Openers and closers

salute opener dateline respLine head argument epigraph

Using opener to group together information at the top of a division (especially in letters); the usual contents of opener

Certain kinds of texts—typically letters, diaries, and certain kinds of periodical or journalistic writing—characteristically have a predictable set of opening and closing information. This information typically includes a date, a location, an address, an argument, an epigraph, a recipient’s name and/or salutation, a byline, and a concluding salutation and/or signature. All of these elements are optional, and the order is variable. The TEI provides two wrapper elements with which to group these pieces of information. When they appear at the top of a piece of text (typically a div or text), the wrapper is the opener element. When they appear at the end, the wrapper is the closer element. The wrapper is not required, but it may be convenient for analytical purposes to know that these elements are grouped together predictably. We recommend using the opener and closer elements.

The elements that most typically appear inside opener and closer are:

Note that some of this information may also appear in a heading, and it may sometimes be difficult to decide whether a given phrase (such as To the Reader) should be encoded with head or with opener and salute. As a guideline, the first textual element within a div should be assumed to be a head unless there is a strong reason for treating it otherwise. A good example of such a reason might be a collection of letters, where each separate div type="letter" might begin with a dateline or with the salute, Dear …, neither of which should be encoded as a heading.


Example 1:

<div type="prefatory">
  <head>To the Reader</head>
    <salute>Gracious Reader</salute>
  <p>text of div</p>

Example 2:

<div type="dedication">
  <head>To His most Sacred Majesty, <persName>Charles the Second</persName>...</head>
    <salute>May it please your Majesty,<salute>

Example 3:

<div type="letter">
  <head>To Mrs. Rushmore, From Mr. Simpson.</head>
      <date>18 March 1746</date>
    <salute>My dear <persName>Mary</persName>,</salute>
  </opener> ...