Module 1: Common Structure, Elements, and Attributes

1. Introduction

The conclusions and the work of the TEI consortium are formulated as guidelines, rules, and recommendations rather than standards, because it is acknowledged that each scholar must have the freedom of expressing their own theory of text by encoding the features they think important in the text. A wide array of possible solutions to encoding matters is demonstrated in the TEI Guidelines which therefore should be considered a reference manual rather than a tutorial.

Mastering the complete TEI encoding scheme implies a steep learning curve, but few projects require a complete knowledge of the TEI. Therefore, a manageable subset of the full TEI encoding scheme was published as TEI Lite, currently describing 140 elements. Originally intended as an introduction and a didactic stepping stone to the full recommendations, TEI Lite has, since its publication in 1995, become one of the most popular TEI customizations and proves to meet the needs of 90% of the TEI community, 90% of the time.

TEI by Example features freely available online tutorials walking individuals through the different stages in marking up a document in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). It aims to help students of text encoding to cope with the full TEI guidelines and the learning curve involved.

The ground rules that are discussed in this module apply to the most recent version of the TEI at the time of writing, i.e., TEI P5.


See Module 0: Introduction to Text Encoding and the TEI for historical backgrounds of text encoding, the TEI, and the TEI Guidelines.