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Markup language for organizing and tagging elements of a document, including headings, paragraphs, tables, and graphics. The elements are marked according to their meaning and relationship to other elements rather than to the format of their presentation. The tagged elements can then be formatted in different ways according to the unique rules for different applications. Readable by both humans and computer programs, SGML is usable in a wide range of applications, including print publishing, CD-ROMs, and database systems. Generic coding of electronic manuscripts was first proposed in the late 1960s; in 1969 an IBM team developed GML, which was adopted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Department of Defense. In the late 1970s the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee to create SGML from GML; it was accepted by the International Organization for Standards in 1986. See alsoHTML, XML.
Variants of SGML
SGML in full Standard Generalized Markup Language
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on SGML, visit Britannica.com.