General Introduction

This “Tag Library” is provided as a service to users of ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2011, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite; the Tag Library is not part of NISO Z39.96. It contains non-normative information that is intended to be helpful to users of NISO Z39.96, including:
  • Remarks on usage and relationships among elements and attributes;
  • Structural Diagrams, showing the element hierarchy;
  • Tagging examples;
  • Best practice recommendations;
  • Implementation advice;
  • Discussion of accessibility and the Tag Suite; and
  • Pointers to (non-normative) downloadable versions of DTDs, XSDs, and RNGs that implement the NISO JATS Tag Sets.
The intent of the Journal Article Tag Suite is to provide a common format in which publishers and archives can exchange journal content. The Suite provides a set of XML schema modules that define elements and attributes for describing the textual and graphical content of journal articles as well as some non-article material such as letters, editorials, and book and product reviews.

Introduction to the Journal Publishing Tag Set


The Journal Publishing Tag (“Publishing”) Set defines elements and attributes that describe the content and metadata of journal articles, including research and non-research articles, letters, editorials, and book and product reviews. The Tag Set allows for descriptions of the full article content or just the article header metadata.
Publishing is a moderately prescriptive tag set, optimized for archives that wish to regularize and control their content, not to accept the sequence and arrangement presented to them by any particular publisher. The Tag Set is also intended for use by publishers for the initial XML tagging of journal material, usually as converted from an authoring form like Microsoft Word.
Because Publishing is optimized for regularizing an archive or establishing a sequence of elements to aid print and web production, the Tag Set is smaller than the Archiving and Interchange Tag Set. There are fewer elements, fewer choices in many contexts, and a particular element sequence is imposed more often.
The philosophy of this Publishing Tag Set is to prefer a single structural form whenever possible. The Publishing Tag Set is optimized for regularizing an archive or establishing a sequence of elements to aid print and web production. Elements and tagging choices are limited to produce consistent data structures to enable output products and to provide a single location of information for searching.


By design, this is a model for journal articles, such as the typical research article found in an STM journal, and not a model for complete journals. This Tag Set does not include an overarching model for a collection of articles. In addition, the following journal material is not described by this Tag Set:
  • Company, product, or service display advertising
  • Job search or classified advertising
  • Calendars, meeting schedules, and conference announcements (except as these can be tagged as ordinary articles, sub-articles, or sections within articles)
  • Material specific to an individual journal, such as Author Guidelines, Policy and Scope statements, editorial or advisory boards, detailed indicia, etc.

Structural Overview

The Journal Publishing Tag Set defines a document that is a top-level component of a journal such as an article, a book or product review, or a letter to the editor. Each such document is composed of one or more parts; if there is more than one part, they must appear in the following order:
  • Front matter (required). The article front matter contains the metadata for the article (also called article header information), for example, the article title, the journal in which it appears, the date and issue of publication for that issue of that journal, a copyright statement, etc. This is not textual front matter as appears in books, rather this is bibliographic information about the article and the journal in which it was published.
  • Body of the article (optional). The body of the article is the main textual and graphic content of the article. This usually consists of paragraphs and sections, which may themselves contain figures, tables, sidebars (boxed text), etc. The body of the article is optional to accommodate those repositories that just keep article header information and do not tag the textual content.
  • Back matter for the article (optional). If present, the article back matter contains information that is ancillary to the main text, such as a glossary, appendix, or list of cited references.
  • Floating Material (optional). A publisher may choose to place all the floating objects in an article (such as tables, figures, boxed text sidebars, etc.) into a separate container element outside the narrative flow for convenience of processing.
  • Following the front, body, back, and floating material, there may be either one or more responses to the article or one or more subordinate articles:
    • Response. A response is a commentary on the article itself, for example, an opinion from an editor on the importance of the article or a reply from the original author to a letter concerning his article.
    • Sub-article. A sub-article is a small article that is completely contained inside another article.

Tag Sets Developed from the Suite

XML schemas (DTDs, XSDs, and RNGs) are provided for 4 different variations of the Publishing Tag Set:
  • Publishing Tag Set using XHTML tables and MathML 2.0
  • Publishing Tag Set using XHTML tables and MathML 3.0
  • Publishing Tag Set using both XHTML tables and OASIS Exchange CALS tables with MathML 2.0
  • Publishing Tag Set using both XHTML tables and OASIS Exchange CALS tables with MathML 3.0
There is a separate Tag Library describing the OASIS Exchange CALS Table model which is available at:
This Publishing Tag Set is one of several created from the Suite. Information about the other Tag Sets may be found at the following site:

How to Read This Tag Library

Terms and Definitions

Elements are nouns, like “speech” and “speaker”, that represent components of journal articles, the articles themselves, and accompanying metadata.
Attributes hold facts about an element, such as which type of list (e.g., numbered, bulleted, or plain) is being requested when using the List (<list>) tag, or the name of a pointer to an external file that contains an image. Each attribute has both a name (e.g., @list-type) and a value (e.g., “bullet”).
Data about the data, for example, bibliographic information. The distinction is between metadata elements which describe an article (such as the name of the journal in which an article was published or the article title) versus elements which contain the textual and graphical content of the article.

How To Start Using This Tag Library

How you use the documentation will depend on what you need to learn about the modules and this Tag Set.

