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The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), a consortium of institutions and research projects, maintains and develops a standard for the representation of texts in digital form. Originally sponsored by three scholarly societies, the TEI is now an independent membership consortium, hosted by academic institutions in the US and in Europe. Its major deliverable is a set of Guidelines, which specify encoding methods for machine-readable texts, chiefly in the humanities, social sciences and linguistics. Since 1994, these guidelines are a widely-used standard for text materials for performing online research and teaching, and TEI is now the de facto standard for the encoding of electronic texts in the humanities academic community.[1]

Contents

Sponsors and organisation

The scholarly societies originally sponsoring the TEI are the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Computational Linguistics, and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing. These three groups first organized the TEI in 1987 as a research effort funded by grants from several agencies.[2] The Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange were released in 1994, co-edited by Lou Burnard (at Oxford University) and Michael Sperberg-McQueen (then at the University of Illinois at Chicago, later at W3C and now an independent consultant).

Today, the TEI Consortium is a member-funded non-profit corporation hosted by:

The guidelines

The Guidelines define some 500 different textual components and concepts, which can be expressed using a markup language and defined by a DTD or XML schema. Early versions of the Guidelines used SGML as a means of expression; more recently XML has been adopted. The basic concepts have been stable for over a decade, with TEI P3 (public release version 3) published in 1994, and updated in 1999. P4 (2002) is a slight update to accommodate XML; TEI P5 was released in November 2007. P5 includes integration with the xml:lang and xml:id attributes from the W3C[3] (these had previously been attributes in the TEI namespace), regularisation of local pointing attributes to use the hash (as used in HTML) and unification of the ptr and xptr tags. Together these changes make P5 more regular and bring it closer to current xml practise as promoted by the W3C and as used by other XML variants.

The TEI scheme is a modular one, designed to be customized for particular research or production environments. Many different applications of it are possible; one very popular example customization is a subset known as TEI Lite.

There is ongoing work on TEI P5 which, although it breaks backward compatibility in a number of ways, has significantly updated the inner workings including a reorganization of the underlying structures of elements into classes which allow greater and easier customization. Maintenance and development continue under the sponsorship of the TEI Consortium. The TEI component for marking up feature structures (a model of data sometimes used in linguistics) has been adopted as the basis of the ongoing development of an ISO standard for feature structures.

TEI projects

The TEI is used by many projects worldwide. Practically all projects are associated with one on more universities. Some well-known projects that encode texts using TEI include:

Project URL Strengths
Canterbury Tales Project http://www.canterburytalesproject.org/ Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Henrik Ibsens skrifter http://www.ibsen.uio.no/his/ Writings of Henrik Ibsen
Inscriptions of Aphrodisias http://insaph.kcl.ac.uk/ Texts from Aphrodisias in modern Turkey
Medieval Nordic Text Archive http://www.menota.org/ Medieval Nordic Texts
Oxford Text Archive http://ota.ahds.ac.uk/ Linguistic data
Perseus Project http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ Greek and Latin texts
Women Writers Project http://www.wwp.brown.edu/ Early modern women writers (Margaret Cavendish, Eliza Haywood, etc)
Emory Women Writers Resource Project http://womenwriters.library.emory.edu/ Early modern through 20th century women writers
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre http://www.nzetc.org/ New Zealand and Pacific Islands texts
Dharma Drum Buddhist College Library http://www.ddbc.edu.tw/digital_archives/projects.html Buddhist texts
Newton Project http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/ Scientific and theological writings of Isaac Newton
The SWORD Project http://www.crosswire.org/sword/ Bible software, dictionaries, Christian literature
The CELT Project http://www.ucc.ie/celt/ Irish literature in a variety of languages

TEI customizations

See also

References

  1. ^ See e.g. NEH 2007 Scholarly Editions Grants Guidelines ([1]): "Applicants are encouraged to use open standards and markup conforming to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), and to employ current best practices in creation of electronic editions."; JISC catalogue ([2]): "The TEI is the norm for deep text encoding in digital libraries and collections worldwide."; NEH Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities suggested topics ([3]): "Text Encoding Initiative, electronic editing, and publishing".
  2. ^ "Historical background", section iv.2 of TEI P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange.
  3. ^ http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml/

External links

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