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Introduction to XML For Web Developers
Character Data  

Character data may be any legal (Unicode) character with the exception of "<". The "<" character is reserved for the start of a tag.

XML also provides a couple of useful entity references that you can use so as not to create any doubt whether you are specifying character data versus markup. Specifically, XML provides the following entity references:

Character Entity Reference
> &gt;
< &lt;
& &amp;
" &quot;
' &apos;

Obviously, the < entity reference is useful for character data. The other entity references can be used within markup in cases in which there could be confusion such as:

<STATEMENT VALUE = "She said, "Don't go there!"">

Which should be written as:

<STATEMENT VALUE = "She said, &quot;Don&apos;t go there!&quot;">

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