In message <[log in to unmask]>,
Lou-at-home <[log in to unmask]> writes
>At present, the places you can record information about real people in a
>P5 document are scattered.
>The Corpora module defines <partic> and <particDesc> for participants in
>a transcribed text. These allow for any number of so-called
>"demographic" subelements, such as <birth>, <occupation>, <residence> etc.
>The Names and Dates module defines <persName> and various subcomponents
>for names of people, but resolutely eschews any attempt to describe
>reality: it's onomastic, rather than prosopographic, by design.
>The new Manuscript Description module defines a <person> and
><listPerson> which contains some of the same elements as <partic> but
>also adds some. For example, <birth> is in the corpora module, but
><death> is in the MS one. (Not really surprising, since the people
>manuscript describers are interested in are usually dead, whereas the
>people corpus encoders are concerned with usually aren't)
Some time ago (1994-7), a group of museums people got together under the
aegis of the now-defunct CIMI (Consortium for the Interchange of Museum
Information) to investigate the use of TEI for cataloguing exhibition
catalogues and similar resources.
They had no problem marking up the structure of the texts: the problems
started when they tried to mark up the mass of facts and assertions that
they contained. These included personal names (Lou's starting point in
this discussion), but also corporate bodies, dates, events, places,
objects, roles, techniques, etc. ... and assertions connecting two or
more of these.
Again, it wasn't too hard to mark up individual occurrences of personal
names etc. "in place" within the text. There were some issues, for
example about the form in which a name was expressed within running
text, which might vary from the normalised form used for e.g. indexing
and retrieval. Also, the same entity would typically have a number of
mentions in a passage, some of which might simply be an anaphoric
reference (e.g. "she"): should each of these occurrences be marked up?
However, the real show-stopper was the issue of making assertions about
two or more entities. For example, "ownership of object X passed from
person A to person B in place P some time between date D and date E". We
never found a satisfactory method of linking the individual pieces of
marked-up data into a complex statement of this kind.
So, based on this experience, I would suggest (a) that any attempt to
mark up detailed information is done outside the document text, using
the approach employed by <listPerson>, rather than inline; and (b) that
the ability to create assertions which associate one or more entities
together is provided in as flexible a way as possible, so that it can be
used by different communities.
The museum community has created a high-level framework - the Conceptual
Reference Model (http://cidoc.ics.forth.gr/) which describes the types
of classes which we might be interested in, and their properties, in a
high-level abstract model. Could be useful.
Anyway, can I respectfully suggest that we widen this discussion beyond
just person-related information?
SGML/XML and Museum Information Consultancy
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