SPEC SHEET FOR SGML

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SPEC SHEET FOR SGML

Robin C. Cover
There have recently been several requests for machine-readable summaries
of SGML, and ftp-able SGML definitions, and electronic copy of the ISO
8879 itself.  According to answers given by knowledgable persons in
the standards organizations, MR copy of the ISO 8879 seems like a long
shot: ISO needs the funds from sales of paper copies, which explains
why a 17-page document can cost $35.00.  These details are given at length
on the UUCP/Usenet forum comp.text.sgml lately.  It seems ironic and sad
though perhaps not uncharacteristic of our modern world, that the
promulgation of "standards" would be thwarted by economic factors
which make relevant documents accessible only to the rich.

A more interesting question now remains regarding short "summaries" of
the standard, "spec sheets" in something like BNF format.  I am aware
of several 1-5 page summaries of SGML in discourse style, but not of
machine-readable "spec sheets" or BNF descriptions.  Can someone tell
me: (a) if it makes sense to talk about a "spec sheet" for SGML or a
BNF notation of the essential "meta-grammar"; (b) if it makes sense,
whether this kind of computer-science description of SGML is available
anywhere in abbreviated/abridged format?