> > Many journals these days work from authorcreated tex files, and a
> > substantial portion of the authoring community uses amstex.
>
> I don't know of any converter myself, but do you have any idea why
> they still use amstex.
In the community of mathematician/authors? Inertia. AMSTeX was heavily
promoted by the AMS in the mid80s to facilitate electronic submission
of mathintensive documents to the AMS publishing program. Once an
author gets a working TeX system going it's easier for them to stick
with it than to go through the upheaval of switching to a different
system. Thus I'd guess the people who started using AMSTeX have
typically stayed with it for five years or more. And many of those in
the author population don't pay as much attention to recent developments
in the TeX world as we do. I dare say there are even a few authors out
there who discovered AMSTeX only two or three years ago and are right
now converting their acquaintances to the use of AMSTeX from the yet
more primitive typesetting systems (troff? T3? Word Perfect?) they were
using before.
Circa 1990 with the release of AMSLaTeX 1.0, LaTeX got enough
mathematical functionality to rival AMSTeX and mathematicians
(physicists, statisticians, ...) began to be lured from AMSTeX by the
other features LaTeX providesautomatic numbering, for example.
But I would estimate that the penetration of LaTeX among the people who
submit articles and books to the AMS has grown something like this:
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
5% 10% 15% 20% 30% 40% 55%? 60%?
which leaves still quite a few AMSTeX users out there.
> In particular if you (or someone else) put the
> work in to make a converter and then openly advertised submission
> requirements as
>
> `Submit articles in latex or amstex, in the latter case we will convert
> your document to latex in house before processing it.'
>
> Then at least some of those authors may think it worth the trouble to
> code it up in latex to start with.
The AMS has begun promoting LaTeX more strongly than AMSTeX in the last
year or so because the five primary AMS journals are published on the
WWW in HTML form now and LaTeX documents convert more easily than AMSTeX.
> `LaTeXlike' engines such as latex2html or ScientificWord, or do you
> `just' want something that will allow documents (or sections of
> documents) marked up in amstex to be processed directly by LaTeX.
We've already done this to a certain extent in order to process the
table of contents for journals that contain a mixture of LaTeX and
AMSTeX documents. (The titles often contain math ...)
The amstextolatex converter used by the AMS inhouse is written in
Omnimark and doesn't attempt to work miracles. Authordefined macros
that take delimited arguments typically have to be cleaned up by hand.
And the issues of automatic numbering and crossreferencing are rather
intractable. The converter does what it can with the relatively easy
parts and leaves the rest. For example, if a document has 10 theorems
the converter does
\newtheorem*{theorem1}{Theorem 1}
\newtheorem*{theorem2}{Theorem 2}
\newtheorem*{theorem3}{Theorem 3}
...
rather than try to deal with all the potential pitfalls of unusual
numbering schemes.
Michael Downes
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