Last Updated: 19 September 2013
XLingPaper is a way to author and archive linguistic papers or books using XML. My personal preference for writing XLingPaper files is to use the XMLmind XML Editor. It makes writing XML much easier than other editors I’ve used.
There are some demonstration movies you can watch by clicking on the Demo Movies tab above.
You can read the documentation by clicking on the Documentation tab above. It has a lot of screen shots to illustrate how to key the various items.
To learn how to install the XMLmind XML Editor and the XLingPaper package, click on the Install tab above.
You can also check out the User Forum.
The best explanation can be found in two papers. Please see Simons and Black (2009) for an explanation of the key notions and motivations. Then see Black (2009) for how XLingPaper addresses these notions.
Linguists commonly face three obstacles in formatting papers. First, all examples are numbered in a paper. If during the writing process the author discovers a need to insert an example, then the numbering of all following examples and all references to those examples within the text need to be re-adjusted. This mechanical change can be both time-consuming and prone to error. Similarly, if the author decides to reorder some examples, then the numbering needs to be adjusted appropriately. XLingPaper provides an automatic way to facilitate such numbering and renumbering.
Secondly, linguists cite the work of other researchers using a standard citation format. This format functions essentially as an abbreviation or reference to the full citation entry which appears in the references section of the paper. The burden of maintaining consistency between citation and reference typically falls totally on the author. Many a reader has been disappointed to find a citation to a paper in the body of a paper for which there is no entry in the references section. XLingPaper provides an automatic means for a writer to maintain consistency; all citations in the text must have a corresponding entry in the references. Conversely, XLingPaper will include only those entries in the references section which are cited in the text. This latter characteristic implies that one can maintain one master list of references and merely include it in any given paper. Only those references actually cited in the given paper will appear in the references section.
Thirdly, linguists commonly use a set of abbreviations while glossing examples. They usually include either a list of the abbreviations and their definitions in a footnote, in a special front-matter page, or in a back-matter page. As for citations and references, the burden of maintaining consistency between the abbreviations used in the text and the abbreviations defined in the list typically falls totally on the author. Many a reader has been disappointed to find an abbreviation in a gloss for which there is no corresponding entry in the list of abbreviations. XLingPaper provides an automatic means for a writer to maintain consistency; the author can make it so all abbreviations in the text must have a corresponding entry in the list of abbreviations. Conversely, XLingPaper will include only those abbreviations in the list of abbreviations which are actually used in the text. This latter characteristic implies that one can maintain one master list of abbreviations and merely include it in any given paper. Only those abbreviations actually cited in the given paper will appear in the list of abbreviations. By the way, XLingPaper also creates a hyperlink between the abbreviation in the text and the abbreviation in the list of abbreviations. Thus, a reader can click on the abbreviation and see what it means.
In addition, in some formatting systems such as HTML, headers (i.e. h1, h2, etc.) are not automatically numbered. XLingPaper will automatically number all parts, chapters, and sections. Furthermore, one may create references to parts, chapters, or sections and these will display as hyperlinks to them, using the appropriate number.
Since XLingPaper is in XML, it also can serve as an archiving format.
One can use XLingPaper to produce linguistic papers with at least five outputs:
- Webpages (i.e. HTML) which can be loaded into a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer version 5.5 or later).
- PDF file which can be read with a PDF Reader (e.g. Adobe Reader 7.0)
- Microsoft Word 2003 format
- Open Office Writer format
The Downloads tab above includes several sample XLingPaper documents you can download.
There are also several papers in the SIL-Mexico Electronic Working Papers series that were produced via XLingPaper. See all the papers under #1 and papers #3, #4, #7, #8, #9a, #9b, #10 and all the papers under #13.
Why the XMLmind XML Editor?
The XMLmind XML Editor is a freely downloadable editor that makes it quite easy to create not only XLingPaper documents, but also XHTML documents, among others. This editor is a structured editor and has at least the following very nice features:
- One never sees the XML element and attributes markers. These are all nicely hidden.
- It uses Unicode.
- There are templates which make it easy to start a new document and also to easily create various kinds of examples, lists, tables, etc.
- As a structured editor, one can only insert elements (e.g. citations, examples, lists) when it is appropriate to do so.
- There are ways to easily set references to examples, sections, etc.
- One can maintain a master file of references that one can then reuse for multiple papers.
- It has a nice find and replace capability.
- It has the ability to easily cut and paste entire collections of elements.
- It has spelling checkers for English, French, Spanish, or German.
- The user interface can be in English, Czech, French, Italian, Spanish, or German.
- It works with Keyman 6.0.
- It has some ways to find and key Unicode and other special characters.
- Unlike some other XML Editors, performance does not degrade for large files.
- It is possible to create and maintain modular documents (ones which consist of multiple files).
For an unsolicited review of the XMLmind XML Editor, see http://www.writersua.com/articles/xmlmind/index.html