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Adding Semantics to SGML Databases

Technical writers who must maintain complex, delicately interconnected information often look to object-oriented SGML databases as a way of storing, retrieving, reusing, and reassembling the constituent objects of new documents, created on the fly to respond to a particular customer’s needs. The SGML tags help identify structural packages such as procedures, illustrations, or glossary items; in a large database, then, writers can filter out unwanted material, locating only the structural pieces they need for the job in hand. For instance, to produce a quick reference, a writer might pull up the names of procedures and their steps, but not the introductions or explanations. Similarly, a user could search for illustrations only. But illustrations of what? With no subject matter defined, such searches result in hundreds, even tens of thousands of hits. To speed up access to the precise passages wanted, end users and writers need a way to narrow their searches by defining the precise subject matter (the meaning, or semantics) as well as the structural elements they seek.

Mazumdar, Subhasish, Weifeng Bao, Zhengang Yuan and Jonathan R. Price. Communication Circle, The (1998). Design>Information Design>SGML>Semantic