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Re: Multi lingual glossary or dictionary DTD

  • From: "Liam R. E. Quin" <liamquin@i...>
  • To: xml-dev@X...
  • Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 20:31:02 -0400 (EDT)

dictionary dtd
Eric van der Vlist <vdv@d...> wrote:
> We'd like to publish a bi-lingual glossary for <XML>fr and we are
> looking for an existing DTD or schema to use.

I would suggest developing your own DTD.  If it is your own dictionary,
try to be as specific in element names as possible.  If it's someone
else's, be as specific as you can without error.  My 1996 paper
on "Suggestive Markup" may be of use, as might the Text Encoding
Initiative Guidelines.

I have seen some early French/English dictionaries marked up using
SGML (as this was before XML) -- Barrett's Alvaries (?) was one.

The Oxford University Press uses SGML internally for some of its
bilingual dictionaries, or used to. Maybe you could contact them.

Be warned that a complete DTD for a large and complex document is
a major undertaking.  Some of the hardest things to get right
in this sort of DTD are whitespace and punctuation, but deciding
whether a particular italic phrases is a "usage" or an "example"
can only be done in general bya lexicographer.  Once you have marked
up the dictionary, ask yourself what yuo want to do with it.
    Which words are borrowed from Spanish and do not have
    Italian counterparts?
needs a full and careful markup.
    Display things that were printed in italics in slanty letters,
    and put headwords in bold most of the time
is much easier and cheaper and for most people only slightly less useful.

For one dictionary project, I used a <dirt> element to encode all
the little spaces and punctuation that were scattered seemingly at
random over the etymologies like pigeons on St Paul's Cathedral.
Then I encoded the relationships between the terms, so that if you
ignoerd the <dirt> elements you could draw trees of the etymologies,
and do erasoning abuot them, and if you walked through the dirt you
could print the darned thing.

Most work in this area is done in quiet rooms behind locked doors,
because SGML adds so much value to a commercial dictionary project.

Of course, if you don't have a cottage on the Isle of Wight,
a quiet room with locked doors is a good substitute.



Liam Quin, Barefoot Computing, Toronto;  The barefoot programmer
liam at holoweb dot net;  co-author, The XML Specification Guide
Forthcoming: "The Open Source XML Database Toolkit", Wiley, 2000
Ankh on irc.sorcery.net, http://www.holoweb.net/~liam/

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