Lexware band format dictionary files to XML with Band2xml
In the 1970's, 80's and 90's
many (50 or more) large bilingual dictionaries of exotic languages were created
using the Lexware software and band format developed by Bob Hsu at the
University of Hawaii. Use of
Lexware, a batch oriented system, declined with the appearance of graphical user interfaces
like Windows and Macintosh.
It would be wonderful if these bilingual dictionaries created in band
format could be made available on the web.
Since the late 1990's a new universal standard for information organization called XML (Extensible Markup Language) has been developed. XML, like Lexware band format, is a flexible system for marking hierarchically organized text with user-defined labels. While XML is being used for all kinds of information from texts and web pages to bank records, it is really a natural for dictionary formatting.
Compare this band format sample of the Alabama dictionary with the XML version. The processing that was done with the Lexware software can be done with XSLT (XML Stylesheet Language for Transformations), which is an international standard designed for operations on tree-structured data.
Click here for a sample
XSLT stylesheet that transforms the previously mentioned XML dictionary
fragment into this formatted
web page complete with clickable links to cross-referenced entries. This html version can also be opened and edited in MS Word
or some other word processor to produce a formatted print version for
publication. (The XML version of the sample was also converted
to Unicode before formatting.)
If you want to convert a band
format dictionary to XML, you can download
Band2xml. Once you have your
dictionary in XML, you can use XSLT to produce a hypertext electronic dictionary
ready for publication.
Band2xml.exe will run on any version of Windows and even MSDOS or on a Mac under a Windows or DOS emulator. It requires no special installation. Simply put the file into any folder. To use it, drag and drop your band format dictionary text file (note that only plain text files work) onto Band2xml.exe. A new file with a .xml extension will be created. For example, if you drag and drop a file called "KlDictionary.txt" onto Band2xml.exe, the XML version will be created in "KlDictionary.xml". The program does nothing else. You can check the format of the new XML file by opening it with a recent version of Internet Explorer. If you're interested, you can look at the source code for Band2xml.
Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.