Ruled lines, borders, and ornaments

ruled lines ornament decoration figure image border emblem running header/footer entity
pre post border figure

Transcription of rules and ornaments using an entity reference

Ruled lines, borders, and ornaments occupy a liminal space between the explicit signifying mechanisms of the text (the words on the page) and the physical makeup of the document (paper, binding, and so forth). From some perspectives they may be treated as an important aspect of the document’s transcribable content, while from others they may appear to be simply decorative and of secondary importance to the encoder. The level of detail at which it makes sense to represent them will depend (as always) on the purpose to which the text will be put. If you want to be able to convey the details of the text’s visual organization, these components are important and it is worth distinguishing among them; if your project focuses solely on the text’s verbal content, then they can be ignored.

The WWP has found it useful to make a basic distinction between ruled lines and ornaments, because this allows us to convey a general idea of the level of decorativeness without attempting to make fine discriminations that would be difficult to maintain in practice. We consider a rule to be any straight line (or group of straight lines), including lines with minor detailing such as changes in thickness. We use the entity reference &rule; to represent any form of ruled lines; for ordinary purposes we do not recommend representing the length, thickness, or number of lines. If finer distinctions were considered useful, additional entity references could be created and added to the DTD (for instance, &doublerule; or &rule_3_em;).

We consider an ornament to be any non-textual, non-representational feature of the page which is not a rule. Typically an ornament is an abstract design, possibly repeated in rows or clusters and serving as a border or divider, but also possibly appearing simply as decoration casually on the page. The WWP uses the entity reference &ornament; to encode all ornaments. As with rules, where ornaments are grouped in rows or clusters we use a single entity reference for the entire group rather than enumerating each ornament separately.

Where possible, we recommend that rules and ornaments be encoded as renditional delimiters on an element, rather than as content, using the pre, post, or border keyword of the element’s rend attribute. For examples see the entry on using rules and ornaments as delimiters.

Graphical features of the page which are representational (for instance, emblems, heraldry, portraits, illustrations, and the like) should be encoded using figure (see the entry on figures).