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TEI-L  October 2001

TEI-L October 2001

Subject:

Re: encoding manuscripts

From:

Julia Flanders <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Julia Flanders <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Oct 2001 16:01:50 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines)

I do take your point--it would be great to have a separate element
for this kind of bibliographic description, and the elements you
mention sound well-conceived for this purpose. On the other hand,
within the existing TEI framework, <note> is explicitly provided
within <notesStmt> as a place to record descriptive information about
the document, and its heritage as a species of "note" seems fairly
authentic. (That is, the tag name is not misleading.)

I think the reason this double usage doesn't strike me as overtaxing
the <note> element is that the location of <note> gives explicit
indication of whether it's part of the source or something added--in
the former case, <note> is within <text>, whereas in the latter case
it's in the TEI header. There are many other elements which are
allowed both in the header and in the main text, and which are
understood to contain source material in the latter case and
editorial material in the former. And there are also numerous cases
of fairly general-purpose elements (e.g. <div>) which are used to
encode a wide range of different things, distinguished only by a
type= attribute. So using <note> to encode several different things
which are termed "notes", and distinguishing their function with
type= and their source by their structural location seems reasonable
to me. This method even seems quite adequate to record distinctions
between comments written in the MS and comments by modern editors.

However, as I said above I think providing extra specificity for
textual description is a good thing, and I look forward very much to
the results of the MASTER project; I just don't think that the
current situation is all *that* bad :-)

best wishes, Julia

>This question raises a number of important issues pertaining
>to the TEI's ability to deal with the physical, non-textual
>aspects of "text objects".  The use of <note> with a TYPE
>attribute for editorial as well as authorial and readers'
>comments on the grounds that "they are all notes," as Julia
>says, "and deserve to be encoded as such", while certainly
>not an indefensible position, does not, it seems to me, take
>sufficiently into account the fundamental distinction we ought
>at least to be maintaining between what is actually physically
>present in the manuscript and what isn't. At the moment there
>doesn't seem to be much alternative, however, at least if one
>wants to transcribe marginal comments as they occur in the
>text.  Further overtaxing the <note> element by using it for a
>description of the artifact or "text object" itself seems quite
>inappropriate.  The MASTER project and TEI working
>group in manuscript description have devised an
><msDescription> element, which can go in the source
>description in the header and contains a range of sub-
>elements for describing the physical object.  In addition to
>elements for <support>, <extent> and the like, there is an
>element for <additions> (marginalia, glosses etc.), which
>may be transcribed in full.  In doing so, one can distinguish
>between comments which have been written into the
>manuscript and those of previous or present editors, which,
>one hopes, have not.
>
>M. J. Driscoll
>Arnamagnaean Institute
>Copenhagen

--
________________________________
Julia Flanders
Director,Women Writers Project
Associate Director, Scholarly Technology Group
Box 1841, Brown University
Providence RI 02912
[log in to unmask]
(401) 863-2135
http://www.wwp.brown.edu/
http://www.stg.brown.edu/staff/julia.html

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