Symposium on Markup Vocabulary Ecosystems

Symposium on Markup Vocabulary Ecosystems
a Balisage pre-conference symposium

Monday, 30 July 2018
CAMBRiA Hotel, Rockville, MD USA

Successful shared markup vocabularies (tag sets, document types, schemas, call them what you will), far from being just lists of tags, are the centers of complex ecosystems that support documentation activities while drawing support from both user communities and vendors. A complex ecosystem supports and is supported by these vocabularies. People spend significant time, energy, and money to create, adapt, adopt, modify, maintain, and promulgate the tag set. Users buy and customize tools to create and use content tagged to it and change their processes and tune their requirements to the (often only implied) world view behind the tag set. Vendors specialize in it.

Each vocabulary ecosystem is different, and yet they seem to have common features:

In this symposium we will discuss the features of markup vocabulary ecosystems, how to nurture them, and how strategies to support some vocabularies might be useful to the communities that surround other markup vocabularies. Our focus is on the ways in which we create and support shared vocabularies, not on any particular tag set, so examples from DITA, DocBook, NIEM, HTML, JATS, HL7, OOXML, PRISM, UBL, TEI, or any of the other thousands of public or private shared markup vocabularies are in scope for this discussion.


Do you use a shared markup vocabulary? Tell us how your experience with it could be improved, or what aspects of the experience you find particularly helpful. Have you modified your processes or infrastructure to accommodate a shared vocabulary? Why? Are you happy you did it?

Are you the creator or maintainer of a shared markup vocabulary? Is there something in your vocabulary documentation that is unusually useful? Is there a tool to create subsets (or supersets) of your vocabulary? Why? How does it work? What innovative aspects of your vocabulary ecosystem might be useful in other communities?

Do you help users of a vocabulary you do not control? Do you provide additional/alternate documentation? Usage guidance? Examples? Tools? Do you make or share business rule checkers? Is this for the whole community or a sub-set? How do you contribute to the vocabulary ecosystem?

Would a shared markup vocabulary be useful to you? What would it take to create and promulgate that vocabulary?

Users, creators, sponsors, maintainers, and allies of shared markup vocabularies.
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  • 22 April 2018 — Paper submissions due
  • 21 May 2018 — Speakers notified
  • 6 July 2018 — Final papers due
  • 30 July 2018 — Pre-conference Symposium
  • 31 July –3 August 2018 — Balisage: The Markup Conference
Submit full papers or short paper proposals in XML to
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