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Text-related HTML/XHTML markup tags comprise the richest set of all in the standard languages. That’s because the original language — HTML — emerged as a way to enrich the structure and organization of text.

HTML came out of academia. What was and still is important to those early developers was the ability of their mostly academic, text-oriented documents to be scanned and read without sacrificing their ability to distribute documents over the Internet to a wide diversity of computer display platforms. (ASCII text is the only universal format on the global Internet.) Multimedia integration is something of an appendage to HTML and XHTML, albeit an important one.

Also, page layout is secondary to structure. We humans visually scan and decide textual relationships and structure based on how it looks; machines can only read encoded markings. Because documents have encoded tags that relate meaning, they lend themselves very well to computer-automated searches and also to the recompilation of content — features very important to researchers. It’s not so much how something is said as what is being said.


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