Encoding Guide for Early Printed Books

divisions of the text

Dividing the Text

One of your fundamental decisions when encoding a text is that of how to represent its subdivisions and their relationship to one another. This is true no matter what form of digital representation you plan to use: the representation of subdivisions affects everything from the basic navigation that is possible to the kinds of inferences that can be drawn from the document’s structure. When using the TEI Guidelines, divisions are particularly important because they serve several functions—both to structure and to classify the parts of the document—and they also determine the kinds of structures that are expected at lower levels of the document.

In TEI, the expectation is that you will use the div element to represent the significant intellectual structuring of the document, which in most ordinary documents means things like chapters, sections, subsections, or the other regular units into which the text is divided. These structures typically repeat a standard pattern:

The div element is deliberately generic: rather than defining specific elements chapter, section, essay, and the like, the TEI Guidelines provide the single div element (which may nest inside itself recursively) precisely to avoid making assumptions about how the different kinds of textual chunks may nest inside one another, and to leave those determinations to the individual encoding project. The classification and naming of specific kinds of divisions is accomplished using the type attribute:

<div type="chapter">
<div type="section">
<div type="essay">

For more detail on the classification and the use of the type attribute, see the discussion of classification