About American Memory

American Memory DTD for Historical Documents

In its presentation of historical collections, the Library of Congress uses Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) for two types of documents: finding aids and the full texts of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and other historical texts. Examples of finding aids that conform to the emerging standard for Encoded Archival Description are available online. Marked-up pamphlet, broadside, manuscript, and book texts are available for a number of collections; see, for example, the National American Woman Suffrage Collection or the George Washington Papers.

Full Text Markup

The Library is converting a wide array of documents to searchable form, including books, pamphlets, broadsides, legal materials, serial articles, and manuscripts. The American Memory Document Type Definition (AMMEM.DTD) was developed to accommodate this broad range of materials by conceptualizing a generalized humanities text, rather than seeking to describe specific document types and subtypes, or text genres. Simple, streamlined models and flexible structure are characteristic of AMMEM.DTD.

Text Encoding Initiative

The American Memory DTD is conformant with the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), which has established a set of models and guidelines for encoding texts in the humanities. Because the TEI was incomplete at the time AMMEM.DTD was developed and implemented, the Library created its own simple models for some elements.

Work in Progress

Like most DTDs in active use, the American Memory DTD continues to undergo reevaluation and refinement. In the near future, the Library will provide full TEI-conformance documentation. Additional minor modifications are being made to facilitate the chunking of texts for online display and navigation. The Library also anticipates making future revisions to the American Memory DTD to accommodate the emerging Extensible Markup Language (XML) specification.