Silmaril Consultants

The Information Consultancy

Your information is important. We can help you take care of it.

Millions of people produce billions of words a day between them.

  • How much of it reaches its target audience intact?

  • How much survives the year in a usable form?

  • Does it have the intended effect?

Is your business losing customers because they cannot actually read what you wrote? — in letters, in reports, in contracts, on Web pages, in documentation, in email, in white papers?

  1. Unknown file format?
  2. Non-existent font?
  3. Wrong resolution?
  1. Information unreadable?
  2. Too slow to load?
  3. Not searchable?
  1. Weird characters?
  2. Copy won't paste?
  3. No application found?

If any of these sound familiar, have look at the services we provide.


  1. XML
  2. XSLT
  3. LATEX
  4. Typesetting
  5. Training
  6. Editorial services

We are always pleased to discuss your requirements, even if they are not covered explicitly here. The contact page has our number and email address.


Document Type design (RNG/DTD/Schema) to guide the creation of structured documents;

Document management and workflow design;


Transformation of XML documents to [X]HTML and other dialects of XML, and to LATEX and other markup languages;

Implementation of business rules and exception-handling within transformations.


Document Class and Package design and management to implement the creation of document structures;

Document management and workflow design;


Formatting to publishers' specifications (books, journals, articles, reports, etc; see Publications below);

Typesetting from transformations from XML.


Courses run on client premises

  • Introduction to XML editing

  • XML Document Type design and management

  • Introduction to LATEX

  • LATEX for Publishing staff

  • LATEX Document Class and Package creation

Editorial services

Document creation





  1. Séamas Ó Direáin (2014) Spoken Irish in the Aran Islands, Dublin : Royal Irish Academy, 1069 pp (In preparation).
  2. Séamus Ó Tuama (editor) (2009) Critical Turns in Critical Theory: New Directions in Social and Political Thought, Amsterdam : Rodopi, ISBN 9781845115593 (A Festschrift for Piet Strydom, typeset from the editor's ODF XML).
  3. Mathew MacNamara (2004) La Textualisation de Madame Bovary, Amsterdam : Rodopi, ISBN 9789042009844 (An analysis of the way Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary, with parallel-aligned text showing Flaubert's edits and notes alongside Prof MacNamara's crticial explanation and comments).
  4. Carlo Collodi, retold by Pádraig Ó Buachalla and illustrated by Roberto Innocenti, edited by Seán Ua Súilleabháin and Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (2003) Éachtra Phinocchio, London : Random House, 142 pp, ISBN 0954455401 (A new Irish rendering of the traditional Pinocchio story, with illustrations positioned identically to their location in the other translations).
  5. C Trallero-Giner, R Pérez-Alvarez and F García-Moliner (1998) Long Wave Polar Modes in Semiconductor Heterostructures, Oxford : Pergamon, 165 pp, ISBN 0080426948 (Largely mathematical work edited by the authors in Scientific Word (LATEX) with every equation scaled to a different type-size to fit the page).
  6. Aloys Fleischmann (1997) Sources of Irish Traditional Music c. 1600-1855: An Annotated Catalogue of Prints & Manuscripts, 1583–1855, New York : Garland, ISBN 082406948X (The late Prof Fleischmann's life's work, edited and brought to publication by Paul McGettrick and Micheál Ó Suilleabháin. We provided the programming and typesetting for the musical index, a unique 12–note locator for the tunes, titles, and first lines).
  7. Seán Connolly (1997) Bede: On Tobit & the Canticle of Habakkuk, Dublin : Four Courts Press, ISBN 1851822836 (Translation with notes; with an Introduction by Diarmuid Scully).
  8. Seán Connolly (1996) Bede: On the Temple, Liverpool : Liverpool University Press, ISBN 0853230498 (Translation; with an Introduction by Jennifer O'Reilly).
  9. Jurek Kirakowski and Mary Corbett (1990) Effective Methodology for the Study of HCI, Amsterdam : North-Holland, 363 pp [Human Factors in Information Technology 5], ISBN 0444884475.
  10. Jurek Kirakowski (1988) Human-Computer Interaction: From Voltage to Knowledge, London : Chartwell-Bratt, ISBN 9144283717.

Contact us

Ireland is on GMT (UTC), one hour behind Central European, five hours ahead of Eastern, and eight hours ahead of Pacific time. We love to get your calls, but at 4am our time we're likely to be asleep.

