We are considering adding a new element to our TEI set, but first I want to
check the community to see if 1) TEI already does this, somehow, and I
missed it; and/or 2) this is a bad idea and we really shouldn't do it this
Our concern is with associating editorial notes with the textual content of
the edition. By "editorial notes" I mean that these are the opinions of our
own (electronic) editor, not footnotes in a published document. This type of
note would be used in cases where we wouldn't necessarily want to use other
descriptive markup. We're hesitant about using TEI <note> in this way for a
First, the descriptions of <note> in P4 pretty clearly identify it as
something to be used to mark existing notes - marginal notes in a manuscript
perhaps, or the aforementioned footnotes in a published document.
Second, I know that <note> has been used by electronic editors to mark their
own thoughts, but for editorial reasons we are keen to keep the content of
our document limited to the content of our source manuscript. Since <note>
requires the note text to be included as content (ms text <note>here is the
opinion of the electronic editor</note> more ms text), it violates this
(Even disregarding our second point): Third, although <note> can associate
the note with a span of text by including IDREFs in <note>'s target
attribute, it requires that that span of text have other markup surrounding
it. So, if the editor wants to comment on the first two letters in a word,
the editor must place <c> markup around those letters only to act as
references, not because the letters themselves warrant individual markup.
Obviously, this can also be impractical when pointing a note to a large
segment of text that contains a lot of markup.
Enter our new element: <ednote>. The content of <ednote> is the manuscript
text that the editor is commenting on; the editor's comments are included as
the value of an attribute (say, noteContent). Using this system, the example
from my Second point above would read:
<ednote noteContent="here is the opinion of the electronic editor">ms
Trying to anticipate some concerns:
1. We are not concerned with including markup in the editor's comments, so
there is no issue with placing markup in that attribute value.
2. "But what you're saying is that that ms text is being described as an
editorial note, right?" Well, right now we are calling the element <ednote>.
But what if we call it something different, like <noteSub>, for the subject
of the note? And the attribute value is the note that describes the
<noteSub noteContent="here is the opinion of the electronic editor">ms
Are there other problems with approaching editorial notes in this way? Has
anyone else dealt with this issue, and if so how did you work with it?
Dorothy Carr Porter
Program Coordinator, Research in Computing for Humanities
3-51/3-52 William T. Young Library
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40391