At 09:21 AM 1/4/2007, Martin Holmes wrote:
>I must admit that I'm with Sebastian on this one, assuming he means
>what he says. Interchangeability seems to me to be more important
>than the TEI gives it credit for*, and I would really like to see
>more encouragement for users to stick to standard TEI schemas (along
>with tutorials and examples showing them how to do it) in place of
>encouragement that they leap into customization at the first sense
>that the standard tagsets won't do exactly what they want.
This seems to be a fairly extreme characterization of what the
"libertarian wing" (or Low Church, if you like) wants to allow.
Also, I'm concerned that by "interchangeable", many proponents
thereof really mean "interoperable" (your documents, my stylesheets
etc.). But I believe interoperability in any meaningful practical
sense to require a standard data model and application profile,
implying APIs, defined data types and the rest. While this may be
very useful for standards like SVG, SMIL and so forth (which properly
define media types), it is pernicious for text encoding technologies
that aim at various and open-ended kinds of application and media expression.
> I'd like to see the main use of ODDs turn out to be for the
> removal of unused tags and attributes, leaving documents that still
> do validate against 'tei_all'. Customizing schemas is now
> wonderfully easy through Roma (with some exceptions, such as Ron's
> experience), while figuring out how to use what's already there is,
> often, wonderfully hard. The TEI By Example project may help a lot
> there, but I know there have been cases in the past where I've made
> customizations I didn't need to make because I couldn't figure out
> from the guidelines how to do what I was trying to do.
I submit that this excludes from TEI a wide range of projects,
including the most peculiar, original and inventive, which do no one
any harm and which work collectively to advance the state of the art,
all for a goal that no one has clearly defined ("interchange") and
that we can't agree is a good thing.
>* I think interchangeability matters because the long-term survival
>of our documents will depend, not on whether humans can figure out
>from their ODD files how to use them, but whether automated systems
>can use them.
I do not believe this is the case. More particularly, I believe it is
well beyond the TEI mandate of 1987.
It's like saying that the glass has to be full to the brim before we
admit there's any beer in it. This may make it easier to adjudicate
disputes between barkeeps and their customers, but it's neither
necessary nor sensible for the real world of drinking parties.
> If the majority of TEI documents twenty years from now use
> customized schemas that mean that they can't easily be used by
> automated systems, then I fear TEI will end up obsolete.
Of course it will. Many of the TEI documents now out there are
obsolete. This doesn't make them useless. Exactly to the contrary.
They can be inspected, reverse-engineered, converted into newly
useful forms -- all kinds of things are not possible with them that
are impossible or wildly impractical with undocumented bespoke markup
syntaxes (which characterize the wilderness that TEI set out to tame).
>Out of interest, how many other users feel the same?
Not me. I believe textual scholarship is a good thing, and so is
evolution and advance in media technologies. If that requires
markup-textual scholarship, I have no problem with that.
Indeed, I feel that such a position dooms TEI to eventual total
obsolescence, since when the next generation of eager young
developers junks XML for something better, TEI will be left to gather
dust on the shelf.
The TEI is dead. Long live the TEI. (Credit that line to Michael
Actually, read Michael's slides at
Consider, especially, the conclusion in slides 22-23.
Wendell Piez mailto:[log in to unmask]
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