Thanks for your answer, James!
"<group> contains the body of a composite text, grouping together a
sequence of distinct texts (or groups of such texts) which are
regarded as a unit for some purpose, for example the collected works
of an author, a sequence of prose essays, etc."
the Guidelines say, but there seems to me to be something temporary
about grouping texts in this way - "for some purpose" indicates this,
I should think. The dictionary in question is certainly meant as a
whole (though it was not quite finished when the author died), so the
chapters can hardly be called "distinct" texts, not is the dictionary
"composite" in the sense that I think is implied here.
Since the dictionary orders its material according to the Buddhist
texts it glosses (and since there are 465 of these), the chapter-wise
TOCs come in very handy. There is no general front matter to the
dictionary as a whole, so there is no general TOC: each chapter has
its own front matter, with a more or less similar title-(subtitle)-
author-TOC structure. This is of course connected to the format used
at the time (paper scrolls could not hold more than one chapter). A
similar case would be encoding, say, a standard multi-volume
dictionary, where you might want to note that volume 1 covered "a to
c" and volume 2 "c to e" and so on (though the practical use of this
would be very little, I admit).
The colophons are no big thing - they repeats the chapter information
and state who printed the chapter and when.
So basically I feel that using group in this case does not agree very
well with the definition - and I wonder why no need has been seen for
chapter-wise front and back matters when dealing with texts in the
In the early Chinese tradition (mainly the time when bamboo and wood
was used to write on), individual chapters often "circulated on their
own" and many of the "books" that we have now are composites - the
efforts of later editors to collect the writings associated with a
certain person into a book. <group> might fit very nicely in such
cases. In the 7th century dictionary we are not talking about
scattered book-like chapters that were collected, in a temporary
manner, but about integral works, which, mainly because of the
material used to write on still had its length limitations, circulated
as chapters and therefore had front and back matter attached to
chapters and not the work the chapters made up.
On Jun 8, 2009, at 1:46PM, James Cummings wrote:
> Jens Østergaard Petersen wrote:
>> I am new to this list (and relatively new to TEI) - I am afraid my
>> questions might belong in a "Newbie" list.
> They certainly belong here!
>> The dictionary has a number of chapters, but each of these have
>> front and back matter - TOCs and colophons and so on. It does not
>> appear correct to regard the dictionary as a text group, so is
>> there another way of handling such a situation? It looks to me as
>> if it might occur often, in Western contexts as well.
> I'm interested in why you think it isn't correct to regard the
> dictionary as a text group? If the individual chapters have front
> and back matter, then they seem like individual <text>s to me.
> The other possibility of <teiCorpus> seems wrong to me since you are
> not trying to store a separate <teiHeader> for each of these
> chapters, only additional front/back matter.
> For what it is worth, I would have used something like:
> <!-- front matter for entire dictionary--></front>
> <front><!-- front matter for first chapter --></front>
> <body><!-- first chapter's entries --></body>
> <back><!-- back matter for first chapter --></back>
> <!-- second chapter -->
> <back><!-- back matter for entire dictionary--></back>
> Dr James Cummings, Research Technologies Service, University of Oxford
> James dot Cummings at oucs dot ox dot ac dot uk