Donald Spaeth raises very important issues about encoding of manuscript
material. It is my understanding that TR9 on W4 manuscripts should be making
recommendations on this subject. The character set group can make some
recommendations on how to encode this information.
No coded character set will be able to include separate characters for
each dingbat that a scribe invents. Character entity sets must be
developed for this. In medieval manuscripts we do not have a discrete set
of characters, but an open repertoire. This is going to be a continuing
problem, but there will be more guidelines on creating new character entity
sets in P2 and P3.
If more than one symbol is used for a single character in a document, then
it depends on what the encoder intends to do with it. If one is studying
the writing system of the scribe, one would probably use a different character
or character entity for each symbol. If one is not focussing on those features,
but primarily comparing textual agreements, then one might regularize the
On non-character symbols, one would need to create appropriate character
Standard hands could be handled with a rendition attribute, but we would
need a list of these ideally.
On the issue of abbreviations, the text criticism group proposed mirror
tags of abbrev and expan with attributes for type, responsibility, (abbrev
or expan), and confidence. Perhaps Peter Robinson will say something about