Learn this Tag Set

If you want to learn about the elements and the attributes in this Tag Set so you can tag documents or learn how the journal article model is constructed, here is a good way to start.
  • Read the Tag Library General Introduction, taking particular note of the next section that describes the parts of the Tag Library so you will know what resources are available.
  • Next, if you do not know the symbols used in the Document Hierarchy diagrams, read the “Key to the Near & Far® Diagrams”.
  • Scan the Document Hierarchy diagrams to get a good sense of the top-level elements and their contents. (Find what is inside an <article>, now what is inside each of the four large pieces of an article, keep working your way down.)
  • Pick an element from one of the diagrams. (Look up the element in the Elements Section to find the full element, the definition, usage notes, content allowed inside the element, where the element may be used, and a list of any attributes. Look up one of the attributes to find its full name, usage notes, potential values, and whether it has a default.)
Finally, if you are interested in conversion from a particular source:
  • Look at an article in a printed or online journal (and look at the DTD/schema for the other journal if there is one).
    • Can all the information you want to store from an article fit into the models shown in the diagrams?
    • Do you have, or know how to get, all the information the models require? Will that information always be available for documents that are complete and correct?
    • How difficult will it be to identify the parts of the information using the elements and attributes described in these models? Would changes to one or more models make this easier?
  • Now look at some non-article content, such as a news column, a book review, or some letters to the editor. Are there tags to handle all these article types and all their components?

Structure of This Tag Library

This Tag Library contains the following sections:
How To Use (Read Me First)
How to make best use of this Tag Library to reference XML tags, become familiar with the Publishing Tag Set as a whole, or see examples of recommended usage.
Root Element
Naming the <article> element as the root of this XML schema (DTD, XSD, RNG).
General Introduction
This introduction to the contents of this Tag Library, to the design philosophy and intended usage of the JATS DTD Suite, and to the Journal Publishing Tag Set.
Selecting a Model & Schema
Describing the variant Archiving schemas and how to choose the right one for your implementation.
Elements Section
Descriptions of the elements used in the Journal Publishing Tag Set and the parts of the JATS DTD Suite used in this Tag Set. The element descriptions are listed in alphabetical order by tag name.
[Note: Each element has two names: a “tag name” (formally called an element-type name) that is used in tagged documents, in the DTDs/schemas, and by XML software; and an “element name” (usually longer) that provides a fuller, more descriptive name for the benefit of human readers. For example, a tag name might be <disp-quote> with the corresponding element name Quote, Displayed, or a tag name might be <verse-group> with the corresponding element name Verse Form for Poetry.]
Attributes Section
Descriptions of the attributes in the Journal Publishing Tag Set. Like elements, attributes also have two names: the shorter machine-readable one and a (usually longer) human-readable one. Attributes are listed in order by the shorter, machine-readable names. For example, the attribute short name @list-type instead of the more informal, easier to read: Type of List.
Parameter Entities Section
Names (with occasional descriptions) and contents of the parameter entities in the JATS DTD modules.
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 Article Samples
Two full articles are provided in both PDF format and in XML according to this Tag Set. These are provided to help users understand the relationship between the article as displayed and the XML version of the article.
Common Tagging Practice
Tips, tricks, hints, and examples of how (and why) to tag certain structures using this Tag Set.
Brief description of how NISO JATS approaches the 508 and WCAG 2.0 Accessibility issues.
Modifying This Tag Set
Implementor’s instructions for using this Tag Set, customizing this Tag Set, or making derivative tag sets based on this one.
Version 1.2d2 Change Report
Pointer to the description of the changes made in response to the public comments on the JATS Standing Committee Draft Versions 1.2d1 received through the end of April 2018, that resulted in this NISO JATS version 1.2d2 Tag Set (Z39.96-2015 V1.2 Committee Draft the first 1.2d2).
Element Context Table
A listing of where each element may be used. All elements in this Tag Set are given in a single alphabetical list.
The Element Context Table is formatted in two columns. The first column (“This Element”) names an element, with the name shown in pointy brackets. In the second column (“May Be Contained In”) for each element is an alphabetical list of all the elements in which the first column element may occur. For example, if the first column contains the element <front> and the second column contains only the <article> element, this means that the <front> element may only be used directly inside an <article>. Most elements may be used inside more than one other element. For example, the element <def> (a definition) may be used inside the <abbrev> and the <def-item> elements.
The Element Context Table contains the same information that is found on each element page under the heading “This element may be contained in:”.
Where to find elements, tags, and terms used in this Tag Library. Includes synonyms (terms not used in this Tag Set) that direct the reader to elements used in this Tag Library; for example, “author” is paired with Contributor <contrib>.
Supporting Documentation Home
The Journal Publishing Tag Set is available in three forms: an XML Document Type Definition (DTD), a W3C XML Schema (XSD), and a RELAX NG Schema (RNG). Each of these formats is available in two forms: a zipped file containing a downloadable version of the schema (often in multiple files), and a readable/browsable version in which the internal markup has been escaped.

Tag Library Typographic Conventions

<alt-text> The tag name of an element (written in lower case with the entire name surrounded by “< >”)
Alternate Text Name (for a figure, etc.) The element name (long descriptive name of an element) or the descriptive name of an attribute (written in title case, with important words capitalized, and the words separated by spaces)
@nameThe “@” sign before a name indicates an attribute name.
must not Emphasis to stress a point


We thank, Molecular Biology of the Cell, and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. for providing many of the sample articles used in this Tag Library.