RE: support for 'macro' formatting languages

Subject: RE: support for 'macro' formatting languages
From: Norman Gray <norman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 17:28:12 +0000 (GMT)

On Wed, 15 Dec 1999, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:

> Wroth, Mark writes:
>  > ability to switch publishers).  Is there a generally published DTD suitable
>  > for scientific papers?  
> well, my late employer Elsevier Science has a full DTD publicly available, as 
> do Kluwer. Or you can add MathML to Docbook or TEI relatively easily
> if you want to go XML. 

I don't think it's as easy as that.  Designing a DTD for the overall
structure of scientific papers wouldn't be too hard, but is only a
small part of the issue.  The killer is how you write the maths, and
I can't think of any SGML-only solution to that.

MathML is not the answer; it's not writable by hand (neither variant).
An equation-editor isn't the answer to that, either; they're usable
only by folk who don't habitually write maths.  One possible solution
(which I've used successfully) is to have the maths elements in your
Paper DTD declared as having LaTeX notation.  As folk will know, LaTeX
is hard to parse, so this solution has its limitation, but what too
many folk don't appreciate keenly enough is that LaTeX maths is easy
to write, and that there's a lot of folk who don't give a damn about
computers/markup/reusability who do know how to write it.

I know that this argument has gone round and round, and shows no sign
of even slowing down.  I am an SGML evangelist, but I know that I
would have to abandon any publisher that demanded I submit maths in
anything other than LaTeX.

All the best,

[there are one or two teensy exaggerations in this post -- can you
spot them all?]

Norman Gray              
Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK     norman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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