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TEI-L  July 2003

TEI-L July 2003

Subject:

Re: Text witnesses and witness lists

From:

Martin Mueller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Martin Mueller <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Jul 2003 13:12:16 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines)

I know a lot less than Michael Beddow does about editing or technology, but
I'm going to stick my neck out and argue that the <sourceDesc> element is
not the right place to put the stuff about the sources of your edition.
Michael, I guess, would say that on balance he wouldn't put that stuff
there. I'd say you shouldn't.

I'm sitting here with Martin West's Teubner edition of Homer and with
Hartmut Erbse's massive edition of the Homer Scholia. West has 72 pages in
which he discusses the sources of his edition. Erbse has 102. These
discussions, mixing prose and lists of various kinds, are clearly part of
the main project, and a very important part at that.

If you digitized Erbse's scholia, you'd put the bibliographical information
about the printed source text into <sourceDesc>, and P4 tells you that
<sourceDesc> "supplies a bibliographic description of the copy text(s) from
which an electronic text was derived or generated."

But you are not deriving a generating an electronic version from copy texts
in that sense at all. If I understand it right you are creating a digital
entity that can claim to be a primary version of what it represents: a
digital edition of Ibsen's works.

Crudely speaking, the teiHeader relates to the <text> that follows as a
catalog card relates to a book. Would the editor of a critical edition put
all the information about the sources of her edition on a catalog card?
Probably not.

There is a more general problem here, and I wonder whether P5 will address
it. One of the founding assumptions of the TEI (surviving in its name) is
that it is a tool for encoding for what previously existed in a print or
manuscript world. That assumption shows up in a lot of little and not so
little ways. But that founding assumption needs revision in a world where
there is a lot of encoding that can make a claim to being "original" and
where the concept of the source becomes increasingly problematical.

The proper information to appear in the <sourceDesc> of the Ibsen edition
might be something like <p>This project has no source. It's totally new</p>.
Or less aggressively, <p>The print and manuscript sources used in this
digital critical edition are discussed in the sections....</p>

Perhaps the following might be a useful rule of thumb: if you have to spend
a lot of time thinking about how to structure the content of <sourceDesc>
and figure out what should go there and where, the content of your
<sourceDesc> is probably part of your project.

-----Original Message-----
From: TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hilde B|e
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 7:47 AM
To: [log in to unmask]

Dear Michael Beddow,
we are happy to hear that our solution seems to be "plausible and
appropriate" even though you disagree with our definition of information
about witnesses as metadata. (Although we certainly see your point of
regarding <witList> not as metadata but part of the text when marking up a
"List of Manuscripts" in an existing printed critical edition.  - You would
still have to modify the dtd though, as the Guidelines does not allow
<witList> directly in <front> (or <back>).) However, we do not think that
putting the information about witnesses in the TEI header does mean that
this information will be unavailable to the users of our edition. Surely
information in the TEI header can be processed and shown whereever we like
(as part of an introduction, front matter etc) in the same way that elements
in <text> can be shown or repressed according to taste?
Best regards,
Hilde Bøe

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