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Subject: DOCBOOK: Is DocBook the DTD for me?

The project: Making the manual of a smallish government department available
on an intranet. (Currently the manual text is in a proprietary format
associated with an obsolete mainframe word processing package, users work
with loose bound printed copies). The manual currently runs to 1820 pages A4
/ Letter size pages. The structure of its body text is unremarkable, and an
excellent fit with DocBook. Its unusual features are as follows:-

-It has 3 separate indexes; a conventional alphabetic one, one for
references to legal cases, and one for references to sections of the Law.
(References to sections of the Law in the body text also need to be visually
distinguished in some way in the published version.)

-It contains rather clunky formulae, typically expressed like this

____________________ x 100
years in specified period

The people: IT staff are generalists with solid knowledge of HTML (certainly
solid enough to appreciate its problems as a master format ;) but no prior
experience of XML or SGML. Content creators are clerical staff who currently
create and edit documents using MS-Word plus native HTML for the intranet
using FrontPage.

Currently, I'm preparing a report comparing the relative merits of XML/HTML,
HTML and MS-Word as master/user formats for the online version of the
manual. Naturally, I incline towards XML/HTML, on the basis of engineering
instincts and my experiences of managing content using the other 2 formats
:), but I can see I'm going to have trouble with convincing the decision
makers to accept the up-front costs associated with an XML learning curve.
Having studied the duck book, I can see that DocBook can be customised to
cope with the 3 indexes and other features, but that its flexibility and
maturity makes it a daunting prospect for the XML novice.

So the question is this:-

Can anyone recommend an XML DTD which might be a closer fit to my
requirements and hence won't require customisation, or one that is
customisable but simpler and hence presents a quicker learning curve (I do
appreciate that "customisable" and "easier-to-learn" are probably
antagonistic principles)?

Alternatively, I be grateful if anyone could point me at any resources which
have details of XML DTDs designed for content management.

Many thanks in advance

Adele Poulter

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