For the DALF project which was mentioned by Dan & Bert, we made a
modification of and extension to the TEI guidelines in order to let us
encode large corpora of correspondence material in a precise way. For the
documentation of the letter in the header, we added the <letDesc> element
that is added to the standard TEI <sourceDesc> element. It is a mandatory
element in DALF that groups together all letter-specific metadata for a DALF
document such as:
- <letIdentifier>: Contains information concerning the identification of the
letter within its holding institution.
- <letHeading>: Contains a structured description of bibliographical
information of a letter.
- <physDesc>: Contains a description of the physical appearance of the
- <envOcc />: Contains an indication of the presence or absence of an
- <letContents>: Contains a description of the intellectual contents of the
- <history>: Contains a description of the history of the letter.
- <additional>: Groups additional information about the letter.
- <letPart>: Contains metadata about distinct parts of a letter.
- <note>: Contains additional information about the letter that is not
covered by any other of the previous elements. This is a standard TEI
element (see http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/ref-NOTE.html).
Some of these elements are mandatory, others are optional. A minimal DALF-
header looks like:
<envOcc occ="..." />
The specific question concerning the place of writing is addressed in the
<letHeading> element, which consists of following elements (in this order):
- <author>: Identifies an/the author of the letter.
- <addressee>: Identifies a/the person to whom the letter was addressed.
- <respStmt>: Identifies a person who is responsible for some aspect of the
contents. This is a standard TEI element (see http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/ref-
- <placeLet>: Identifies the place where the letter was written.
- <dateLet>: Identifies the date when the letter was written.
- <note>: Contains additional remarks that are not covered by any other of
the previous elements. This is a standard TEI element (see http://www.tei-c.
The elements <author> and <addressee> are mandatory and must occur at least
once. The <respStmt> element is optional and may as well occur more than
once. Both <dateLet> and <placeLet> are mandatory, and must occur exactly
The following example shows a minimal letter identifier for a letter written
by Streuvels to De Meyer in Ingooigem on 13 January 1941:
<addressee>Maurice De Meyer</addressee>
The DALF guidelines for the description and encoding of modern
correspondence material Version 1.0, together with the DTD's, some tools and
on-line publications are freely accessible from <http://www.kantl.be/ctb/
Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie - CTB (KANTL)
Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies
Associate Editor, Literary and Linguistic Computing
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde
Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature
Koningstraat 18 / b-9000 Gent / Belgium
tel: +32 9 265 93 51 / fax: +32 9 265 93 49
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