How to cite this paper

Usdin, B. Tommie. “It is time to make ourselves clear.” Presented at Balisage: The Markup Conference 2017, Washington, DC, August 1 - 4, 2017. In Proceedings of Balisage: The Markup Conference 2017. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 19 (2017).

Balisage: The Markup Conference 2017
August 1 - 4, 2017

Balisage Paper: It is time to make ourselves clear

B. Tommie Usdin

Mulberry Technologies

B. Tommie Usdin is President of Mulberry Technologies, Inc., a consultancy specializing in XML and SGML. Ms. Usdin has been working with SGML since 1985 and has been a supporter of XML since 1996. She chairs the Balisage conference. Ms. Usdin has developed DTDs, Schemas, and XML/SGML application frameworks for applications in government and industry. Projects include reference materials in medicine, science, engineering, and law; semiconductor documentation; historical and archival materials. Distribution formats have included print books, magazines, and journals, and both web- and media-based electronic publications. She is co-chair of the NISO Z39-96, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite Working Group and a member of the NISO Board of Directors. You can read more about her at


We, the markup community, have for too long pussy-footed around in a misguided effort to get along with the unenlightened. We have compromised, equivocated, and taken one thing after another into consideration. That time is over. It is time for us to insist that the world straighten up and fly right. To stand up and put our collective feet down! Start marking up documents with explicit tags, no more of this word-processor hide-the-markup stuff. Separate content from format! Make all publications accessible! Enable interoperability! We know what’s right; let’s do it and demand that others do, too!

Well, if they don’t mind. And if they can afford it. And if it won’t break any current systems, and nobody is offended. Of course.