML in the mainstream computer press
        continues to grow rapidly.  Articles have appeared in PC Magazine,
        PC Week, MacWeek, Personal Computing, Washington Technology Week,
        and Forbes Magazine, among others.

        2. The Taiwanese November issue of BYTE includes a piece by Charles
        Goldfarb on HyTime.

        3. In a highly-directed public relations misfire, SGML was
        mentioned on radio in Birmingham, Ala., twice and Bakersfield,
        Calif., once by David Silverman of DCL. David reports that no new
        business was received as a result of this strategic promotional

Prentice Hall
        Prentice Hall has announced the formation of a new series of books
        and multimedia publications: "The Charles F. Goldfarb Series on
        Open Information Management."  The series will support the
        development and deployment of information management solutions
        based on open standards such as SGML and HyTime.  Initial titles
        will address document type design methodology, the benefits of
        SGML-based information management solutions, the development of
        SGML applications, and the HyTime standard for hypermedia
        application development.  Under Dr. Goldfarb's guidance, the series
        will be geared to information specialists, engineers, IS managers,
        systems programmers, and other computer and publishing
        professionals seeking to implement open information management

Kluwer Academic Publishers
        Kluwer Academic Publishers are announcing the Spring 1994
        publication of "Making Hypermedia Work: A User's Guide to HyTime"
        by Steve DeRose of Electronic Book Technologies Inc.  and David
        Durand of Boston University.  "Making Hypermedia Work" is a user's
        handbook for representing hypertextual information in SGML.  The
        book fully describes the most useful parts of HyTime while
        providing design guidelines to help users avoid pitfalls and build
        effective documents for hypertext and multimedia systems.

Also from Kluwer
        Eric van Herwijnen's book "Practical SGML" has gone through ten
        printings, and the second edition will be available in February
        1994.  During the last year an Electronic Book (DynaText
        application) version appeared with an SGML parser so you can parse
        the examples.

Manager's Guide from VNR
        Responding to the fact that the interest in SGML far outpaces the
        understanding of SGML, and that the lack of an accurate,
        non-technical explanation remains a major impediment to its
        wide-scale adoption, Van Nostrand Reinhold has contracted to
        publish a manager's guide to SGML.  The book is in progress and
        scheduled for publication in the fall of 1994.  This book is the
        first in a series of books on SGML by VNR and will be followed by
        books on DTD writing and other technical subjects.

STC News
        The Society for Technical Communication devoted special sections in
        two consecutive issues of the quarterly journal "Technical
        Communication" to a series of eight articles on SGML from a
        beginners' tutorial to case studies to an overview of tools.

More Milestones
        The SGML Handbook just reached a milestone 3000 copies sold and is
        back to press for its third printing.  Martin Bryan's Author's
        Guide to SGML is back for its sixth trip to the presses with 7500
        copies in print.  SoftQuad is pleased to anounce that the "SGML
        Primer", its thirty-six page introduction to SGML, is now in its
        sixth printing with 3400 copies distributed to date.

The Compleat SGML
        Exoterica released "The Compleat SGML" in August, 1993.  This
        hypertext for Microsoft Windows links the SGML standard with 2348
        SGML test documents.  The SGML documents are created in accordance
        with ANSI's Conformance Testing for SGML Systems standard and serve
        to provide detailed illustration of the points being made in the
        standard.  It also includes annotations that clarify some of the
        more esoteric areas of the standard.  In all, the hypertext links
        numbers in the hundreds of thousands.  Exoterica will also release
        "The SGML Conformace Test Suite" in January.  The SCTS provides the
        test documents from "The Compleat SGML" in extractable form with a
        database extraction tool.  Both the National Computing Center in
        England and the National Institute for Standards and Technology
        have expressed interest in using the Exoterica Conformance Test
        Suite for SGML testing.

Kimber on HyQ
        Eliot Kimber has written a reference guide to the all-purpose "HyQ"
        SGML query language that forms part of the HyTime international
        standard.  This publication is available free via anonymous FTP
        from either of the two SIGhyper FTP sites (at the University of
        Oslo in Norway and at Florida State University in Tallahassee).

5. Government and Corporate Initiatives

Library of Congress
        The American Memory Project of the Library of Congress is using
        SGML to create a text base of historical materials on subjects such
        as Women's Suffrage, the history of American Theatre, and
        abolitionism in the US.

University of Chicago Press
        University of Chicago Press is implementing systems for translation
        to SGML, on-line editing in SGML, and output to typesetting and for
        electronic journals.  The first implementation will be for the
        Astrophysical Journal.

        The Information Development group within IBM is developing an
        internal SGML-conforming system to support the creation,
        management, and production of all IBM product documentation for all
        media types and delivery methods, using a single, comprehensive
        SGML application called IBMIDDOC.

