Decorative capitalization

decoration capital letters, distinctive ornament
figure figDesc

Decorative capitalization should be encoded with hi, with an optional type attribute if categorization is useful.

We recommend encoding oversized or decorative initial capital letters using hi type="dic" (where dic stands for decorative initial capital), regardless of their ornamentation or lack thereof. We do not recommend recording the size of the letter, the number of subsequent lines it indents, or any details of its decoration.

Indentation of subsequent lines which results from the size of the initial capital should be ignored; the lines should be encoded as if no indentation were present.

If the ornamentation is representational rather than abstract it should be encoded using figure, following the same criteria as for other figures. (For more information on encoding figures, see the entry on figures.) The figure element should precede the initial letter, which should also be transcribed separately. The letter itself should not be transcribed within text in figure, since it is already transcribed in the main text, but it should be described in the figDesc. See example 1.

Where letters following the dropped initial capital are also capitalized, they should be encoded using hi rend="case(allcaps)", following the guidelines for handling case. The content of this element should be entered in lower case, so that when printed without any highlighting the word is normally capitalized. See example 2.


Example 1.

an ornate initial T on the word The, surrounded by small goats carrying a banner which reads Amor vincit omnia, would be encoded as:

<figure><figDesc>A large initial capital letter T, surrounded by goats carrying a banner reading <quote>Amor vincit omnia</quote>.</figDesc>
<text>Amor vincit omnia</text>
<hi type="dic">T</hi>he...

Example 2.

an ornate initial O followed by an ordinary capital N: ONce upon a time...

<hi type="dic">O</hi><hi rend="case(allcaps)">n</hi>ce upon a time...