Dear Stuart and list all,
I think it will be difficult to answer to all these questions without
writing a lengthy paper, so I'm a bit reluctant to answer point per point,
but I'm giving a bit of an overview of one point which in my opinion has
not been properly understood.
The proposal for genetic edition that is under discussion contains as a
matter of fact several components that we regard as important feature in
order to enable a genetic edition but they are definitely not limited to
it. Actually none of the component need to be exclusively regarded as
being genetic-specific. The document presented can be considered a sort of
an application profile, but it will not be inserted in the Guidelines as
such, but its component will be inserted int he relevant chapters of the
Guidelines, or at lest this the intention of the Council at the present
One of these components which we think will have a wide resonance and
application is the documentary encoding of a specific primary source.
The aim of the proposal is to enable the encoding of some writing present
in any kind of surface in spacial terms, rather than in textual terms. At
the moment this is done within an element called <ge:document> which
contains mainly <surface>s which in turn contain mainly <zone>s, similarly
to what the <facsimile> element is doing [there is in fact a big
discussion within the Council how to consider this similarity].
About Stuarts specific questions, I try to answer quickly, being aware
that this will require the lengthy paper I mentioned earlier:
>(A) The novel The Master of Go (see
>https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_Master_of_Go ) is a
>novel-based retelling of a board game. The playing surface on which the
>original game was played is clearly a "surface" and the original telling
>of the story; could it potentially also be manuscript in the genetic
>editions sense and a <surface/> in the sense of the current proposal?
Yes, any written surface can, as I think I clarified above.
>(B) Certain writing media (blackboards, whiteboards, clay tablets in some
>traditions) are designed to hold a long series of independent manuscripts
>each of which is erased (more-or-less) completely before the next is
>inscribed. Does such an erasure create a new <surface/> ? A new <zone/>
>on the same <surface/>?
The surface is a physical object, so there is only one of them. I would
call them <zone>s, assuming that the writing could be retrieved somehow.
>(C) Both version control systems (such as subversion/svn which the TEI
>community uses) and genetic editing arrange files/manuscripts versions in
>tree-like structures. Other than talking about digital files and diffs
>rather than manuscripts and zones, do they differ in other ways? This
>question is important because if we can map concepts between the two,
>then a great deal of temporal logic research becomes usable on our TEI
>representations and building interesting tools much easier.
Att a certain level of abstraction, if we were to apply the concepts
expressed by genetic editing to born-digital artefact they have many
similarity, with the exceptions that we have envisaged many reasons why
one would use a graph to group versions or corrections, not only
chronological, so the graphs we have in mind are not all oriented.
>(D) All the examples I have seen seem to assume that a writing surface is
>single sided, but I've seen a number of instances where due to thin paper
>or physical damage the two surfaces of a sheet of paper interact. Is this
>handled in genetic editing and/or this proposal?
What would be the reason why one would like to note the interference from
the other page? If the filtering is something that came up in a different
time to the filling of the surface with writing is just a fact, otherwise
if it was present in the time of writing... Well, I think it will depend
from the consequences: in some cases it can be treated as <damage/> (as a
tear, for instance), or as an image or as a zone... We need specific
>(D) Can writing on non-straight lines (see
>http://www.pkahn.org/publicImages/thumb_sun-dial.jpeg for a common usage
>of such writing) be encoded using the proposal?
Yes, I would use a <zone> for it and not <line> which is thought for more
or less "standard" lines.
>(E) Do the values of zone/@rotate relative to their enclosing context, or
>are they absolute? If relative, can we implement circular / spiral
>writing using nested <zone/>s, one letter per <zone/>?
It is relative, and yes you can uses many zones.
>(F) In a number of places in the proposal SVG is mentioned, is the plan
>to use SVG 1.1 or wait until SVG 2.0 some time after June 2013? (see
The version of SVG or any other embedded language cannot be determined by
Tei but by the specifc choices of the project.
I hope it helps!
 I have discussed this in a recent article:
E. Pierazzo and P.A. Stokes, 'Putting the Text back into Context: A
Codicological Approach to Manuscript Transcription', in Kodikologie und
Paläographie im Digitalen Zeitalter 2 ‹ Codicology and Palaeography in the
Digital Age 2, ed. by F. Fischer, C. Fritze and G. Vogeler, in
collaboration with B. Assmann, M Rehbein and P. Sahle. Schriften des
Instituts für Dokumentologie und Editorik 3 (Norderstedt, 2010), pp.
Dr Elena Pierazzo
Lecturer in Digital Humanities
Chair of the Teaching Committee
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL
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