On 26 May 1999 the Electronic Text Centre Leiden (ETCL) and the Bureau
voor Editiewetenschap en Bronnenstudie, BelgiN (BEB) organised a
seminar to discuss the desirablity and feasibility of creating
guidelines for standard TEI conformant surface (base) tagging of Dutch
The seminar was joined by participants from various interested parties
besides the ETCL and BEB: Leiden University Library, Leiden University
Faculty of Arts, Werkgroep Genese, Nederlandse Taalunie, Nederlands
Instituut voor Wetenschappelijke Informatiediensten, Instituut voor
Nederlandse Lexicologie, Constantijn Huygens Instituut voor Teksteditie,
Utrecht University Faculty of Philosophy.
After a general introduction to TEI, the aim of the seminar was
explained. A series of workshops organised by the ETCL in the first half
of 1999 had begun to prepare a standard for TEI conformant tagging of
texts on a basic level, initially mainly for in-house use in a planned
searchable textbase. It was during these workshops that one of TEI's
main strengths--its extreme flexibility--began to be experienced also as
one of its potential weaknesses. Our intended use of the TEI tagged
texts in a searchable textbase demanded an amount of streamlining at the
basic level if TEI were to fulfill its aim as an interchange standard.
On the other hand, such streamlining should in no way prejudice TEI's
flexibility and versatility.
The outcome of these considerations was that prescription on a basic
level (roughly down to the level of such fairly objective structural
elements as paragraphs, lines of verse and speakers) was not thought to
hinder subsequent more in-depth tagging. (A similar approach would
appear to have led to the Corpus Encoding Standard (CES).)
A natural further thought was that a standard for tagging on a basic
level might be appealing to other parties besides the ETCL. Adoption of
the proposal as a standard by other parties in the Netherlands and
Belgium would facilitate exchange of tagged texts, and in future even
enable the constitution of virtual textbases.
The result so far is a draft TEI guideline for basic tagging of Dutch
poetry, which may be found at http://www.etcl.nl/goldenage/level1.stm.
It is hoped that over the next few months these guidelines may be
augmented to include minimal tag sets for prose and drama. It is hoped
that the full draft proposal can be made available in early Autumn.
Even at this early stage we should like to invite comments on any
aspects of this initiative.
Adriaan van der Weel
Chairman, Leiden Centre for the Book
Coordinator Electronic Text Centre Leiden
Coordinator Book and Publishing Studies, Dept of English
University of Leiden
PO Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands
Tel. +31 71 5272441/2144. Fax 2149