Electronic Publishing. State of The Art Report by R. Williamson

By R. Williamson

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A major non-technical feature of TRANSDOC was a voluntary, collective agreement by publishers to release the copyright for the full text of the journal articles. This was arranged through the specially-created French Copyright Centre, with the strong support of STM, the international association for scientific, technical and medical journal publishers. Despite this backing, 30 of the 80 publishers approached decided not to participate. The reasons were due partly to a lack of interest and partly to the difficulty of explaining the potential advantages of the test.

It was evident as early as 1980 that studies and seminars would not suffice to ensure progress in any particular technological direction. In order to encourage some gradual progress, the CEC called, in November 1982, for proposals for market tests or experiments in electronic document delivery and electronic publishing (MAS12). Ten proposals were selected from the 57 received and all started in early 1984. They are all cooperative projects and involved the collaboration of 14 publishing organisations, nine of them from the profit sector, seven commercial on-line host operators and up to 40 different software houses, equipment suppliers and others.

The ability to specify the graphical two-dimensional structure of mathematical formulae by means of linearised language gives an opportunity to build a dictionary where the formulae can be loaded, manipulated and accessed as ordinary text strings. Items logically related may be retrieved and eventually printed after being processed by the TEX system so that the pictorial representation of the formulae is reproduced. The proposed structure may be interfaced in order to index and access a document collection of scientific texts assuming TEX as the standard composition system.

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