Glyph Data for a Private Character

Most characters in an XML document can be expressed as regular Unicode® codes. Characters not in the Unicode Standard tables have traditionally been expressed as explicit font calls (non-portable), created as inline graphics, or defined in one of the Unicode private-use areas where users may define their own characters. The <glyph-data> element is used when there is known to be no font available to render a private-use character. This element provides information on the actual glyph that is associated with the private-use character.


The element <glyph-data> may include an inline bitmap of a glyph encoded in plain PBM (Plain Bit Map) format so that the glyph is human-readable. (See the tagged example that follows.)

Use of Unicode Codes. This Suite has been designed with Unicode values as the basic representation of all characters, including what are frequently called in publishing “special characters”, for example: Greek letters, publishing marks such as section symbols and em-dashes, mathematical symbols such as roots and fractions, alphabets with diacritics, etc. The use of combining characters is supported and encouraged, as is the use of entities defined by the STIX project (http://www.stixfonts.org). Unicode values in planes other than Plane 0 may be freely used. Use of private publisher entities and the Unicode Private Use Area is discouraged, but supported with the <private-char> element. With this element, a graphical image may be included or a corresponding bitmap or alternative Unicode character may be included using the <glyph-data> element.

Because of the potential for conflicts in assignments by different publishers, this Suite does not support assignment of values in the Unicode Private Use Area. Special characters defined by publishers as custom entities or in the Unicode Private Use Area are not typically handled by the NISO JATS Tag Sets. Publishers who have defined characters in the Private Use Area may:

Best Practice: The most repository-friendly technique is to use the element <glyph-data> to provide an individual bitmap. Private characters may also be described using <inline-graphic>. [We would like to thank the APS (American Physical Society) for providing us with this technique.] Since there are no completely standard/public agreements on how such characters are to be named and displayed, this technique is to be used (instead of a custom general entity reference) to provide complete information on the intended character. A document should contain a <private-char> element at each location where a private character is used within the document. The corresponding image for the glyph may be given in the <glyph-data> element, as a <glyph-ref> reference to a <glyph-data> element elsewhere in the document, or as an external file referenced by an <inline-graphic> element.


fontchar Font Character Table Offset
fontname Font Name
format Format
id Identifier
resolution Resolution of the Glyph Bitmap
xml:space Space
x-size X Size of the Glyph
y-size Y Size of the Glyph

Related Elements

This element <glyph-data> may only be used inside the <private-char> element.

Content Model

<!ELEMENT  glyph-data   (#PCDATA)                                    >


Text, numbers, or special characters

This element may be contained in:



<p>...The map symbol indicating these conditions will be a
<private-char name="NORTHWEST SOUTHEAST ARROW" description="Arrow,
normal weight, single line, two-headed, Northwest to Southeast">
<glyph-data id="NWSEArr" format="PBM" resolution="300"
x-size="34" y-size="34">
 0000000000000000000000000000000000 0111111111111100000000000000000000
 0111111111111100000000000000000000 0111110000000000000000000000000000
 0111110000000000000000000000000000 0111111000000000000000000000000000
 0110111100000000000000000000000000 0110011110000000000000000000000000
 0110001111000000000000000000000000 0110000111100000000000000000000000
 0110000011110000000000000000000000 0110000001111000000000000000000000
 0110000000111100000000000000000000 0110000000011110000000000000000000
 0110000000001111000000000000000000 0110000000000111100000000000000000
 0110000000000011110000000000000000 0000000000000001111000000000000000
 0000000000000000111100000000000110 0000000000000000011110000000000110
 0000000000000000001111000000000110 0000000000000000000111100000000110
 0000000000000000000011110000000110 0000000000000000000001111000000110
 0000000000000000000000111100000110 0000000000000000000000011110000110
 0000000000000000000000001111000110 0000000000000000000000000111100110
 0000000000000000000000000011110110 0000000000000000000000000001111110
 0000000000000000000000000001111110 0000000000000000011111111111111110
 0000000000000000011111111111111110 0000000000000000000000000000000000
 </glyph-data></private-char>. The NOAA 1993 standard definition of
<private-char name="NORTHWEST SOUTHEAST ARROW" description="Arrow,
normal weight, single line, two-headed, Northwest to Southeast">
<glyph-ref glyph-data="NWSEArr"/></private-char> will apply.