Oh. Wow. SISU Rocks Two Bits

Posted by ckelty on October 15, 2008

Two Bits has been transformed into a "SISU" document.

SISU is a formatting language (created by Ralph Amissah) that is very simple (simpler than HTML) but powerful enough to allow translation of a document into multiple formats (XML, HTML, PDF, ODT and so on). It even has a word-concordance and an MD5 hash of the text--just like I like it! Check out the manifest page for the book to see all the different formats it is now available in. What's more, it includes the index terms with links to their appearance in the text, and all kinds of tasty metadata (like Dublin Core). Computers can read my book now! Go computers: read, discuss!

In some ways, this is such great proof of concept: it's a free software markup language and command-line oriented processing tool, with an emphasis on both ease of use and power. It's not iTunes for books (we need that, sort of, but without the DRM), but it's also not SGML (we have that already) or the TEI DTD for XML (which some of us need, but not all of us). It strikes me that SISU is an excellent example of the UNIX philosophy detailed in the book, and the kind of tool that should become a standard not necessarily for presses, but for academics and authors who want to allow their work to be transformed and/or widely distributed. Finding the time to encode things with metadata and markup is not easy, any tool that makes it easier is worth its h in gold.

I am simply awestruck by the ingenuity, and honored to be an example text among others...

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