ETD Guide/Students/Writing directly in SGML\XML

The desired situation for retrieving archivable ETDs would be the one, that authors write in an XML- editor, according to a Main-DTD, and choose those parts of the DTD, that are inevitable for their thesis or dissertation.

Some desktop publishing systems today provide an opportunity to save as SGML or XML. Investigations as to whether those tools are usable for such complex documents as a thesis or a dissertation led to the following conclusion:

  • Writing in WordPerfect or FrameMaker+SGML enforces the author to learn new writing habits. While writing, they have to think about the structure of their documents, e.g., which part is a heading, which part is a definition list; or they have to think to add certain parts immediately to the document, like, references, table and figure captions, etc.
  • While writing according to a specified DTD, the desktop publishing system often internally checks syntax correctness by using an XML parser. Some of those internal parsers are still not stable enough and may cause the system to crash, as experienced with WordPerfect 9.0. Those parsing procedures in between the active scientific thinking and writing often disturbs the authors.
  • Most of the pure XML editors could not produce an appropriate and layouted printed copy or PDF file that would satisfy the approval of readers of the printed version of a document. Some of those editors simply fail to process large and complex documents.
  • Most of the tools are not ready yet, especially in a sense that would allow to use user or domain specific DTDs. Staroffice and other tools support their own vendor specific DTD only.

Although the world of desktop publishing systems is actually changing, there are still too few tools that are sufficient in:

  • The support and appearance of their graphical user interface,
  • The provision of a certain amount of features normal word processors have, like automated numbering, colors, table management, link management, style sheets.
  • The platform independence or cross-platform availability,
  • The support of user specific DTDs, and standard DTDs, like TEI, Docbook, etc.,
  • The export quality of produced XML: tables, tags,
  • The stability of usage,
  • Their commercial availability and price.

The following systems are able to export into SGML or XML:

Export with user specific DTD

Export with system specific (vendor) DTD

Conversion Tools

(More information about SGML/XML tools can be found at:

Next Section: Preparing a PDF document