The term ‘markup’ appears to be a neologism, derived from the ‘mark-up’ instructions inserted by designers into manuscripts intended for printing (OED). Contrary to this etymology, Coombs et al (1987), Sperberg-McQueen (1991) and Raymond et al. (1992) all claim that markup has been with us for centuries in the form of spaces between words and punctuation. By this they appear to mean that spaces and punctuation are a kind of markup distinct from markup in its purely computational sense. In XML, markup is clearly distinguished form the text: everything between and including pairs of angle brackets, and the white space used to format it, constitutes markup, while the rest oft he document is content (Bray et al. 2008, Ch. 2.4). But they are also aware of the more formal definition: ‘Markup is the use of embedded codes, known as tags, to describe a document’s structure, or to embed instructions that can be used by a layout processor or other document management tools’ (Raymond et al., 1992, p. 1). ‘By markup I mean all the information in the document other than the ‘contents’ of the document itself’.

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