group and text

text group

Where groups of texts form units that themselves may have a unifying textual structure, the TEI provides the group element, which fits in like this:

   <front> ...</front>

Note that this can be a recursive structure: any text child of group can itself have a group child, and so on. Also, the texts that make up a group can be of different types (cf. Guidelines 23.1). Clearly this offers a very flexible framework and a project could, as we noted above, encode all its content material—no matter how heterogeneous—in a single TEI.2 document by using text and group. Furthermore the Guidelines’ comment about composite texts regarded as a unit for some purpose might be seen as licensing the use of group for reasons that have nothing to do with the texts themselves and everything to do with project convenience.

Since the relationship between group and text is quite similar to that between text and div, you will probably encounter situations where you could use either text or group, and you’ll need a rationale for deciding which. Your own project may have particular criteria to apply, but some basics include:

Some of the most difficult cases to decide involve textual units such as poems or essays, which possess an ontological independence and distinctness, and may be published separately or as part of a collection of which they are an integral part. One might choose to treat a collection of poems that was first published as a collection using text and div (on the assumption that the poems are conceived as part of the collection). This decision might be even clearer in the case of a sonnet sequence, where the unity of the collection is clear and aesthetically important. By contrast one might choose to treat a collection of poems that were each published independently (for instance, in periodicals) as group and text in order to emphasize their aesthetic independence.

The most important thing in making these decisions is to come up with a clear rationale and apply it consistently.