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I've followed the recent discussion about SoftQuad's changing policy
regarding a "free" basic SGML browser with great disappointment.  If
Panorama is not allowing people to reload the Viewer after the initial trial
period has expired this is a significant departure from the way they
marketed the product for the better part of the last two to three years AND
a major problem for the widespread use of EAD.  If we are going to serve up
HTML we can all save a great deal of time and effort by not bothering to
code in SGML.  In fact, for the most part, ASCII text delivered over the web
can serve for all but the occassional hot links that can be useful to add.
The key value of SGML in my opinion lies far less in the links than in its
potentially magnificent use of navigators.  This is precisely what is lost
when we serve HTML.

After the time and effort that Daniel Pitti and others have put into the
project its very frustrating to see that at least for the library community
interested in making use of SGML in a on-line, real time, distributed
fashion SGML has turned out to be a tool (or perhaps I mean an approach)
that has failed to drum up much more standards-based vendor implementation
than MARC.

Is it possible that our consortia might develop sharewhere SGML plugins or
browser helpers?  It seems to me that not only the EAD but also the TEI
initiative will need such tools or they will fail to fulfill their potential.

George Miles
Yale Collection of Western Americana