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TEI-L  November 2017

TEI-L November 2017

Subject:

looking for advice on creating external information resources for an edition

From:

Ron Van den Branden <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ron Van den Branden <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Nov 2017 16:22:18 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (64 lines)

Hi,

A digital edition project we're assisting in is trying to engage a 
limited group of volunteers for transcribing letters, creating basic 
annotations, and identifying named entities in the texts. The project 
context is quite challenging, since budget is limited, the project is 
building on previous efforts which had produced basic Word 
transcriptions, and the volunteers are domain experts without any desire 
to extend their human-computer interaction beyond basic office software. 
Hence, we've tried to accommodate this in a word processor-based 
workflow for the "volunteer phase", after which the docs will be 
transformed and the TEI life of these texts begins.

Against this backdrop, I'm looking for a way to enable the volunteers to 
identify named entities in the texts. Transcription-wise, I think this 
is feasible in a word processor by identifying them as hyperlinks and 
have the URL point at least to an unique ID code, or ideally to a valid 
URL where the available information can be viewed. Either the ID code or 
a field in each record can then contain type information that could help 
in the transformation to TEI. Of course, this requires an external data 
source to link to, and this is still a major concern. Given the fact 
that a lot of these names won't feature in any existing resources, and 
that they will probably require specific information tailored to this 
edition anyhow, it seems to make most sense to construct a 
project-specific resource which can hold the required information for 
the different entities (persons, organizations, places, titles,...), of 
course providing space for pointing to existing resources when 
available. Ideally, the volunteers would be able to look up whether an 
entry exists already, copy the ID/URL and use it in the transcription; 
or create a new one for people, places, ... that haven't been described 
yet. Also, if needed, it should be possible to edit existing 
descriptions if e.g. more information becomes available along the way 
(of course, without touching the original ID/URL). On top of that, 
querying and entering new information should ideally be as intuitive as 
possible for the volunteers. Summing up, the main requirements would be:
     -collaborative: volunteers should be able to create and/or modify 
entries when needed
     -intuitive input/query form
     -ability to import existing data + export (to CSV or XLSX)

Since a basic spreadsheet could be sufficient to store this information 
(e.g. different sheets per name type, with name-specific information 
fields in separate columns), I've been looking into Google Sheets, but 
I'm not sure if that allows to view individual "records" (i.e. rows in a 
sheet), and if the forms component everything needed to 
query/create/edit existing records.

I realize this is probably a terribly basic and peripheral question 
which I've long hesitated to ask here, but how do others do this (after 
all, it's such a basic component of any edition project)? We've been 
advised to look into a Mediawiki direction, but that seems too 
unstructured, hard to navigate in existing information and quite complex 
to enter new information.

As might be clear at this point, (non-XML) databases are not my field of 
expertise, we don't have any IT-departmental back-up, and I'm a bit at a 
loss. Are there any known lightweight (and preferably free) solutions 
available for facilitating this task? Or what would be the most sensible 
direction to look into?

Many thanks for any advice,

Ron

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