Back-to-school season used to signal a severe outbreak of RDES (repetitive data-entry syndrome), but now some schools believe they've found a cure—extensible markup language (XML).

Every year at about this time, as the new students begin arriving, the Upper Dauphin Area School District in central Pennsylvania has gone through the same ritual.

Clerks would enter names and other information into computers used by school administrators. They would repeat the process to create network


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