OCLC and Information Dimensions Inc.
        OCLC and its subsidiary, Information Dimensions, Inc., (IDI) have
        been selected to develop an electronic publishing system for ACM
        (the Association for Computing Machinery).  The OCLC/IDI in-house
        electronic publishing system will integrate the various ACM
        publishing functions into a unified, automated system that will
        encompass the writing, editing, composition, production, archiving,
        and, eventually, distribution of documents and publications.  ACM
        publishes an estimated 40,000 pages per year, including books,
        journals, conference proceedings, and internal publications.

British National Corpus
        British National Corpus, a UK government funded academic/industrial
        consortium is developing a 100 million word corpus of modem English
        for use in lexicography and linguistic research.  Due for
        completition in April 1994, this corpus is marked up in SGML,
        including part of speech codes and will be freely available for
        research purposes, together with a high performance SGML-aware
        browser/indexer developed for the project.

Springer Verlag
        Springer Verlag is currently processing more than 50 journals using
        SGML.  In 1994 the number of journals will be expanded to 150.

        Brockhaus, the German Encyclopaedia and dictionary publisher,
        recently went into production with an SGML-based editorial sysem.

US Government Printing Office
        Document analysis is in progress to place the Federal Register
        on-line as the GPO continues to publish on paper.  GPO's
        typesetting programs will be made to recognize SGML codes as well
        as its own set of codes that are strictly procedural.  The existing
        DTD for the Congressional Record on CD-ROM is now being used to
        create a database for daily retrieval on bulletin board as well as
        the printed document.  CD-ROM may follow later.

        Uniscope has developed the Japanese Academic DTD for publishing
        Japanese Academic Information on-line as a full-text database of

US Patent and Trademark Office
        The US Patent and Trademark Office (of the Department of Commerce),
        in cooperation with its Trilateral Partners (European Patent Office
        and Japanese Patent Office) in creating a new, proposed revision of
        World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) Standard 32, specifying a
        list of tags and providing a DTD and instructions for the use of
        those tags in electronic exchange of SGML-coded patent and
        trademark data.  The Trilateral partners are also expecting final
        delivery early in 1994 of jointly developed SGML-based CD-ROM
        authoring, retrieval, display, and printing software for mixed-mode
        (text and images, on-the-fly page construction) patent and
        trademark data.  The The US Patent and Trademark Office is planning
        the conversion of its internal systems for electronic application,
        document markup, on-line database, document printing, CD-ROM
        production, and dissemination systems to SGML-based text and image

European Patent Office
        The European Patent Office scans, OCRs, tags, and publishes over a
        million pages of patent applications a year.

6. Miscellaneous

        As a demonstration of the power of information structures to
        organize the brain, this year's Miscellaneous section is broken
        down into three sub-sections:

A) Miscellaneous Vendors

        Although we're not doing a section of vendor announcements this
        year -- This area had a separate slot at the SGML '93 Conference --
        several major players in the non-SGML world made announcements that
        have an impact on the SGML world.  These are Adobe, Lotus, and

Adobe and Avalanche
        Adobe has announced a technology licensing agreement with Avalanche
        for Avalanche to write code that will ship in an Adobe publishing
        product.  The software will support the importation of SGML and
        other application file formats into structured Acrobat PDF
        (Portable Document Format) files.  Acrobat will use the document
        structure for full text retrieval and the generation of hypertext
        links based on the structure.  A further goal is to be able to
        extract an SGML file from the structured PDF file that is
        equivalent to the original SGML file.

        Lotus Development Corporation indicated at the Seybold conference
        two months ago that it is "committed to providing an integrated
        SGML solution for a future release of AmiPro".

        Late in October everybody's favorite multi-national software
        conglomerate posted a long document to Compuserve entitled
        "Microsoft Word and the SGML Standard" and announcing a product
        called "SGML Author", an add-on to Word comprising a converter
        (which is end-user focused) and a separate mapping application
        geared to a systems person.  The product is planned for commercial
        availability in the first half of 1994.

B) Miscellaneous Projects

University of California at Los Angeles
        InfoUCLA, UCLA's campus-wide information system, has adopted SGML
        to meet the diverse information needs of its community.  Everything
        from the schedule of classes, campus calendar, and grant
        opportunities to press releases and policies are being converted to
        SGML for electronic publication to multiple distribution platforms
        including the World Wide Web and ICADD.  In their words, "InfoUCLA
        is using SGML to support local campus diversity through
        international standards."

        The IEEE is completing a suite of DTDs for IEEE standards and
        moving into a demo phase.  The IEEE will be becoming an Internet
        site.  It is now putting up anonymous FTP and is debating (as so
        many people are) how to charge for publishing electronically.

