Elements for basic TEI documents

This is more of a brief reference sheet than an exhaustive list of TEI elements: it is intended to provide you with a way to look up the most commonly used elements, grouped together for the exercises in which we’ll be encountering them. For detailed information about the contents and semantics of these elements (and for other more arcane elements), have a look at the TEI Guidelines.

Simple prose

div
A division of a text: for instance, an act, a chapter, a section, a poem, a letter… Use the type attribute to indicate what kind of division.
head
The heading of a division: contains words and phrase-level encoding. head may appear at the start of div, but also at the start of body, front, back, list, and lg.
p
A prose paragraph: contains words and phrase-level encoding.
list
A list: contains a series of items.
item
An item in a list: contains an optional label followed by words and phrase-level encoding, or a series of paragraphs.
label
The label of an item (e.g. a letter, number, or word indicating its order or other facts about it): contains words and phrase-level encoding. Note that label can also be the first element inside a paragraph.
quote
Used to encode quotations from other sources; contains words and phrase-level encoding.
q
Used to encode direct speech or thought; contains words and phrase-level encoding.

Phrase-level encoding

name
Used to encode all kinds of names. If you want to distinguish between different kinds of names, you can use the type attribute (e.g. <name type="person"). TEI also includes specific elements for different kinds of names (e.g. persName) for projects that need more detailed encoding.
date
Used to encode dates. The value attribute can be used to encode a regularized form of the date (e.g. <date value="2001">The first year of the new century</date> or <date value="2005-05-29">Sun, 29 May 05</date>).
foreign
Used for foreign-language words when no other element (e.g. quote) is already present.
distinct
Used for linguistically distinct words (e.g. dialect words, regionally accented words).
mentioned
Used for words which are mentioned but not used (for instance, for spelling or definition purposes).
term
Used for specialized terminology.
emph
Used to encode emphasized words or phrases.
hi
Used to encode words or phrases which are highlighted for reasons which the encoder either does not know or chooses not to analyse.
xml:lang
A global attribute, available on all TEI elements, used to indicate the language of the element’s content. Its value conforms to RFC 4646 (or its predecessor, RFC 3066). Some sample values for the xml:lang attribute are:
English en
French fr
German de
Italian it
Latin la
Arabic as spoken in Iraq ar-IQ
Chinese zh
simplified Chinese zh-Hans
Taiwanese zh-TW
If further explanation is required, a language element with an ident attribute of the same RFC 4646 code can be specified in the TEI header.

Poetry

lg
A group of verse lines: contains one or more l elements.
rhyme
may be optionally used to specify the rhyme scheme of the line group
l
A single verse line: contains words and phrase-level elements.
met
may be optionally used to specify the metrical pattern of the line

Simple drama

sp
A dramatic speech
speaker
A speaker identification printed in the text
stage
A stage direction. The type attribute may be used to identify the kind of stage direction; suggested values include:
  • business
  • costume
  • delivery
  • entrance
  • exit
  • location
  • narrative
  • novelistic
castList
A cast list in a dramatic text, listing the roles in the drama. It consists of one or more castItem or castGroup elements
castGroup
A grouping of related items in a cast list, containing one or more castItems and an optional head and trailer
castItem
An item in a cast list, containing a role and an optional roleDesc
role
The name of a role in a cast list, e.g. Ali Hakim
roleDesc
The description of a role in a cast list, e.g., Persian peddlar

Text structure

TEI
The outermost (or root) element for any TEI P5 conformant document. It groups together the TEI header and the document text. It must have the TEI namespace specifed, i.e. TEI xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0".
teiHeader
The wrapper for all of the document’s metadata. The elements that go inside the TEI header are too numerous to list usefully here; see the templates for details.
text
The wrapper element which contains all of the document’s content. The text element is most often used for a single work (i.e. a single published document, or a single aesthetic unit such as a play or a work of fiction). The definition of terms like single work and aesthetic unit needs to be defined by the individual project. A text element contains an optional front, a mandatory body, and an optional back.
front
Contains the front matter of the document, if any: title pages, tables of contents, introductory essays, and so forth. The front element contains an optional titlePage and may be subdivided into div elements.
body
Contains the main body of the document, not including front matter and back matter. The body element typically includes one or more div elements. It may start with a head. (Think about where the head belongs—is it the heading for the body, or the heading for the first division?)
back
Contains the back matter of the document, if any: indices, appendices, epilogues, colophons, errata lists, etc. May be subdivided into divs if necessary.
group
An element which groups together multiple text elements, with an optional front and back.

