MathTools

MathTools: an open API for convenient MathML handling. Mathematical formulae carry complex and essential semantic information in a variety of formats. Accessing this information with different systems requires a standardized machine-readable format that is capable of encoding presentational and semantic information. Even though MathML is an official recommendation by W3C and an ISO standard for representing mathematical expressions, we could identify only very few systems which use the full descriptiveness of MathML. MathML’s high complexity results in a steep learning curve for novice users. We hypothesize that this complexity is the reason why many community-driven projects refrain from using MathML, and instead develop problem-specific data formats for their purposes. We provide a user-friendly, open-source application programming interface for controlling MathML data. Our API allows one to create, manipulate, and efficiently access commonly needed information in presentation and content MathML. Our interface also provides tools for calculating differences and similarities between MathML expressions. The API also allows one to determine the distance between expressions using different similarity measures. In addition, we provide adapters for numerous conversion tools and the canonicalization project. Our toolkit facilitates processing of mathematics for digital libraries without the need to obtain XML expertise.