TEI by ExampleModule 7: Critical EditingRon Van den BrandenEdward VanhoutteMelissa TerrasAssociation for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC)Centre for Data, Culture and Society, University of Edinburgh, UKCentre for Digital Humanities (CDH), University College London, UKCentre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH), King’s College London, UKCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB)Royal Academy of Dutch Language and LiteratureKoningstraat 189000 GentBelgiumctb@kantl.beEdward VanhoutteMelissa TerrasCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumGentCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB)Royal Academy of Dutch Language and LiteratureKoningstraat 189000 GentBelgium
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9 July 2010TEI By Example.Edward VanhoutteeditorRon Van den BrandeneditorMelissa Terraseditor
TEI By Example offers a series of freely available online tutorials walking individuals through the different stages in marking up a document in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Besides a general introduction to text encoding, step-by-step tutorial modules provide example-based introductions to eight different aspects of electronic text markup for the humanities. Each tutorial module is accompanied with a dedicated examples section, illustrating actual TEI encoding practise with real-life examples. The theory of the tutorial modules can be tested in interactive tests and exercises.
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Describing Text Witnesses
When creating, generating or digitising a critical edition, it is of crucial importance to document the text witnesses whose transcriptions it contains. This can be done in a listWit (list of witnesses) element, which can be put either in the sourceDesc section of the TEI header (when creating or generating a critical edition), or somewhere in the text, usually in the front section (when digitising an existing critical edition). The listWit element should describe each text witness in its own witness element. This element can contain a prose description of the witness in plain text, possibly enriched with a specialised element for bibliographic description (bibl, biblStruct, or biblFull). The witness definitions should provide a unique identification code in the xml:id attribute. This code is used as a sigil in the critical edition, in order to connect the textual variants with the respective witnesses in which they occur (see ). For example, the witness list for our critical edition of the TEI Guidelines could look as follows:
Such bibliographic descriptions of course are easier for printed works than for manuscripts; for the latter type of witnesses, some kind of description inside listWit is advised, preferably with a pointer (using ptr or ref) to a full description of the manuscript inside msDescription.
For a full discussion of the msDescription element, see section 10.2 The Manuscript Description Element of the TEI Guidelines, and section 22.214.171.124 The Witness List for examples of describing manuscript witnesses in a digital edition.
In a critical edition, it may make sense to discern groups of witnesses that have many text variants in common in comparison to other witnesses and can often be conveniently summarised in one sigil. In the witness list, witnesses can be grouped by wrapping their witness descriptions in nesting listWit structures. The common sigil then can be provided as the value for an xml:id attribute of the group’s listWit element. The nested witness groups can be labelled with a head element. For example, in our sample text witnesses it may make sense to discern those versions of the TEI Guidelines dealing with SGML, and those dealing with XML. This could look as follows:
The different text witnesses included in a critical edition should be documented in a listWit element. Such a list may occur in the sourceDesc section of the TEI header (for digital editions created or generated from scratch), or in the text of the edition, usually in the front section (for digital editions digitised from an existing edition). Each text witness should be described in a witness element, containing either a prose description as plain text, possibly enriched with specific TEI elements for bibliographic description (bibl, biblStruct, biblFull). An xml:id attribute must be provided for each witness, which is used as the sigil for this witness in the edition. Witness groups can be distinguished in separate nested listWit elements.
Vanhoutte, Edward, and Ron Van den Branden. 2009. Describing, Transcribing, Encoding, and Editing Modern Correspondence Material: a Textbase Approach. Literary and Linguistic Computing24 (1): 77–98. 10.1093/llc/fqn035.