Tuesday 8 November 2011

At the TEI Technical Council: Genetic Criticism Encoding

I have to say that today I feel very pleased with myself: the TEI Technical Council has just approved the proposal for encoding modern manuscripts and genetic criticism. This will be available for all TEI users with the next release of TEI (sometimes around Christmas).

I have worked on this material for a long time now, and all started with a paper I presented at the Digital Humanities Conference in Ann Arbor, in 2007 (attention! if you click on it, it will open a 26MB PDF, so you want to be cautious). The paper has been published later as a chapter of a book:
E. Pierazzo. 'Digital genetic editions: the encoding of time in manuscript transcription'. Text Editing, Print and the Digital World, Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities. M. Deegan and K. Sutherland (eds.), Ashgate: Aldershot, 2008, pp. 169–186.
After, within the MS SIG, a formal working group (chaired by Fotis Iannidis) was organised and then, after an exciting workshop held in Paris in 2009, a draft proposal was submitted to the Council in 2010 (it seems about right is that the Council is actually meeting in Paris, what a coincidence!).

In particular this proposal includes the possibility of transcribing the text page by page, line by line (instead of, say, chapter by chapter): I have discussed this, with Peter Stokes, in an article:

E. Pierazzo, P. A. Stokes. 'Putting the text back into context: a codicological approach to manuscript transcription'. Kodikologie und Paläographie im Digitalen Zeitalter 2 - Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age 2. M. Rehbein, T. Schaßan, P. Sahle (eds.) Norderstedt: Books on Demand, 2011, pp. 397-424, available from http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/4337/
The final approval for the proposal arrived after a night of readings and comments (see the thread in the Council mailing list) and some last discussions about grouping surfaces to encode leaves and in general multi-surfaced objects. But there we are: it is done.
This is of course not my work only, quite the contrary: if this model will be usable by real people in real projects it is because many have contributed generously. Here is the list of some of the people that contributed (I may be forgetting some... forgive me!): Fotis Iannidis, Malte Rehbein, Gregor Middell, Lou Burnard, Moritz Wissenbach, Gerrit Brüning and all the people in the Council: thank you all (and not only from me). Now I can't wait for the next release!

Oh Happy Day!


  1. Congratulations and thanks for your hard work pulling this through!

  2. Thanks Dot! As I said it is the work of many people, and in particular Lou did an amazing job here. Very happy

  3. Brava! :) That's an important step. Congratulations to all!

  4. Very many congrats! That's great news, and I look forward to seeing it in action.