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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0306  Tuesday, 20 May 2008

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Subject: 	XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

In the previous digest -- SHK 19.0305 A Problem of Access -- Michael 
Best makes a plea for the use of XML (eXtensible Markup Language) as a 
means of responding to the "threat that future changes in technology 
will render earlier forms of electronic data" because XML is "a format 
that will be reliably modified to work on any future system." Michael 
then goes on by noting the following:

"We use the standard XML (eXtensible Markup Language) because its 
structure includes information on what the encoding means as well as the 
encoding itself. In Gabriel Egan's phrase, the files are "self- 
descriptive." Thus, future computers and future software may need 
different instructions in order to display the texts correctly, but all 
that will need to be changed will be the process, not the basic texts 
themselves. Changing the process will of course cost money in 
programming time, so we will just have to put the same kind of effort 
into keeping the e-texts current as we do into keeping libraries at a 
constant temperature."

Michael's observation raises a number of questions.

I current use Office 2007, whose default standard is now a version of 
XML; however, I have set my option to save files in the Office 2003 
standard for capability with other users (for example, I use "*.doc" 
rather than "*.docx).

One of my reasons has to do with my experience with Microsoft's version 
of HTML. When I save a document using "Save as HTML" I generally have a 
great deal of extraneous code that Microsoft includes that I need to 
remove to have a clean HTML document. So my first question is do Office 
2007's files in XML save to "a format that will be reliably modified to 
work on any future system"? In other words, is there the same problem 
with Microsoft's XML standard as there is with its HTML standard?

My second question is to Michael: How are files for the Internet 
Shakespeare Editions encoded into XML? Are they encoded manually or do 
you use a program to perform the encoding? And if so, what is that 
program or what is the process?


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