Medieval SGML
        Medieval court protocols for the city of Stockholm are being
        marked-up in SGML.  These historical documents will then be
        available for the benefit of historians, researches and dessimated
        electronically in museums using SGML DARC.

Oxford Text Archive
        The Oxford Text Archive reports that its conversion of standards
        literary works to TEI-conformant SGML is continuing.  About 100
        titles now are available including complete novels of Trollope,
        Twain, Bram Stoker, Jefferson, Henry James, Conan Doyle, etc.
        Files are available by anonymous FTP with the admirable policy that
        "we don't put anything up for FTP unless it's been marked up in

        The 1994 Cinemania is now in stores.  Microsoft benefited from the
        SGML production techniques used in creating the first version in
        that they didn't need to create any new hypertext links into the
        new data.

American Chemical Society
        ACS is now updating their journals DTD with intent to make online
        and CD-ROM journal delivery.

World Congress on Expert Systems
        In the category of "most far flung SGML contributions", the World
        Congress on Expert Systems simultaneously delivered a CD-ROM of its
        proceedings and both hard cover and paperback print versions
        including 210 submitted papers.  All this was produced from
        diskettes of text with SGML markup from a total of 35 countries!

University of Norway
        The University of Norway in Bergen is converting their collection
        of Norwegian songs to SGML, for easy translation into ASCII, HTML,
        and LaTex.  The database is primarily text but there are chords
        included for a lot of songs, and the melodies for some.  A
        preliminary version of the server has been set up.

Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
        The critical text edition of Swedish author August Strindberg's
        collected works are being marked-up in SGML.

News from France
        Bureau Veritas (Marine Branch), the French ship classification
        company, has adopted SGML and began retrofit of their regulations
        database to SGML, including an impressive proportion of SGML-coded
        math and tables.  CD-ROM publishing of this database is expected in
        1994, and a DynaText prototype was recently presented.  INSEE, the
        French National Institute for Economic Statistics and Studies, is
        currently exploring SGML technology and expect to apply it to a
        large number of their publications.  The PSA group (Peugot and
        Citroen) are confirming their move towards the generation of SGML
        for creation, management and paper-based or electronic publishing
        of car maintenance documentation.  Electricite de France is
        confirming their choice of SGML as the strategic technology to
        create and maintain documentation.  In the R&D division, a new
        project of building a HyTime-based multimedia server was launched.
        Several publishers of reference materials are moving to SGML.
        Flammarion used SGML to create the Dictionnaire de Geopolitique,
        which, because of the use of SGML, will be published on CD-ROM just
        after the first printing.  In this case, the main incentive for
        using SGML for this new project was the expected high annual rate
        of changes in this text database ...  In the words of Francois
        Chahuneau of AIS, "Political geography tends to be redefined quite
        often these days!"

The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV)
        FMV is in the process of developing a Base DTD for all technical
        information (i.e., text, illustrations, schemas, etc., constituting
        the information needed to operate and maintain a materiel system).
        The DTD is to apply to any materiel system ranging from tanks,
        fighters, to submarines, radios, radars, trucks, etc.  The Base DTD
        will be modularized, and based on functional content coding.  The
        goal is to provide SGML-coded text (and references to graphics) in
        small modules that can be collected and presented in different ways
        for different purposes, on demand.

News from Australia
        The Australian Department of Defence has just closed a Request for
        Quotation for consultants to develop an Australian variant of
        MIL-M-28001 and companions such as OS and FOSI.  This version will
        describe Administration as well as Technical manuals.  Legislation
        from State governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South
        Australia is in various stages of being made available
        electronically.  These projects all involve SGML.  Australia's
        largest SGML project to date, the Australian Tax Office's IRIS
        Project, moved into use from prototype earlier this year.  The
        challenge for the project now is to populate the data base.  The
        Australian Stock Exchange is piloting the use of SGML in delivering
        company data -- a 200mb text database.  One of Australia's foremost
        Information Research Institutes is due to release an SGML-aware
        database in conjunction with a major system integrator in the very
        near future.  The Commonwealth Attorney General is redeveloping
        their data base of legislation and case law; the likely technology
        for this will be SGML.

News from Taiwan
        The Research Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC), a
        government agency responsible for directing and facilitating the
        standardization and computerization of government operations, has
        promulgated 25 standard forms for official documents.  Earlier this
        year RDEC has also designated SGML as a preferred standard for
        document interchange.  In response, Yaun-Ze Institute of Technology
        developed a common tag set, 25 DTDs and some public entities for
        RDEC's adoption.

        The CJK Document Processing Meeting, an Ad Hoc SWG of WG8,
        initiated project SPREAD (Standardizaton Project Regarding
        East-Asian Documents) last year.  SPREAD consists of 4 multilingual
        working projects on DTD, linguistics, fonts and hypermedia.  Taiwan
        is responsible for those on DTD and linguistics.  Final reports are
        due in May 1994.

