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Thanks for your answer, James!

"<group> contains the body of a composite text, grouping together a  
sequence of distinct texts (or groups of such texts) which are  
regarded as a unit for some purpose, for example the collected works  
of an author, a sequence of prose essays, etc."

the Guidelines say, but there seems to me to be something temporary  
about grouping texts in this way - "for some purpose" indicates this,  
I should think. The dictionary in question is certainly meant as a  
whole (though it was not quite finished when the author died), so the  
chapters can hardly be called "distinct" texts, not is the dictionary  
"composite" in the sense that I think is implied here.

Since the dictionary orders its material according to the Buddhist  
texts it glosses (and since there are 465 of these), the chapter-wise  
TOCs come in very handy. There is no general front matter to the  
dictionary as a whole, so there is no general TOC: each chapter has  
its own front matter, with a more or less similar title-(subtitle)- 
author-TOC structure. This is of course connected to the format used  
at the time (paper scrolls could not hold more than one chapter). A  
similar case would be encoding, say, a standard multi-volume  
dictionary, where you might want to note that volume 1 covered "a to  
c" and volume 2 "c to e" and so on (though the practical use of this  
would be very little, I admit).

The colophons are no big thing - they repeats the chapter information  
and state who printed the chapter and when.

So basically I feel that using group in this case does not agree very  
well with the definition - and I wonder why no need has been seen for  
chapter-wise front and back matters when dealing with texts in the  
Western tradition.

In the early Chinese tradition (mainly the time when bamboo and wood  
was used to write on), individual chapters often "circulated on their  
own" and many of the "books" that we have now are composites - the  
efforts of later editors to collect the writings associated with a  
certain person into a book. <group> might fit very nicely in such  
cases. In the 7th century dictionary we are not talking about  
scattered book-like chapters that were collected, in a temporary  
manner, but about integral works, which, mainly because of the  
material used to write on still had its length limitations, circulated  
as chapters and therefore had front and back matter attached to  
chapters and not the work the chapters made up.

Jens

On Jun 8, 2009, at 1:46PM, James Cummings wrote:

> Jens Østergaard Petersen wrote:
>> Hello!
>> I am new to this list (and relatively new to TEI) - I am afraid my  
>> questions might belong in a "Newbie" list.
>
> They certainly belong here!
>
>> The dictionary has a number of chapters, but each of these have  
>> front and back matter - TOCs and colophons and so on. It does not  
>> appear correct to regard the  dictionary as a text group, so is  
>> there another way of handling such a situation? It looks to me as  
>> if it might occur often, in Western contexts as well.
>
> I'm interested in why you think it isn't correct to regard the  
> dictionary as a text group?  If the individual chapters have front  
> and back matter, then they seem like individual <text>s to me.
>
> The other possibility of <teiCorpus> seems wrong to me since you are  
> not trying to store a separate <teiHeader> for each of these  
> chapters, only additional front/back matter.
>
> For what it is worth, I would have used something like:
>
> ====
> <text>
> <front>
>    <!-- front matter for entire dictionary--></front>
> <group>
>    <text>
>        <front><!-- front matter for first chapter --></front>
>        <body><!-- first chapter's entries --></body>
>        <back><!-- back matter for first chapter --></back>
>    </text>
>    <text>
>        <!-- second chapter -->
>    </text>
> </group>
> <back><!-- back matter for entire dictionary--></back>
> </text>
> ====
>
> -James
> -- 
> Dr James Cummings, Research Technologies Service, University of Oxford
> James dot Cummings at oucs dot ox dot ac dot uk