Complex representation of documentary surfaces

Manuscript image with documentary markup annotations

One of the important things about the TEI’s mechanisms for manuscript encoding is that it allows you to describe documents based on their layout, rather than an idealized reading order. Since manuscripts are often comprised of several blocks of text, drawings, or other handwritten features, you may not want to assert that blocks of text are related to each other, or that they should be understood sequentially. For this purpose, the TEI thinks of manuscript pages as behaving like surfaces, and the different components behaving like zones. You can describe the surfaces and zones of your document, rather than trying to fit them into other TEI structures like div and p elements. The TEI also provides the line element to describe new lines of written segments. It doesn’t carry the semantic specificity of the metrical l, but is more specific than the typographic lb .

Advanced Manuscript Encoding, slide 9 of 23