Text Encoding for Humanities Scholarship: What, Why, How?

Monday, May 14

8:30 Coffee

9:00-10:00 Session 1: Innovative Research with TEI Documents

This session will combine presentation and discussion of some compelling models of TEI publication, examining how new interface tools are opening up innovative ways of working with digital texts. The instructors will show a set of different digital humanities projects which represent a variety of approaches to displaying and using textual information, including complex searching, display of editorial information, visualization tools and tools for data mining, and others. The discussion will focus on the following issues:

  • Which of these new interface features seem most useful to humanities scholars?
  • What specialized features are needed by scholars from particular disciplines?
  • Do these new features change scholarship or simply facilitate it?
  • What kinds of encoded information are necessary to support the kinds of functions and interpretive work envisioned by these projects?
  • How does a knowledge of text encoding affect how we use such resources?

10:00-10:30 Break

10:30-12:30 Session 2: What is Text Encoding? what is the TEI?

  • What is markup? what is its function? why is it important? (source, slides, and notes)
  • What is the TEI? (brief overview) (source, slides, and notes)
  • What is the role of standards such as the TEI? why do we need markup languages?

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Session 3: Basics of XML Encoding with the TEI

3:00-3:30 Break

3:30-5:30 Session 4: Hands-on practice and discussion


In this hands-on session, participants will work alone or in small groups (according to their preference and level of confidence) to encode a set of sample documents, using templates that provide an essential framework (such as the TEI header). By the end of the session, all participants will have completed at least one sample (and probably more). The session will conclude with a discussion of any concepts that need extra attention, and specific discussion of the following issues:

  • What features did all participants encode in the same way?
  • How did their encoding differ? what differences of approach or basic assumptions do the differences reveal?

Tuesday, May 15

8:30 Coffee

9:00-10:30 Session 5: Advanced Encoding with TEI

This session will introduce more advanced encoding concepts such as linking, physical document structure, renditional markup, and alternative readings.

Pointing: source, and slides, and notes

Overlap: source and slides

Physical document structure: source, slides, and notes

Rendition: source and slides

Alternative readings: source and slides

TEI header (presentation from template)

10:30-11:00 Break

11:00-12:30 Session 6: Hands-on practice

Hands-on practice in small groups or individually

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Session 7: Publishing TEI Documents

source, slides, and notes

This session will provide an overview of how TEI/XML documents are published and used as online resources, with attention to the following:
  • What are the currently available tools for TEI publication? what are their costs, features, advantages, disadvantages?
  • Which ones are feasible for individuals to use? Which ones require institutional support?
  • How does publication fit into an overall project development strategy?

3:00-3:30 Break

3:30-5:00 Session 8: Text Encoding and Humanities Scholarship (Discussion)

Looking at a variety of specific documents in both print and digital form (chosen based on the participants' interests, but including some manuscript and some printed material), the group will consider how different digital representations privilege or demote different aspects of documentary meaning. This group discussion will address two central sets of issues:

Issues of representation:

  • What information does an encoded text represent?
  • How does the encoding represent different textual aspects (linguistic, informational, material, interpretive, etc.)?
  • How do these resemble or differ from existing printed representational forms (such as various kinds of scholarly editions, facsimiles, and original source materials)?
  • How do these resemble or differ from other digital formats (such as images, database or metadata records)?
  • How does one decide which textual features are important?
  • How much detail is appropriate, useful, necessary? what are the strategic tradeoffs with a more detailed encoding?
  • What disciplinary assumptions does the encoding reflect? Is it possible to have a discipline-free representation of the text? if so, what would it look like?

Issues of use and impact:

  • How might participants use text encoding methods as part of their teaching?
  • How will scholarly communication be affected by these technologies? what are the positive and negative impacts?
  • How is scholarly research being changed by the use of digital resources? How do we see it developing in the future?
  • What are the next steps? How can participants learn more?