Taking TEI Further: Advanced Seminars on Scholarly Text Encoding

Starting in spring 2012, the WWP has a grant from the NEH Institutes in Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities for a series of nine advanced seminars on using the TEI, to be held in 2012-2013 at Brown University in Providence, RI, and in 2014-15 at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Travel funding is provided up to $500 per person ($1000 for students). The seminar schedule for each year is posted when available at ./index.html.

This advanced seminar series focuses on three topics, each of which will be offered three times:

Customization: Developing Custom Schemas with TEI

Since the release in 2007 of the most recent version of TEI (P5), TEI users have had a very different relationship to the TEI Guidelines. Unlike previous versions, TEI P5 does not exist in a “default” or “vanilla” state: any TEI schema used in a text encoding project must be generated from the TEI source and involves some degree of choice and selection. When properly planned, the TEI customization process can make a huge difference to the efficiency of a TEI project and the quality and longevity of its data. Good customizations capture the project’s specific modeling decisions, and ensure consistency in the data, while retaining as much interoperability and mutual intelligibility with other TEI projects and tools as possible. Customization also contributes importantly to the process of data curation, both at the time of data creation and later in the project’s life cycle. This seminar will introduce participants to the central concepts of TEI customization and to the language (a variant of the TEI itself) in which TEI customizations are written. Topics covered include:

  • Background on how the TEI schema is organized
  • Essentials of the TEI’s customization language
  • Using Roma to generate schemas and documentation
  • Designing a schema for your project: data constraint, work flow, and long- term maintenance
  • Conformance and interoperability

Publishing and Transforming TEI Data: XSLT for Digital Humanities

XSLT is a crucial tool for those working with the TEI, both as a key part of any XML publication system and also as a technology for manipulating and managing XML data. As a programming language that can be used to transform XML data into other formats, it is immensely powerful and also comparatively approachable for those already familiar with XML. For individual scholars and librarians (who may not have access to technical support or programmer time), XSLT can be a remarkably enabling skill, making it possible for them to create usable output in a variety of formats, including HTML, formats used by visualization software, and even PDF. The challenge for digital humanists is not in finding XSLT resources; because it is such an important technology, there are numerous tutorials online and workshops available. However, these materials and events are almost universally aimed at an industry audience, rather than at humanities scholars. What we seek to do in these seminars is provide an approachable introduction to XSLT that is aimed at a scholarly audience, using examples that can be extended and adapted to participants' own data, and approaching the topic from the perspective of those who may be familiar with the TEI and XML, but not with other programming languages. This seminar will provide participants with an understanding of the essential concepts of XSLT, and also with the opportunity to experiment with some simple XML publishing tools such as XTF and TEI Boilerplate.

Teaching With TEI: Text Encoding in the Humanities Classroom

As digital humanities increasingly gains profile in traditional humanities departments, the subject is becoming of greater interest in graduate and even undergraduate teaching. For faculty with TEI projects of their own, or with a strong research interest in the TEI, the challenge is to design a digital humanities syllabus that is rigorously and usefully digital, and yet still focused on humanities content. To what extent can text encoding be a useful pedagogical instrument, and what kinds of concepts does it help to teach? What kinds of practical infrastructure and prior preparation are needed to support a course of this type? What broader critical ideas in digital humanities and in traditional humanities domains would form a strong context? In this seminar, participants will each work on a course of their own, with opportunities for the group to workshop each syllabus and discuss the course narrative and design.

For more information, please contact us at wwp@neu.edu.