Years ago, the distinctions between word processors, desktop publishing systems, and composition applications were more clear-cut than they are today. Recent trends have seen the expansion of these applications' functionalities in response to consumers' broadening needs, leading to considerable overlap between these previously discrete categories. While these categories are constantly changing, we have grouped our source formats into:
Word processors are tools for composing, editing, and formatting documents. Popular word processors include proprietary applications like MS Word and WordPerfect as well as open-source applications.
Slightly broader in function than word processors, publishing systems allow for the management of the entire publishing process. They are useful for large documents and frequently include styling and tagging information. Common publishing systems include FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, InDesign, and PageMaker.
PDF files come in two main varieties: Image-only PDF and PDF Normal. Image-only PDF is little more than a scanned image of a page; in order for computer-readable text to be extracted, the files must first undergo an optical character recognition (OCR) process. On the other hand, PDF Normal files (such as those produced by word processors and publishing systems) already contain computer-readable text, and they frequently contain styling and tagging information as well.
There are literally hundreds of possible source or target formats (including paper) in addition to those listed on our website.
DCL can convert data from any format to any format, but most clients choose to transition their content into high-performance electronic formats like XML. Within XML (or SGML) are DTDs, standards, or schemas—all of which refer to sets of rules that determine the structure of the content.
There are a multitude of public domain DTDs and standards from which to choose. Since these public domain DTDs are free and widely used, there are many tools available to make using them easier. Their widespread use also makes it possible to transfer data between individual projects or among multiple organizations.
While public DTDs are most commonly used, there are hundreds of different XML (or SGML) DTDs and standards written for specific document types or industries—and DCL can convert your data to conform to any of them.
Original Purpose — XML was created to bridge the gap between HTML and SGML in terms of data storage and interchange by being both human and machine readable, while being flexible enough to support platform- and architecture-independent data interchange.
Original Purpose — DITA was originally developed in 2001 as a modular, reuse-friendly DTD for software documentation.
Indeed, DITA is best-suited to content that is modular and context-independent in nature. It is ideal for projects in which you want to reuse some of the same content within a document, between documents, or even among different projects. Documentation that must be translated, for example, can benefit greatly from DITA's reusable modules; with DITA, a given chunk of content needs only be translated once, no matter how many times it appears throughout a set of documentation.
Original Purpose — Created in 1991 by HaL Computer Systems and O'Reilly and Associates, DocBook was designed for computer hardware and software documentation purposes.
While a DTD like DITA provides a general structure that can easily be specialized to your needs, DocBook comes with more options built-in. If the modifications you would make to DITA are already set within DocBook, then DocBook may be a better DTD for you, since it may let you do what you need without losing the benefits of a standardized structure.
Original Purpose — eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) is not technically a DTD, but rather a tag set. XHTML refers to a family of markup languages developed to build on HTML, the language used to write most web pages. XHTML was designed to make HTML more extensible, so while it is more restrictive than HTML, its requirement that documents be well-formed allows it the advantage of increased versatility.
Original Purpose — Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) was developed in the 1980s as a non-proprietary, platform-independent method of describing the structure of a document rather than its appearance.
Original Purpose — eXtensive Business Reporting Language (XBRL) was created as an XML-based markup language for electronic transmission of business and financial data.
Original Purpose — A subset of XHTML, EPUB was developed for eBook publishing and came on the scene as an official standard in 2007.
While EPUB has been widely adopted worldwide, not all media readers use or support EPUB the same way, and some specific media readers may require a different format altogether (Amazon's Kindle devices, for example, do not support EPUB, and uses a proprietary format based on MobiPocket).
Original Purpose — MOBI was originally an extension of the PalmDOC format where certain HTML-like tags were added to the data. Currently the source files follow the guidelines of the Open eBook format (OeB).
Original Purpose — The Structured Product Labeling (SPL) Standard was initially developed by a small group within the HL7 Regulated Clinical Research Information Management Technical Committee for healthcare industry product labels.
Original Purpose — In 2003, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) created the Journal Archiving and Interchange DTD (also known as the NLM DTD), as a common format for medical journal articles, as well as the NLM Book DTD, designed specifically for textbooks.
Original Purpose — MAchine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) is a data format and set of related standards used by libraries to encode and share information about books and other material they collect. It was first developed by Henriette Avram at the Library of Congress in the 1960s.
Original Purpose — S1000D was developed in the 1980s for the production of technical publications for military aircraft.
Original Purpose — In an effort to standardize digital development, acquisition, and delivery of equipment maintenance and operations information and training materials in consistent and identifiable chunks, the U.S. Army created the MIL-STD-2361. It was developed to ensure compliance with existing Department of Defense, Army, and international policies and requirements.
Current Use — The MIL-STD-38784 DTD is used exclusively in the conversion of legacy Technical Manuals, Repair Parts and Special Tool Lists, Depot Maintenance Work Requirements, Technical Bulletins, Supply Bulletins, Preventative Maintenance Technical Manuals, Modification Work Order Requirements, and Joint Technical Manuals.