## NIST Releases Updated Handbook of Math Functions 128

Posted
by
kdawson

from the essential-reference dept.

from the essential-reference dept.

An anonymous reader writes

*"NIST announced the publishing of the*The original*NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions*reference text (967 pp), also available in digital form at the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. Access it with a MathML-enabled browser (Firefox or IE+plugin) to view equations as scalable text rather than bitmaps; the 3-D graphs can also be viewed with a VRML plugin for local rotating / zooming."*Handbook of Mathematical Functions*was published 46 years ago; the revision has been in the works for a decade.
## may be offtopic (Score:4, Interesting)

If you are looking for a good math reference I would recommend Mathematical Handbook for Scientists and Engineers by Korns [amazon.com]

Russian translation of it was a must-have for every member of Russian "technicheskaya intelligentsiya".

## Opera MathML support (Score:4, Interesting)

Opera has had MathML support since 9.5, but it looks like this page serves up PNGs for equations to Opera unless the user-agent is changed. When the user-agent is changed, MathML is served up, but the rendering is off, with little blank boxes dotted around (see this page for example: http://dlmf.nist.gov/2.7 [nist.gov] ). Anyone else getting similar results?

-molo

## Question for mathematicians (Score:4, Interesting)

## Epic Fail (Score:4, Interesting)

I have been waiting for this to come out for a while but I see a number of reasons for disappointment.

First, a big part of the reason for having a library of mathematical functions compiled by a government agency is to have a public domain source that can be reused for any purpose in any field of endeavor. They screwed that up royally: "© 2010 NIST". Commerfcial use is specifically prohibited. Ironic considering that NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce. And since comercial use is prohibited, it can't be used in software distributed under a permissive license which allows commercial use.

Second, they call it a "digital library" but it isn't. It is more or less a book in html by chapters. They used MathML instead of OpenMATH. MathML is too presentational and not sufficiently semantic. You should be able to configure OpenMATH or MathML or PNG produced from the OpenMath and you should be able to download OpenMath content dictionaries.

It is still useful as a free-for-viewing-only ebook, but that is only a tiny fraction of what it should have been. Tax payers got gyped. We paid perhaps 90% of the cost for 20% of the result, and the copyright even interferes with someone else finishing the job.

## Re:Epic Fail (Score:4, Interesting)

I am wondering what the legal basis for the restriction on commercial use might be. US government publications are in the public domain - there is no crown copyright at the federal level in the US. So the only situation in which they can legitimately impose restrictions is when they are reproducing material whose copyright is owned by others.

## Re:42 (Score:3, Interesting)