Text Encoding for Humanities Scholars, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Session 1 (1:00-2:30): Designing a Digital Project: Strategic Considerations

This session will involve a mix of presentations and discussion by participants, addressing the following topics:

  • Document and project analysis: identifying the project's goals, scope and constraints
  • Representing the digital text: what kinds of information need to be captured?
  • Work flow and staffing the project: what skills are required? how do you train and oversee the necessary work?
  • Funding and sustainability: what is a project's overall life cycle?

Session 2 (2:45-4:15): What is Text Encoding?

This introductory session will involve presentations from the instructors followed by discussion, addressing the following topics:

  • What is markup? what is its function? why is it important?
  • Basic concepts of XML: elements, attributes, document structure, and schemas.
  • What is the role of standards and the TEI? why do we need markup languages?

Friday, 5 October 2007

Session 3 (8:30-9:45): What and Why is the TEI?

This session will provide an overview of the TEI as an organization and as a text encoding standard through presentations and group discussion, addressing the following topics and issues:

  • The TEI's situation within the landscape of digital humanities scholarship: what are its intellectual affiliations and commitments?
  • How does the TEI function to support the creation of digital humanities texts? what is its role in defining how texts should be represented?
  • How is the TEI currently used, and how is it evolving?
  • What are the alternatives to the TEI? what are the advantages and risks of using a detailed encoding system like the TEI?

Session 4 (10:00-11:45): The Impact of Digital Texts/ Encoding as Disciplinary Practice

The session will first engage participants in a discussion of the encoding process and the issues it raised, with special emphasis on the following:

  • 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?

The second half of the session will focus on the larger impact of text encoding on scholarship and teaching, and in particular on the following questions:

  • How might participants use text encoding methods as part of teaching and research?
  • 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?

Session 5 (12:00-1:15): Guest lecture / Lunch (Brett Barney, et al)

The guest lecture will showcase local projects and discuss the challenges involved in design, strategic choices made, and plans for long-term support. A brief response by the instructors will place the projects in context, comparing to others to illustrate the nature of the decisions made. The remainder of the session will be devoted to questions and discussion of the projects by participants.

Session 6 (1:30-3:00): Publishing TEI Documents

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?

Session 7 (3:15-4:30): 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?