MathML for units and natural language–math combo expressions?

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MathML for units and natural language–math combo expressions? thread
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I think this is more or less a yes or no question.

We have a book that has a lot of combination natural language and mathematical expressions with units that are included in-line. For example:


Investigations: positive culture in CSF; meningeal inflammation (increased pleocytosis, low glucose in CSF); CSF absolute neutrophil count ≥ 1000/μL (1 × 10^9/L); CSF protein level ≥ 80 mg/dL (0.8 g/L); peripheral blood absolute neutrophil count ≥ 10 000/μL (10 × 10^9/L); CT scan, MRI


I’m thinking these expressions need to use MathML, is that correct? In general, for expressions that include units (e.g., g/L), is MathML preferred? And one question that goes beyond yes/no: could anyone offer me an example of what the MathML for the expressions “CSF absolute neutrophil count ≥ 1000/μL” and “1 × 10^9/L” would be?

APLN Moderator

Hi krollans!

I’m not very familiar with MathML, and unfortunately haven’t encountered it too much in the conversions I’ve handled. But regarding units: yes, you can use MathML for expressions that have units. The W3C spec for Units in MathML (with example code) can be found here:

As for the expression, you might need to dig through the following resources:

You could also try to find a MathML generator online and double check HTML entities or unicode values for the math characters/symbols.

An example code of combinations of natural language and math expressions can be found here:


Hi again,

Thanks for your reply!

I’m wondering if you can talk a bit about the importance of using unicode in EPUBs. I’ve seen lots of advice all over the internet around whether to use the hex code or just type the character into the code from your keyboard. (In the example you give at the end of your post, they just use the characters, not the unicode.)

Are there any recommendations around this?


I would tend to use MathML if I was using numerous units or expressions even if it wasn’t traditional “math” equations. It would depend on how many expressions and the context of the document.

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