Emotion Markup Language

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An Emotion Markup Language (EML or EmotionML) is defined by the W3C Emotion Incubator Group (EmoXG)[1] as a general-purpose emotion annotation and representation language, which should be usable in a large variety of technological contexts where emotions need to be represented. Emotion-oriented computing (or "affective computing") is gaining importance as interactive technological systems become more sophisticated. Representing the emotional states of a user or the emotional states to be simulated by a user interface requires a suitable representation format.

A standard Emotion Markup Language does not yet exist. Although several non-standard markup languages containing elements of emotion annotation have been proposed, none of these languages have undergone thorough scrutiny by emotion researchers, nor have they been designed for generality of use in a broad range of application areas.

In 2006, a first W3C Incubator Group, the Emotion Incubator Group (EmoXG), was set up "to investigate a language to represent the emotional states of users and the emotional states simulated by user interfaces"[2] with the final Report published on 10 July 2007.[3] In 2007, the Emotion Markup Language Incubator Group (EmotionML XG) was set up as a follow-up to the Emotion Incubator Group, "to propose a specification draft for an Emotion Markup Language, to document it in a way accessible to non-experts, and to illustrate its use in conjunction with a number of existing markups."[4] The final report of the Emotion Markup Language Incubator Group, Elements of an EmotionML 1.0, was published on 20 November 2008.[5]

A standard for an emotion markup language would be useful for the following purposes:

  • To enhance computer-mediated or human-machine communication. Emotions are a basic part of human communication and should therefore be taken into account, e.g. in emotional Chat systems or emphatic voice boxes. This involves specification, analysis and display of emotion related states.
  • To enhance systems' processing efficiency. Emotion and intelligence are strongly interconnected. The modeling of human emotions in computer processing can help to build more efficient systems, e.g. using emotional models for time-critical decision enforcement.

A standardised way to mark up the data needed by such "emotion-oriented systems" has the potential to boost development primarily because data that was annotated in a standardised way can be interchanged between systems more easily, thereby simplifying a market for emotional databases, and the standard can be used to ease a market of providers for sub-modules of emotion processing systems, e.g. a web service for the recognition of emotion from text, speech or multi-modal input.


  1. W3C Emotion Markup Language Incubator Group
  2. W3C Home Page News Archive, 2006
  3. W3C Emotion Incubator Group Report 10 July 2007
  4. Emotion Markup Language Incubator Group Charter
  5. Elements of an EmotionML 1.0, Final Report of the Emotion Markup Language Incubator Group, 20 November 2008

See also

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