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Ah, I see now.  I forgot to list my fifth assumption (that you wanted to 
describe the whole TEI document, not a portion of it).

The problem you face reminds me quite a bit of the struggles of those 
digitizing journals in TEI.  They have to figure out whether the TEI 
document corresponds to an individual journal article, an issue, a 
volume, or the whole run of the journal.  If they choose anything above 
the level of the article, they're going to need to apply metadata of 
various sorts to a portion of the TEI document.  I've been meaning to 
write up a summary of the approaches to this problem that people have 
suggested in the past on this list, but till I get to that, you might 
look through the archives and see if any of those approaches feel 
appropriate for your situation.

Kevin

On 11/16/15 9:40 AM, Dot Porter wrote:
> Thanks for answering my query, Kevin, but what I want to do isn't
> actually that simple. The context is a model I'm working up for physical
> collation, where I want to apply terms to specific leaves, not to an
> entire document.