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Re: MathML Presentation to content transformation

From: Neil Soiffer <soiffer@DesSci.com>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 12:57:19 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <200305051957.MAA01270@drizzle.wolfram.com>
To: Bernhard.Keil@soft4science.com (Bernhard Keil)
Cc: RobertM@DesSci.com (Robert Miner), www-math@w3.org

> Like Robert has stated, it is not possible to convert presentation markup to content markup in general.
> In simple cases a heuristic approach can lead to the right result, but this
> is far away from a general solution that can be used without human interaction.
> A presentation markup like this:
> <math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
>   <msup>
>      <msub>
>         <mi>&sigma;</mi>
>         <mi>x</mi>
>      </msub>
>      <mn>2</mn>
>   </msup>
> </math>
> can only be converted to the following content markup:
> <math display="block" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
> <moapply>
>   <variance/>
>   <ci> X </ci>
> </apply>
> </math>
> by phoning the author and asking him whether this is what he has mentioned.

While I agree that this is needed for 100% certainty, you wouldn't
do that if you were reading a paper containing it.  If the software doing
the conversion has information about the context (eg, by user control or
metadata extraction), it can make these transformation with very high
reliablility.  There is an important point about notation:  it is meant
to imply underlying functionality.  If it is ambigious within its context,
it is probably confusing to readers and will eventually die a timely death.

Neil Soiffer                     email: neils@dessci.com            
Senior Scientist                 phone: 562-433-0685            
Design Science, Inc.             http://www.dessci.com
"How Science Communicates"
Received on Monday, 5 May 2003 15:57:18 UTC

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