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B. Tommie Usdin


Ms. Usdin has been working with XML and XSLT since their inception, and with SGML since 1985. She chairs Balisage: The Markup Conference and formerly chaired Extreme Markup Languages, Markup Technologies and the international SGML'XX conferences. Ms. Usdin is co-chair of NISO's "Standardized Markup for Journal Articles" Working Group. She was co-editor of Markup Languages: Theory & Practice, a short-lived peer reviewed quarterly publication published by the MIT Press.

As a regular speaker on what she thinks of as the "XML Chataqua Circuit", Ms Usdin has spoken at: meetings of the text Encoding Initiative, Association for Computing in the Humanities, Association for Computing Machines, SGML Forum of New York, the Mid-Atlantic XML Users Group, and the Northern California SGML Users Group; and XML ’XX conferences, Extreme Markup Languages, Markup Technologies, XML One, XML DevCon, International Markup, TechDoc, Seybold, SGML’XX conferences, SGML Europe, XML Europe, Internet World, SGML Asia/Pacific, Tri-XML, Xplor, and Association of American Publisher's conferences.

Ms. Usdin has taught document analysis theory and techniques at large technology companies, small typesetters, government and academic libraries, publishers of all sizes and to public classes at a variety of XML conferences.


Document Analysis and DTD/Schema Development - Ms. Usdin has led teams doing document analysis and DTD/schema development for medical reference works, scientific and technical textbooks, industrial manuals, legal treatises, and historical literature.

She was lead developer of the National Library of Medicine's Journal Publishing Tag Set, an XML vocabulary used by a wide variety of journal publishers in the creation of bio-science journals. She led the team that developed the vocabulary for Oxford University Press' American National Biography (ANB). The ANB Online is based on a complex XML structure that supports not only searching the narrative of the biographies and linking among them, but also selection of biographies by detailed demographic information

Ms. Usdin led the team that developed the Pinnacles Component Information Standard (PCIS) for the semiconductor industry, an industry-wide SGML application for the interchange of semiconductor documentation. This included leading a one-year document analysis project involving participants from 5 companies and 6 countries. After the document analysis, Ms. Usdin participated in the design of the overall architecture for the Pinnacles Standard and development of the DTDs and documentation for PCIS versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2.

For the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress, Ms. Usdin led the analysis team that selected the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) as the basis for their custom DTD, and led members of the project team in document analysis. She participated in the development of the American Memory DTD and supervised development of the DTD documentation.

For a publisher of a major scientific encyclopedia, Ms. Usdin led the editorial team in identification of the structure of the articles and index structures. She then led the team that developed a set of models for articles, indices, and the full encyclopedia. The models are based on ISO 12083, the International Standards Organization's update to the AAP application. Using these models, the publisher is now creating both electronic and print versions of the encyclopedia and a wide variety of spin-off publications.

Ms. Usdin developed a set of inter-related DTD modules for a government agency that produces a variety of periodical publications, some daily, some weekly, and some irregular. Similar DTDs (and shared element naming) are used throughout. The markup is used to typeset the original publications and to provide the structure for their search and retrieval system.

Other projects have included design and development of electronic publishing systems for journals, product documentation, historical materials, reference works, and medical information. Ms. Usdin has developed applications using a variety of public XML (and SGML) applications, including the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), DocBook, ISO 12083, and the MIL-M-28001 (DoD) application standards.

Training - Ms. Usdin has taught XML and XML-related topics to executives, managers, technical writers, publications staffs, and typesetters. Her courses have varied from high-level overviews of the concepts underlying XML, to the impact of conversion to these markup languages on the workplace, the technical details of DTD development and maintenance, document analysis, how to tag and correct autotagged documents, and details of particular applications.

Ms. Usdin has taught principles of database design, design of full- text and relational databases, search techniques for full-text and text-based databases, meeting facilitation skills, and JAD (Joint Application Development) methodologies.

Application Customization and Design - XML authoring and display software must be customized before it can be used for any but the most elementary purposes. Ms. Usdin has customized applications for authoring, autotagging, transformation, and display. Authoring applications have been modified to display documents to an author in familiar layouts, enforce rules such as requirements about the contents of elements that cannot be enforced by DTDs or schemas, and interface with other applications such as autotaggers and document management systems. She has customized autotaggers to recognize clues to a document's structure and content and to map the document's parts to appropriate XML constructs. Similarly, Ms. Usdin has developed display applications that control the placement, font, and layout of information depending on the elements in which it is contained and the context inside the document.

For a large project, requiring extensive customization of an authoring system's core functionality as well as its user-interface, Ms. Usdin developed a detailed software customization specification. After the software vendor had customized the software, she led acceptance testing of the final product.

Database Design - Ms. Usdin has designed full text databases for access to litigation support and private information collections in the areas of pollution control, contract law, anti-trust law, patent infringement, real estate, and medical malpractice. She has designed relational and hierarchical databases for storage and manipulation of full text documents, document surrogates, and structured content. Database content has included marketing materials and market research information, personnel and tracking information, and contracts.

Lexicography - Ms. Usdin has designed and developed controlled vocabularies such as taxonomies and thesauri in a variety of structures on subject matters as varied as solar energy, water pollution, and casino gambling. She managed the development of a Solar Energy Thesaurus for the Solar Energy Research Institute, and the HUD Research Thesaurus for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She maintained the NCJRS Thesaurus for the Department of Justice, and was on the team that developed the original GAO Thesaurus for the General Accounting Office.

Employment History

President, Mulberry Technologies, Inc. - 1996 to present. Mulberry Technologies, Inc., is a consultancy specializing in XML design and training.

Vice President, ATLIS Consulting Group, Inc. - 1989 to 1996. ATLIS Consulting Group was a full-service SGML consulting organization, providing needs analysis, tool selection, document analysis, DTD development, user training, and implementation support.

Senior Publishing Systems Analyst, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems - 1988 to 1989. The Composed Applications division of Cincinnati Bell Information Systems was involved in the integration of hardware and software into electronic publishing applications. CBIS provided electronic consulting services to the Federal Government, especially in support of the CALS initiative.

Consultant (1985 - 1988), Information Systems Designer (1980 - 1985), Lexicographer (1978 - 1979), Aspen Systems - 1978 to 1988. Aspen Systems provided database and publishing services to industry and government, and was an early developer of full-text search and retrieval software.


M.S., Information Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1978
B.A., English, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1976