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This Tag Set will no longer be updated with the NLM Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite. Version 2.3 is the final version of the Tag Set.


The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a center of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), created the Historical Book Tag Set with the intent of providing a common format for the electronic reproduction of historical works. The Historical Book Tag Set uses all the same elements as the standard NLM Book Tag Set but has additional elements designed to meet the special requirements of electronic versions of historical works. These include elements to describe both the metadata of the digital and original versions, annotations, and page numbers.


The Tag Set was constructed using the modules of the Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite and has been modeled along the same philosophical lines as the Archiving and Interchange Tag Set, which is a schema for interchange and storage of journal material.

The Tag Set is closely related to the NCBI Book Tag Set.


Tag Library

The complete documentation for this Tag Set is available in the Tag Library https://dtd.nlm.nih.gov/book/historical/tag-library.

The Tag Library contains the following sections:


An introduction to the contents of this Tag Library, to the design philosophy and intended usage of the Book DTD.

Elements Section

Descriptions of the elements used in the Book DTD.

Attributes Section

Descriptions of the attributes in the DTD modules.

Parameter Entity Section

Names (with occasional descriptions) and contents of the Parameter Entities in the DTD modules.

Context Table

Listings of where each element may be used. All elements are given in a simple alphabetical list. There is a single table for the elements from all the Suite modules that are called from the DTD.

Document Hierarchy Diagrams

Tree-like graphical representations of the content of many elements. This can be a fast visual way to determine the structure of an article or of any element within an article.

Full Book Sample

An incomplete but illustrative sampel of a book that includes metadata for the book, a represetative chapter, and a portion of the book's back matter.

Index by Tag Name

Index of element descriptions, alphabetically by tag name (element-type name).

Index by Element Name

Index of element descriptions, alphabetically by element name (the longer, more descriptive name).

DTD Section

Copies of the Book DTD, its customization module, and the full Archiving and Interchange DTD Suite of XML DTD modules described in the Tag Library.

Also, the DTD modules themselves are well commented.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Frequently Asked Questions page is available.

Available Schemas

In addition to the DTD format, the Tag Set is also available as a W3C XML schema and as a RELAX NG schema. Both are generated directly from the DTD and neither is intended for maintenance. See the individual schema pages for more information.

Getting the Files

All of the Tag Set files are available by anonymous FTP: //ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pub/archive_dtd/books/historical/.

The files are directly available through the following links:

Each schema is also available through the web at the following stable URIs. Please note that not all browsers will display these files properly, but the files are viewable in XML or text editors.


The current version of the NCBI Historical Book DTD is v2.3.

Version 2.3 was released on March 28, 2007. A detailed explaination of the changes from version 2.2 is available in the v2.3 Change Report.

Version 2.2 is available here: https://dtd.nlm.nih.gov/book/historical/2.2/.

Related Tag Sets

The NCBI Book Tag Set was designed to accommodate tagging for books as part of the NCBI Bookshelf project.

The Archiving Tag Set, created from the Tag Suite, is less prescriptive than the Publishing Tag Set. It enables archives to capture but structural and semantic components and does not enforce any particular sequence or textual format.

The Journal Publishing Tag Set, created from the Tag Suite, is more prescriptive than the Archiving Tag Set. It is optimized for use by publishers and archives interested in regularizing their data.

The Article Authoring Tag Set, also created from the Tag Suite, is optimized for authoring original journal articles. It is the most limited Tag Set derived from the Suite that is offered by NLM.

Individuals wanting to submit citations and abstracts for inclusion in PubMed/MEDLINE should use the PubMed Journal Article DTD. See the Information for Publishers re: XML Tagged Data on the PubMed web site.

XML Information

Links to general information on XML, XSLT, Unicode™, and XLink are available on the XML Resources page.

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Last updated: October 10, 2008