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TEI-L  August 2011

TEI-L August 2011

Subject:

Re: Interchange and incentives (was Re: Defense of TEI for manuscript transcription)

From:

Martin Holmes <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 24 Aug 2011 07:59:29 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (179 lines)

On 11-08-24 02:18 AM, Lou Burnard wrote:
> As Trevor rightly says, we already have "one or two slimmed down
> schemas" (I reckon we have considerably more -- I did a survey earlier
> this year and found half a dozen which had ODDs). Slimming down,
> defining the 80%, identifying the common core -- it's what the TEI is
> designed for. The only cautionary note I have to sound, and you may
> ascribe it to ny approaching obsolescence if you like, is that what is
> 80% core for me is not necessarily core for the other chap.

I agree completely. The only way I can imagine this working is as follows:

Either the Core module is expanded, or a subset of models are identified
as being "core". Let's call this the "foundation".

For all other modules, we create XSLT libraries that can convert their
markup into alternative representations using only elements and
attributes from the "foundation" set.

That still doesn't provide any guidance as to how to handle differences
in the way people might choose to use string attributes such as "type",
of course. For those, we would have to provide a much stricter set of
limited values for e.g. @type when it occurs on <div>, or @type when it
occurs on <p>. But even if we did that, I can't imagine how we could
convert unconstrained and unpredictable sets of values into our
"foundation" values.

