Tuesday, 4 October 2016

blogging question #2: TEI in the wild

This week's blogging question involves some hunting and gathering: how do digitization projects, digital editions, and other forms of digital humanities research use and talk about the Text Encoding Initiative? Can you find a digital project that not only puts TEI to use, but also provides some explanation of its XML encoding strategies -- or even shares its XML for other researchers to use? The questions of what the TEI is good for, and how it functions in research, are central to the Elena Pierazzo reading this week, and the Julia Flanders reading assigned for our next class. This blogging question invites you to think about some of the same questions that they do in their articles, but also to focus on an example of a TEI project that reflects your own interests.

If you've checked out the recommended reading for our previous class, you'll have seen one example in the Comic Book Markup Language project. The example you find doesn't necessarily have to be a book-oriented project, but it should be doing something research-oriented and interesting with TEI. You could start by looking into the TEI community's online presence or conferences, and looking for projects affiliated with TEI or those that simply reference it.

Once you've found an example that interests you, tell us just a bit about what the project is, and how it puts XML to use. Does the project website give much detail about how it uses XML, and the encoding strategies it uses? Has the project gone so far as to publish articles about its methods and challenges? Finally, does the project make its code available for others to use? The answer to this last question could be more than a simple yes or no -- for example, a project might make code available only to subscribers, or, like the Folger Digital Texts project, to the public.

My guess is that projects that actually share their XML code (as distinct from talking about sharing it) will be in the minority -- or perhaps I'm just world-weary and jaded, and you'll prove me wrong! In any case, we should be able to build a collective picture of what TEI looks like in its natural habitat as of  2016. My hope is that this exercise in hunting-and-gathering, in combination with TEIbyExample and our next class on TEI and interface, will help us understand not just what XML is, but also what it's for.

Finally, if the project is somehow related to your group's encoding challenge example (as I imagine will be the case for several students, based on recent conversations about your projects) feel free to talk about the project in relation to your group's example as well -- with images, too, if that helps. When grading, we'll keep in mind that your group's submitted work for the assignment may differ from what you write about in your blog post, so feel free to use the post as a place to test out ideas that may evolve later.