The HTML-Math working group is developing means to enable the use of mathematical formalism in Web documents. Since this is, in full generality, a very large complex of problems the group has selected a still wide-reaching set of more specific goals to work on.

- Is suitable for teaching, and scientific communication;
- Is easy to learn and to edit by hand for basic math notation, such as arithmetic, polynomials and rational functions, trigonometric expressions, univariate calculus, sequences and series, and simple matrices;
- Is well suited to template and other math editing techniques;
- Insofar as possible, allows conversion to and from other math
formats, both presentational and semantic, such as TeX and computer
algebra systems. Output formats may include graphical displays,
speech synthesizers, computer algebra systems input, other math
layout languages such as TeX, plain text displays (e.g. VT100
emulators), and print media, including braille. It is recognized
that conversion to and from other notational systems or media may
lose
*information*in the process; - Allows the passing of information intended for specific renderers;
- Supports efficient browsing for lengthy expressions;
- Provides for extensibility, for example through contexts, macros, new rendering schemas or new symbols. Some extensions may necessitate the use of new renderers.

- A formal specification of an HTML-Math markup scheme has been
approved by consensus of group members. The scheme will:
- suffice as a basis for visual rendering of most mathematical notation (e.g. at the level of a research mathematics journal article); and
- enable renderings to other forms as mentioned above to a level acceptable to group members.

- A sample implementation of software which visually renders mathematical notation as specified in item 1 exists that (a) demonstrates feasibility of the notation, and (b) facilitates implementation of rendering engines for other media.

Two-dimensional notational considerations similar to those encountered in mathematics may be of interest to other disciplines such as chemistry, music or theatre.

How to convey specific mathematical objects and commands between algebra systems so that their meanings are conserved.Cooperation is being achieved since several members are involved in both Working Groups.

- Initial prototype
- An agreed specification of a core XML-compliant standard for a
markup covering math roughly as far as college. (May 15, 1997)
Extensions protocols to make input more user-friendly and customizable will follow later, and be part of the final HTML-Math recommendations of this Working Group.

- A prototype Java implementation using this standard for math expression markup. The implementation will also accept an experimental input format some find more natural than the full HTML-Math standard's markup. It will effect display on browser pages using whatever work-arounds prove necessary to cope with the lack of a good API for applets within browser pages. (May 15, 1997)

- An agreed specification of a core XML-compliant standard for a
markup covering math roughly as far as college. (May 15, 1997)
- Character and entity conventions
- A correspondence between characters used by mathematics but not in common textual use and a chosen set of entity names, based where possible on those already assigned by previous influential methods of computer composition of mathematics. (July 1, 1997, in good time to be represented as our opinion on entity names to the TR9573 Working Group)
- A list of suggested sources of fonts to permit printed and visual representations of as many HTML-Math entities as possible. (July 1, 1997)
- A first proposal to Unicode of characters which need to be added to their tables for math purposes. (July 1, 1997)

- Final prototypes (May 15, 1998)
- An agreed specification of an HTML-Math standard now covering math research papers and showing extensibility mechanisms.
- At least one full implementation using this standard for math expression markup, demonstrating the characteristics set out in our overall goals.
- Report on audio rendering of HTML-Math expressions.
- Demonstration of transfer of HTML-Math expressions to and from some computer algebra system.
- A second proposal of Unicode additions.
- Submission of a document to the IETF for the purpose of registering a MIME type.

To ensure the freedom of discussion sometimes necessary for an open and fruitful exchange of views the e-mail archives of the Working Group will not be open to other than group members.

- Within W3C
- Support with planning and logistics for meetings for face-to-face discussion probably held at roughly 6-month intervals. This will involve obtaining meeting space, reserving accommodation for participants and catering so as to maximize effective working time.
- Web pages at the W3C site to post the information referred to under Openness above.
- Use of teleconferencing facilities for a regular weekly hour-long telephone discussion meeting.
- A contact person at the W3C to coordinate the above, to keep a watching brief on the running of the Working Group, and to make arrangements when results are to be put before the W3C.

- Outside W3C

Aside from the dedicated work of the Group members, a chair is required to facilitate discussion and coordinate efforts; the tasks of posting minutes and other materials to the groups Web pages must be taken care of too. Patrick Ion and Robert Miner have volunteered to serve the Group by performing these roles as joint Co-Chairs from 12 March 1997.

Send comments to Patrick Ion (ion@math.ams.org) or to Robert Miner (rminer@geom.umn.edu)