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IBM Introduces the Generalized Markup Language (GML) and SGML -- Fundamental Building Blocks in the Development of Computerized Page Formatting

Circa 1969 to 1974
Charles F. Goldfarb

Charles F. Goldfarb

Around 1969 IBM introduced the Generalized Markup Language, GML, developed by Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie, whose surname initials were used by Goldfarb at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose to make up the term GML. GML was"a set of macros that implemented intent-based markup tags for the IBM text formatter, 'SCRIPT.' SCRIPT was the main component of IBM's Document Composition Facility (DCF). A starter set of tags in GML was provided with the DCF product. This was an early preliminary step toward a page description language that could be used to format text for publications.

"GML simplifies the description of a document in terms of its format, organization structure, content parts and their relationship, and other properties. GML markup (or tags) describes such parts as chapters, important sections, and less important sections (by specifying heading levels), paragraphs, lists, tables, and so forth." (Wikipedia article on IBM Generalized Markup Language, accessed 12-21-2008).

In 1974 Goldfarb designed the Standardized Generalized Markup Language. SGML was designed to enable the sharing of machine-readable large-project documents in government, law, and industry. SGML also was extensively applied by the military, and the aerospace, technical reference, and industrial publishing industries. 

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