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A Few Words About MathML

Module by: Connexions, Kyle Barnhart. E-mail the authors

Summary: An introduction to MathML, and specifically an explanation as to its use in web education.

Math is a complicated language: There are hundreds of symbols and signs used to create mathematical expressions. In fact, very few computer systems come equipped to display all of them. Many web sites, including Connexions, are beginning to use a markup language called MathML to display math expressions and equations so that they may be viewed by any visitor.

Why MathML?

Before MathML was introduced, most web pages used images of math equations rather than markup. There are several problems with this simple approach: Images can't be read by screen readers for disabled users and images do not scale well for presentation purposes, just to name a few. And while some Windows machines come with a limited number of fonts to display mathematical symbols, these may not correspond to the same symbols used on Unix and Mac OS systems. Finally, typesetting math can be downright impossible over the Internet without the use of tables and style sheets to individually position each part of the expression.

MathML solves all of these problems by giving the user complete control over an expression's layout and content. Each element in an expression is tagged as a number, letter, operator, or symbol, then can be placed in tags that denote the sequence of operations applied. Alternately, the expression can be built piece-by-piece, symbol-by-symbol, using tags to explicitly control the way the math will be presented. When users view a web site with embedded MathML content, their web browser reads the tags and displays the content appropriately.

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My Favorites (?)

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks