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Since this thread has crept enough from database issues to warrant a new
name...

>[comma]
>> Mmm. I take your point, but feel a little uneasy about removing things
>> from the original text. I did it in my example with the quotes because I
>
>I wasn't really suggesting you should, just pointing out that you could.
>
>>         - Eat it now shouted dad.
>
>To say nothing of Joyce :-)
>

I've had the same experience with legal and medical markup. In both fields,
there are industry standard Style Guides that use punctuation marks as field
separators for citations. The resulting DTDs are complex (though no more
complex than the editorial structures contemplated in the Style Guides).
However, since humans -- read, authors -- also want to use punctuation
"naturally", an editorial system that uses short references to map the
punctuation to SGML elements tends to be brittle. The trade-off is between
being able to leverage punctuation and type exactly as one would wish to 95%
of the time while getting markup "for free", and an unholy mess 5% of the
time. Then, when the markup is SGML normalized, the short-ref'ed punctuation
disappears, and has to be generated. Worth it? Maybe if you have enough
citations. And if my 95/5 estimate is not too optimistic.

 Sam Hunting

P.S. Of course, in the historical scheme of things, punctuation and word
spaces were all originally "markup"....