ElementTree XML parsing problem

Mike Mike at invalid.invalid
Wed Apr 27 20:26:05 CEST 2011

I'm using ElementTree to parse an XML file, but it stops at the second 
record (id = 002), which contains a non-standard ascii character, ä. 
Here's the XML:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<snapshot time="Mon Apr 25 08:47:23 PDT 2011">
<record id="001" education="High School" employment="7 yrs" />
<record id="002" education="Universität Bremen" employment="3 years" />
<record id="003" education="River College" employment="5 yrs" />

The complaint offered up by the parser is

Unexpected error opening simple_fail.xml: not well-formed (invalid 
token): line 5, column 40

and if I change the line to eliminate the ä, everything is wonderful. 
The parser is perfectly happy with this modification:

<record id="002" education="University Bremen" employment="3 yrs" />

I can't find anything in the ElementTree docs about allowing additional 
text characters or coercing strange ascii to Unicode.

Is there a way to coerce the text so it doesn't cause the parser to 
raise an exception?

Here's my test script (simple_fail contains the offending line, and 
simple_pass contains the line that passes).

import sys
import xml.etree.ElementTree as ET

def main():

     xml_files = ['simple_fail.xml', 'simple_pass.xml']
     for xml_file in xml_files:

         print 'XML file: %s' % (xml_file)

             tree = ET.parse(xml_file)
         except Exception, inst:
             print "Unexpected error opening %s: %s" % (xml_file, inst)

         root = tree.getroot()
         records = root.find('records')
         for record in records:
             print record.attrib['id'], record.attrib['education']

if __name__ == "__main__":


-- Mike --

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