SGML stands for "Standard Generalized Markup Language" (or "Standard Goldfarb Mosher Lorie," but that's an inside joke). Essentially, SGML is a method for creating interchangeable, structured documents; with it, you can do the following:
assemble a single document from many sources (such as SGML fragments, word processor files, database queries, graphics, video clips, and real-time data from sensing instruments);
define a document structure using a special grammar called a Document Type Definition (DTD);
add markup to show the structural units in a document; and
validate that the document follows the structure that you defined in the DTD.
The official definition of SGML is in the international standard ISO 8879:1986. For a list of general information on SGML, including online tutorials, see the Robin Cover's SGML/XML Web Site.
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