Named Special (Subject) Content


A word or phrase whose content/subject matter has special semantics, content-related significance, or particular importance to a reader. In historical editions, this element is used to record emphasis or highlighting made by readers on the printed pages of a work. Such textual decorations mark text of special significance to the reader not to the author or publisher.

In print or display, named content is likely to be treated differently, for example, given a special typographic style such as italics or background shading.


The content-type attribute can be used to identify, for semantically-special content the subject or type of content and, for reader-created emphasis, the type of emphasis used to highlight this content. For example, if a phrase has been underlined in pencil, the attribute value might be “pencil underline”.

As another example, when this element is used to indicate special semantic distinctions, the attribute could be used to identify a drug name, company name, or product name. It could be used to define systematics terms, such as genus, family, order, or suborder. It could also be used to identify biological components, such as gene, protein, or peptide. It could be used to name body systems, such as circulatory or skeletal. Therefore, values may include information classes, semantic categories, or types of nouns such as “generic-drug-name”, “genus-species”, “gene”, “peptide”, “product”, etc.

Related Elements

For the purposes of the NCBI Historical DTD, annotations of historical material are considered to be of two types: 1) those with content (that is, those that add words to the text, for example, a penciled marginal note) and 2) those that merely decorate words already in the text (for example, a phrase underlined in pencil). Text-bearing annotations are tagged with either the <alt-term> element (which provide alternatives to words or phrases) or the <annotation> element (which contains words added to the printed text and which may be used at the inline or block-level). By contrast, decorations use the <named-content> element with the attribute content-type taking a value such as “pencil underline” or “yellow highlight”.

Model Information

Content Model

<!ELEMENT  named-content
                        (#PCDATA %named-content-elements;)*          >


Any combination of:

Tagged Example

<p>Nevertheless, upon establishing the Roanoke colony,
the settlers encouraged relations with the Indians, of
which there appear to have been a diverse group, including
<named-content content-type="pencil underline">Croatans,
Mangoaks, Chaonists, and Sequotanes,</named-content> as
well as Roanoke from which the region took its name. Not
acquainted with native edibles, the colonists traded copper
for same, especially grain and maize, as well as for leather
and coral. Moreover, one tribe even gave the colonists
&ldquo;a certain plot of ground&rdquo; for sowing their
crops the next season. It was also reported that natives
assisted the settlers&rsquo; efforts to hunt game, fowl,
and fish, although such efforts apparently failed to provide
sufficient food stocks for the entire colony.  Water-color
drawings by John White, then governor of the colony, today
still depict 16th century indigenous culture, such as native
people&rsquo;s villages, eating customs, and work.</p>