L

FREDERICK H. BARTLETT

Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

fredb@springer-ny.com

**Abstract:**
At Springer-Verlag, we have been frustrated for some years now with
the difficulty of putting mathematics into a web-friendly format. We
have not yet found a magic bullet, but ...

The XML application MathML may be the first real tool for putting mathematics on the Web in a useful form. Suppliers of mathematical tools such as Mathematica and Maple are gearing up to use MathML as an input/output format; thus, we can look forward to a day when mathematics on the Web will be truly interactive.

It is likely that--even if MathML fulfills every bit of its promise--TEX will continue to be used for the preparation of mathematics for display and printing.

This presentation is an account of our efforts to translate
author-generated L^{A}TEX into XML. The project can be
divided into four stages:

- 1.
- Normalizing (La)TEX. That is, transforming authors'
idiosyncratic usages (and even more idiosyncratic macro
definitions) into consistent, and consistently structured,
files. The vast majority of author-generated L
^{A}TEX files can be converted easily with a minimal understanding of TeX's digestive tract; those which can't (especially plain TEX files) will require some human intervention--or increasingly sophisticated (read `bloated') software. - 2.
- Converting to XML. This is the easy part: changing
structural L
^{A}TEX tags into XML tags. - 3.
- Converting to MathML. And this is the hard part: It would be
ideal to be able to convert L
^{A}TEX math into both presentation and content MathML coding. Unfortunately, this is, even in principle, extremely difficult. So at first we concentrate on the L^{A}TEX-to-presentation mark-up path. Eventually, it will be possible to produce an interactive L^{A}TEX-to-content mark-up converter for authors. - 4.
- Going backwards. It will eventually be helpful to authors and publishers if MathML/XML can be converted back to (La)TEX, but this is not a high priority at the moment.

This talk describes something that is very much a work in progress, so a discussion period will be most welcome.