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Text refers to written or printed material.


Text is generally covered by a formal, international ASCII standard for representing character formats. Standard extensions exist for encoding diacritic characters in romance languages other than English and a new standard has developed to incorporate scripted languages under a new common encoding scheme (UNICODE). Alternative encoding methods, however, abound. IBM maintains its own EBCDIC character encoding scheme and Apple and Intel-based personal computers differ in the ways that they support extended ASCII character sets.

In addition to character set issues, textual content is often embedded in layout and structure. Markup systems, such as implementations of TeX and the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), do exist as platform-independent mechanisms for identifying and tagging for subsequent layout and retrieval detailed structural elements of documents. The use of TeX and its variants, for example, is relatively common among scholars in some scientific disciplines such as mathematics and computer science, and the federal government and scholarly publishers are increasingly employing the SGML standard in documents that they produce and distribute electronically. Beyond these relatively specialized segments, however, word processing and desktop publishing systems still dominate the market for the creation of documents with complex structure and layout, and the software for such use typically models and stores document structure and layout in proprietary terms. Although software may provide mechanisms for converting documents to common interchange formats, use of such mechanisms often results in the loss or inadequate rendering of content such as page structures and the layout of headers, footers and section headings.