        Yuan-Ze Institute of Technology initiated a joint project with IBM,
        Naggum Software and TechnoTeacher to develop an ObjectSGML/HyTime
        Parser and Portable Object-oriented Entity Manager (POEM) for
        public use free of charge.  (See top of this article.)

        The SGML Consortium of 11 vendors in Taiwan and led by Yaun-Ze
        Institute of Technology has released a product called the
        SGML-document Preparation and Applications Development Environment
        (SPADE), which consists of SGML kernel API, DTD-directed editor,
        DTD and SGML validators, formatter and other utilities, all with
        Chinese language capabilities.  Future efforts of the consortium
        will be in the development of market-driven SGML applications.

C) Miscellaneous Miscellaneous

ACM Hypertext Conference
        In the category of creeping SGMLishness, the ACM's Hypertext
        Conference was practically overrun last month in Seattle with 5 out
        of its 24 courses related to SGML.  Even a course on IETMs and the
        Content Data Model had 40 people in it.

Largest SGML Document
        David Peterson reports that, as far as he knows, the world's
        largest SGML document remains the US Defense Logistics Agency's
        Internal Catalog of Medical Supplies.  Published quarterly, the
        catalog includes more than 3 gigabytes of SGML text -- plus

O'Reilly & Associates and Harvard University
        A new mail list called has been established to
        address the problem of making published books available to the
        blind in electronic form.  O'Reilly & Associates and Harvard
        University met to gain practical experience in addressing these
        issues by providing digital documentation to Harvard students and
        staff.  Outside experts are involved by invitation, and the scope
        will be expanded to address peripheral and broader issues as
        initial problems are solved.  Lar Kaufman reports, "We are
        carefully limiting our scope to ensure that we cope with immediate
        issues before expanding oour range of activities and broadening

Cal Poly University, California
        Future publishing managers are now learning about SGML, thanks to
        industry support to Cal Poly University at San Luis Obispo.  The
        Graphic Communications Department is one of the largest printing
        management degree programs in the country.  Brian Travis -- a
        graduate of the program -- has spearheaded this effort, with
        support from Exoterica, SoftQuad, Information Architects, and the
        GCA.  Brian has developed a hands-on laboratory project which gives
        these future managers direct experience working with SGML and SGML

First Ever SGML Summer Holiday
        The first French SGML Summer School was organized by BL/AIS, AFNOR
        and ADHARA in Vittel for a week at the end of June.  Thirty-five
        participants received an intensive mix of theoretical and practical

Data Conversion Laboratory
        Data Conversion Laboratory tells us that it this year converted its
        100 billionth character.  SGML constitutes 80% of DCL's current

Joan Smith
        Joan Smith, often referred to as the godmother of SGML, has retired
        this year.  Joan founded and led the SGML Users' Group until 1990.
        She also founded and led the CALS in Europe Special Interest Group.
        Her latest book, "SGML and Related Standards", is published in the
        UK by Ellis Horwood and distributed in North America by Simon &
        Shuster (and the GCA).  We wish Joan a long and leisurely
        retirement and express our thanks to her for all her help and
        efforts throughout the years.

        As of early November, the estimated readership of comp.text.sgml
        newsgroup was 36,000 people, up 4,000 from October.  78% of the
        USENET community receives the newsgroup on their system, and can
        read it if they want to.  In October, 178 messages comprising 495K
        were posted to the newsgroup.  Only 2% of the articles are
        crossposted to other newsgroups which indicates a continued and
        specific need for the newsgroup, although only 1% of the total
        USENET readership reads it.  No one has yet determined whether you
        can trust newsgroup readership statistics, but whatever they mean,
        comp.text.sgml is showing steady growth.

SGML Multi-media from IBM and Playboy!
        In the realm of non context-sensitive projects, all the Playboy
        Magazine issues from 1962-92 are available on a CD-ROM produced by
        IBM Multi-media Lab for release soon and "unveiled" yesterday at
        the OmniMark User Group meeting.  Some of the interviews include
        animation and audio.  I think it's fair to say that no one would
        have predicted Playboy Magazine moving to SGML.

And on that unusual note, we conclude this year's broadcast.  Now the

Yuri Rubinsky                           +1 416 239-4801
Chairman, SGML '93                      (800) 387-2777 (from US only)
President, SoftQuad Inc.                uucp: {uunet,utzoo}!sq!yuri
Suite 810  56 Aberfoyle Crescent        Internet:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M8X 2W4        Fax: +1 416 239-7105

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OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards

Sponsored By

IBM Corporation
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Microsoft Corporation
Oracle Corporation


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