Please do not include web addresses or markup characters in your message.


Applications and utilities we have developed for general use.

  1. XML-to-CSV demo
  2. Decorative Rule
  3. Autorun CDs
  4. Directory List
  5. Linux Keyboard
  6. Unicode Private Use Areas

The software and documents linked here are provided under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA or the LATEX Project Public License (LPPL), as appropriate.

XML-to-CSV demo

A Bourne shell script to convert simple data from XML to CSV using onsgmls and awk; look, Mom — no XSLT!

Linux Keyboard

Details of accented letters and other symbols on Linux keyboards.

Decorative Rule

A programmatically derived decorative swelled rule generated in LATEX (so no repeated graphics required).

Unicode Private Use Areas

Shakespeare's 18th Sonnet in the original Klingon with TEI XML markup in Quenya (Elvish).

Autorun CDs

An autorun program to make your CD-ROMs start automatically under MS-Windows by opening index.html in the user's default browser or editor.

Directory List

Bourne shell script using awk to create a recursive directory listing as an XML instance (comes with DTD).


Free teaching and self-learning materials

  1. The XML FAQ
  2. Formatting Information
  3. The LATEX Brochure
  4. LATEX Typeface Sampler

The software and documents linked here are provided under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA or the LATEX Project Public License (LPPL), as appropriate.


Frequently-asked questions on XML and related technologies, with answers from experts in the field

LATEX Typeface Sampler

This is a two-page sampler showing most of the typefaces (Type 1 and Type 3) which are available free from CTAN for any installation of LaTeX.

Formatting Information

A 200-page introduction to typesetting with LaTeX designed for those with no previous experience. This is the fifth edition (an earlier edition was published by the TeX Users Group in TUGboat vol. 23 No. 2).

Participation and Outreach

Things we are part of


TEX Users Group

Typesetting, document structure, fonts, editing, and typography in Portland, OR (July 2014)


The markup conference, moving this year from its long-time home in Montréal to Bethesda, MD (August 2014).

XML Summerschool

The XML training event, a week-long immersion in XSLT, XQuery, Publishing, Linked Data, and everything XML (for beginners and experts) at St Edmund Hall, Oxford (September 2014)


IETF Working Group on HTML

How HTML was designed

The CELT Project

The world's largest collection of Irish texts from c.650 to the Good Friday Agreement (all in TEI XML, and, incidentally, Ireland's and UCC's first web site)

Those quotations

Things people have said about text and textuality

This is a collection of quotations, some of which used to be on our front page. So many people asked for them we decided to collect them together and keep them. If you have any more to add, please mail them to us.

Amanda Lynn has very kindly translated them all into Belorussian on FatCow.

Anonymous client

Textual Therapy is the new paradigm: massaging your boss's ego has been replaced by massaging her information.

From the ClueTrain Manifesto

The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery.

Peter Flynn

…persuading users that spreading fonts across the page like peanut butter across hot toast is not the route to typographic excellence. (posted on comp.fonts)

…XSL: Think like a tree, not like a chainsaw. (posted on the XSL mailing list)

Frederic Goudy

Any man who would letter-space blackletter would shag sheep.


XML isn't about pointy brackets and arcane rules, it's about improving your bottom line by making your information work harder.

Senior administrator of an Irish university in 1987

This computer networking thing will never take off…it's just a device to let operators chat to each other.

Anonymous Usenet poster

Lots of systems pretend that what you see is what you get, but unless you have a 1270dpi paper-white A4 screen, WYSIWYG is just a bare-faced lie. LATEX's screen preview is great, but its real forte is that it just sets type superlatively well, again and again. For the technologically aware, the payback can be immense.

Beta Starchild

The paperless office will arrive at about the same time as the paperless toilet.

About us

Who we are

Silmaril is a small consultancy based in Cork, Ireland, ideally placed for serving clients in both Europe and North America.

Our core activities centre on information handling, especially textual information. We work mainly with SGML and XML systems; information transfer from wordprocessor and DTP formats, including the reuse of legacy information; and publishing automation systems using XML, XSLT, and LATEX.

Our client list extends to the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and North America, and includes publishers, software vendors, multinational manufacturers, financial services companies, and local, national, and European government offices. Projects include programming and automation solutions, project management, training and education, quality control, and documentation systems.

We are always pleased to discuss your requirements, even if they are not covered explicitly here. The contact page has our number and email address.