Re: Cougar DTD extra character entities

Jim Taylor (
Thu, 11 Jul 1996 15:34:28 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 15:34:28 -0800
From: Jim Taylor <>
Subject: Re: Cougar DTD extra character entities

Ian Young <> - 7/11/96 3:05 AM writes:
>Cougar Draft (10 Jul 1996) 
>|        "ISO 8879-1986//ENTITIES Added Latin 1//EN//HTML">
>| %ISOlat1;
>| <!--================ Entities for special symbols
>| <!ENTITY trade  CDATA "&#8482;" -- trade mark symbol     -->
>| <!ENTITY shy    CDATA "&#173;"  -- soft hyphen           -->
>| <!ENTITY thinsp CDATA "&#8201;" -- thin space            -->
>| <!ENTITY emsp   CDATA "&#8195;" -- em space              -->
>| <!ENTITY ensp   CDATA "&#8194;" -- en space              -->
>| <!ENTITY emdash CDATA "&#8212;" -- em dash               -->
>| <!ENTITY endash CDATA "&#8211;" -- en dash               -->
>Those last two bother me though: I thought the ISO 8879 names were
>mdash and ndash. Or is there no plan as such to keep rigidly to the
>8879 names throughout?

From ISO 8879:1986 Publishing Entities

<!ENTITY emsp   SDATA "[emsp  ]"--=em space-->
<!ENTITY ensp   SDATA "[ensp  ]"--=en space (1/2-em)-->
<!ENTITY mdash  SDATA "[mdash ]"--=em dash-->
<!ENTITY ndash  SDATA "[ndash ]"--=en dash-->

The fact that "em" and "en" are used for spaces but "m" and "n" are
used for dashes could be responsible for the confusion. In retrospect
it seems the authors of the SGML entities should have been more
consistent. (Does anyone know if they had a reason for doing it this

I also urge adoption of the ISO 8879 standard (though inconsistent)
entities. However, it occurs to me that Dave Ragget (or whoever's
responsible for the entities in the Cougar DTD) may have purposely
decided to deviate from ISO 8879 for consistency's sake.

Would it be possible for Dan or Dave to provide an authoritative
response so we can finally lay this issue to rest?

Jim "The Frog" Taylor, Director of Information Technology
Videodiscovery, Inc. - Multimedia Education for Science and Math
Seattle, WA, 206-285-5400 <>