Cheers,
Martin

> The first "core tagset" TEI Lite, was made by selecting elements to
> support what the people who did electronic texts in the nineties thought
> was important (on the evidence of texts deposited in the OTA) -- so it's
> good on marking up features for concordancers, not so good at marking up
> features for formatters. Currently people are defining core tagsets for
> (a) people who want to use TEI as an authoring tool (b) people who want
> to use it to capture "heritage" documents in a digital archive setting
> (c) people who want to do language corpora (d) people who want to do
> text mining across multiple collections (e) people who want to corrupt
> the minds of the youth, sorry, people who want to train students in text
> encoding principles and praxis -- and more. Not to mention
> discipline-centred specifics like epigraphy, manuscript transcription,
> speech transcription etc. which would presumably be relegated to the 20%
> for the purpose of this discussion.
> Do we really think all of those user needs would necessarily be pleased
> with the same set of applications?
>
> However, I take the point that developing a common core of
> *applications* based on some common subset of all these schemas might
> be a desirable goal, and is a distinct task, and one that the TEI has
> not hitherto focussed on particularly. How would you go about doing that
> though? Are we so certain that we can identify a single set of "goals
> that the community wants to accomplish"? I tend rather to think that the
> intersection of the differing sets of "goals" concerned is rather
> uninteresting, and would satisfy no-one on its own; while the union of
> those sets is as unmanageable as the full TEI itself is reputed to be.
> But I'd be glad to be proved wrong!
>
> Your other point -- about translation -- is a bit strange. I don't know
> how you imagine such "translations" happen, so I may have got this quite
> wrong, but are you saying any more than that we should be trying to work
> with texts encoded using a non-TEI-subset as well? In which case, the
> Rahtz-Piez dialogue seems to cover most of what needs to be said.
>
> Lou
>
>
>
> On 24/08/11 05:15, Trevor Muñoz wrote:
>>
>> I would like to offer an idea for (re)connecting this very interesting
>> discussion that has been swirling around the idea of interchange over
>> the past couple of days to John's invitation to think about future
>> directions and priorities for the TEI as an organization. Through their
>> exchanges, Wendell and Sebastian have traced out some possibilities for
>> managing an 80% TEI (a lightweight core that makes it simple to do
>> simple things) and an 20% TEI (for more expressive/analytical/unique
>> markup). These seem like worthy areas for further work to me. Many of
>> the ideas are familiar in outline and at least some of the tools (the
>> ODD system for one) have already been developed.
>>
>> So, I wonder whether the Council might explicitly make work on a core
>> 80% TEI and on interfaces/conversion pathways to some common use cases a
>> formal area of work (rather than simply encouraging best practice)? I
>> emphasize both of these together because I think it will be necessary to
>> show a reduced TEI in action for goals that the community wants to
>> accomplish. Just defining a smaller tag set would not, I think, address
>> the concerns that have been voiced on this list, and also, we already
>> have one or two slimmed down schemas. Thinking of this new work as an
>> interface ("interface" meant here in the sense it is used in
>> "application programming interface") to the TEI better captures the
>> active meaning of what I'm imagining though it ultimately might not be
>> the right way to conceptualize the work.
>>
>> A prioritization of (an) interface(s) to the TEI might even extend to
>> implementing a "feature freeze" on other kinds of development to the
>> schemas for a period of time. A couple of years ago, Jerry McDonough
>> argued, in the context of the Digital Library community, that "we need
>> to cease viewing [issues of interoperability] purely as a technical
>> problem and acknowledge that it is the result of the interplay of a
>> variety of technical and social factors"
>> (http://dx.doi.org/10.4242/BalisageVol1.McDonough01).
>>
>> I quote from his concluding recommendations at greater length:
>>
>> "The ... more promising strategy is to accept that the need for local
>> community control over encoding practices is a valid one, that regional
>> 'dialects' of markup languages are inevitable, and that we must find
>> ways to facilitate information exchange across the boundaries of
>> different communities' markup vernacular. However, this will require a
>> significant shift in the digital library community's relationship to the
>> notion of standards. Specifically, I believe the library community needs
>> to shift from its current singular focus on schema development to a dual
>> focus on both schema development and translation between schemas."
>>
>> Perhaps the TEI has come to a moment in its development when focus needs
>> to shift for a time to translation between schemas? Doing such work well
>> will (I think) go beyond simply providing stylesheets (though those will
>> be important), or providing a mechanism like ODD (though that may have a
>> large role to play). Acknowledging the need for socio-technical work to
>> build on the excellent technical work that has been done in developing
>> the TEI is to acknowledge the need for change without being tempted as
>> an earlier poster wrote to toss the baby out with the bath water. For
>> example, some targets will needed to aim the "translations" at. Doug has
>> suggested reliable mechanisms for presenting common structures and
>> performing queries over combined data sets as two potential targets or
>> use cases. (These may or may not be the same as Wendell's simple ways to
>> do simple things). In my opinion, focusing work on these translation
>> (and I daresay, outreach) activities might be a valuable direction for
>> the TEI's collective time and energy.
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> Trevor
>>
>> --
>> Trevor Muñoz
>> Assistant Dean for Digital Humanities Research, University of Maryland
>> Libraries
>> Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
>> (MITH)
>> @trevormunoz on Twitter | http://trevormunoz.com
>>
>>
>> On Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 6:37 PM, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
>>
>>> On 23 Aug 2011, at 23:22, Wendell Piez wrote:
>>>> a way I expect it to be processed. But presumably the TEI Consortium
>>>> could refuse me the use of namespace
>>>> "http://tei-c.org/ns/experimental/wendell2011a" until I demonstrated the
>>>> utility and suitability of my nifty new tag set for others (maybe
>>>> meeting a two-implementation requirement?), documented it to its
>>>> standards with worked examples, and offered a dumbing-down
>>>> transformation into 80% TEI to accommodate anyone who didn't want to
>>>> support the tagging natively.
>>>
>>>
>>> I think there is a lot of merit in the development of best practice in
>>> this area;
>>> I think the respectable projects which seriously customize the TEI do
>>> exactly this already.
>>>
>>> My only requestion is that your dumbing-down algorithm is embedded
>>> in/linked to
>>> your ODD - in the ways which are not yet well-understood or used :-}
>>> --
>>> Sebastian Rahtz
>>> Head of Information and Support Group, Oxford University Computing
>>> Services
>>> 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431
>>>
>>> Sólo le pido a Dios
>>> que el futuro no me sea indiferente
>>

--
Martin Holmes
University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre
([log in to unmask])

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