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On Tue, 2007-06-03 at 16:41 -0600, Amanda Gailey wrote:
> Julia and all,
> 
> 
> Thanks for the interesting post.  I have been thinking a lot lately 
> about what you call "low-percentage encoding."  As you point out, markup 
> has for practical reasons been geared for search and display, and this 
> of course enables all kinds of research.  But perhaps one weakness of 
> markup so far is that it is more procedurally predefined than 
> exploratory, and there are certain aspects of literary scholarship that 
> don't jibe with this. 
> 
> 
> As some literary projects have been around long enough to have begun 
> looking beyond "high-level markup," I wonder what seems to be coming 
> next?  Are you looking for ways to accommodate more controversial, 
> thesis-driven claims about your texts?  Perhaps even a variety of such 
> claims? Or are you looking for ways to layer in even more detail of the 
> same kinds of observations present in your first round of markup?  What 
> do you eventually want your markup to do for scholarship that it 
> currently can't?  I'd be interested in hearing from people on different 
> projects.

There was an article by Patricia Bart in the last issue of Digital
Medievalist that looked at some issues of what you might call
exploratory markup in a TEI context.


> 
> 
> Thanks,
> Amanda
> 
> 
> 
> Julia Flanders wrote:
> > Peter's response is fair and represents what we might think of as the 
> > "high-percentage encoding" perspective: encoding which has a clear and 
> > immediate payoff in generally useful functions such as searching and 
> > display. For these purposes, I think he's exactly right: the few 
> > semantically specific elements like <title>, <foreign>, <mentioned>, 
> > etc. have been designed to catch the high-percentage features, and the 
> > catch-all <hi> element exists for whatever cannot be catgorized.
> >
> > I'm very interested, though, in what I hope it won't seem 
> > intrinsically pejorative to term "low-percentage encoding": that is, 
> > encoding which seeks to express a comprehension of the text as it 
> > presents itself. This approach assumes precisely that you have a 
> > research interest in the text of a more nuanced sort. It might not 
> > require that you are already interested in some specific phenomenon 
> > (writing on skin, terms for prom queens) but rather that you are 
> > interested in the specifics of the text in general (so to speak). This 
> > approach to textual study is typical of literary scholarship, and it 
> > approaches the text not by searching for the things it already knows 
> > are there and ignoring the rest, but by reading the text, observing 
> > it, and trying to account for what it's doing.
> >
> > Because the text encoding world has focused so exclusively till now on 
> > high-percentage encoding, the tools (both technological and mental) 
> > are all clustered in that area. As a result I don't think we're yet in 
> > a good position to evaluate the usefulness of low-percentage encoding 
> > as a scholarly practice. However, I'm almost certain that once people 
> > who are interested in it start actually doing it, we'll see some 
> > useful outcomes.
> >
> > It's also interesting that this approach should raise the possibility 
> > of guilt and obligation. One is surely never *obligated* to encode 
> > anything--it is only a question of whether one's encoding is 
> > well-suited to the intended purpose or not. Someone who had been hired 
> > to encode the maximum quantity of text as cheaply as possible should 
> > perhaps feel guilty for *not* using <hi> and for indulging in more 
> > expensive nuances; someone who had been hired to encode shades of 
> > semantics should perhaps feel guilty for failing to distinguish 
> > between <mentioned> and <socalled>.
> >
> > Since I don't know very much about Jon's project, it's hard for me to 
> > say at this point whether the semantic nuance he asks about is 
> > pointless, essential, or somewhere in between, but it's certainly an 
> > interesting area to explore.
> >
> > best wishes, Julia
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > At 5:47 PM +0100 3/6/07, Peter Boot wrote:
> >> I'd say this is pointless, unless you have a research interest in
> >> precisely this phenomenon (meaning of highlighted text). There are a few
> >> simple cases, like <title> and <foreign>, and these might be useful for
> >> searching. Your examples could perhaps be argued to be <mentioned> (as I
> >> see now Julia does for the first one).
> >>
> >> But in any text, there are a million things that are of semantic
> >> interest of which we do not try to capture the meaning at the encoding
> >> stage (such as: choice of words, word order, etc.). Why then should we
> >> have to capture every shade of significance in the case of highlighted
> >> text?
> >>
> >> I'd stick to <hi> for these cases and not feel very guilty about it.
> >>
> >> Best,
> >> Peter
> 
-- 
Daniel Paul O'Donnell, PhD
Chair, Text Encoding Initiative <http://www.tei-c.org/>
Director, Digital Medievalist Project <http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/>
Associate Professor and Chair of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
Vox: +1 403 329 2378
Fax: +1 403 382-7191
Homepage: http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel.odonnell/