Complex prose

note
A note (a footnote, endnote, marginal note, or inline note). Link the note to the point where it’s anchored using xml:id and target. A note may contain either one or more paragraphs or, alternatively, words and phrase-level encoding.
anchor
An anchor point, usually used as a place for some other element (such as a note) to point to, ugsing the anchor’s xml:id attribute.
opener
This element may appear at the start of a div, text, front, or back, and it groups together the elements that appear at the start of a letter or similar document: the date and place of writing (using dateLine, and the salutation to the person being addressed (using salute).
closer
Very similar to opener, but located at the end of the div instead of at the beginning.
trailer
This element is used for things that come at the very end of the document or section, such as The End.
dateline
Used within opener and closer to encode the date and place of writing. Contains words and phrase-level encoding.
salute
Used within opener and closer to encode the salutation to the person being addressed (e.g. Dear Sir, or I remain faithfully yours…). Contains words and phrase-level encoding.
signed
Used within closer to encode the signature or name of the person writing. Contains words and phrase-level encoding.
bibl
Used to encode bibliographical references, either in a list (using listBibl) or in running prose.

Alternative Encodings

choice
Groups together two or more alternate encodings of a phrase-level passage, using the elements listed below.
abbr
An abbreviation; may be used alone or, when inside choice, in combination with expan which holds an expanded reading.
expan
The expanded reading of an abbreviation; typically used inside choice, in combination with abbr which holds the corresponding abbreviated reading. Rarely used alone.
sic
A typographical error or oddity in the original; may be used alone or, when inside choice, in combination with corr, which holds a corrected reading.
corr
A corrected reading of a typographical error or oddity in the original; may be used alone or, when inside choice, in combination with sic, which holds the original reading.
orig
An unmodernized reading in the original; may be used alone or, when inside choice, in combination with reg, which holds a regularized reading.
reg
A modernization of a reading in the original; may be used alone or, when inside choice, in combination with orig, which holds the corresponding unmodernized reading.

Manuscripts and Encoding Physical Documents

pb
An empty element which marks the break between one page and another. By convention, information stored in the attributes of pb refer to the page that follows the break. Equivalent to milestone unit="page".
lb
An empty element which marks a typographical line break. Equivalent to milestone unit="line".
cb
An empty element which marks the break between one column and the next. Equivalent to milestone unit="column".
milestone
An empty element which marks a boundary point in the text according to some standard reference system, such as signatures, scrolls, leaves. Use the unit attribute to indicate the reference system whose units are being marked at this point.
add
A handwritten addition. The hand attribute indicates the handwriting in which the addition is made. This attribute contains an identifier which points to a hand element in the profileDesc of the TEI header; this hand element contains an extended description of the handwriting, ink, and other details.
addSpan
An empty element which marks the starting point for a handwritten addition that is either too long to be encoded with add or that overlaps an element boundary. Its spanTo attribute points to an anchor element which marks the endpoint of the added material. The hand attribute indicates the handwriting in which the addition is made (see above for details).
del
A deletion. The hand attribute indicates the handwriting in which the addition is made (see above for details).
delSpan
An empty element which marks the starting point for a deletion that is either too long to be encoded with del or that overlaps an element boundary. Its spanTo attribute points to an anchor element which marks the endpoint of the deleted material. The hand attribute indicates the handwriting in which the deletion is made (see above for details).
handShift
An empty element which marks the boundary point at which a change of handwriting takes place. Its new attribute indicates the handwriting that begins at the point being marked. The new attribute functions just like the hand attribute, in pointing to a hand element in the TEI header, which provides detailed information on the handwriting in question.

Transcriptional complexities

supplied
Indicates that a given word or passage cannot be read in the original and is being supplied (either through editorial judgment or from some other textual source).
unclear
Indicates that a given word or passage is unclear, but not entirely illegible (expresses uncertainty rather than absolute lack of information); multiple alternative readings may be grouped in a choice element
damage
A damaged portion of the original text; the type attribute allows you to classify the damage, and the extent attribute allows you to indicate the extent of the damage.
gap
A gap in the original text (either from damage, deletion, excerption, or some other cause). The desc child element provides a description of what is missing, and the reason attribute provides the reason for the omission