Megan—Thank you! I’m glad my Thalaba project is helpful for you—I learned my way around Cytoscape by working on that project! I think your project on Tiempo de Silencio is fascinating: you will have many different kinds of locations and relationships among places to think about.
About the various ways to encode place in the TEI, you’ve likely been looking at Chapter 13 of the Guidelines, and the sections about encoding various kinds of geographic and geopolitical locations: http://www.tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/ND.html#NDPLAC
. But you will want to customize your approach, and I don’t think the TEI is establishing a hierarchy of place so much as offering options for encoding. (I’m not aware, for example, of an element specifically for encoding a room.) But you can adapt the TEI to your project and find a way to encode various kinds of locations. This is an area where some pioneering efforts might be made, I think. Most of our orientation and vocabulary regarding places in digital projects is associated with mapping, but when we work with space and place in literary contexts, we frequently move into zones of mythical and abstract space, or of fictional landscapes.
For Thalaba, and other projects I’m working on, I try to keep the markup simple—<placeName> and <rs type=“place”> vs. <rs type=“metaplace”> are customizations I designed for the project (with a few other attributes in play). But I save the more complex typology of places for a separate “placeography” file, in which I store a catalogue of each distinct place, associated with information about what kind of place it is. You can dereference the markup with a prosopography file, in which each distinct place is given a distinct id, and work in the elements that help to classify it. My approach is basically to harvest widely over a pile of documents, and try to do all the classification work in one place elsewhere. Now, that’s easy for me to say, working on multiple projects at once—it’s a working method. I’ll say it can be difficult to work out how complicated a schema you want to devise, and you may just want to spend a while coding some chapters experimentally and doing a lot of lookup in the TEI Guidelines to work out your strategy.
I guess what I’m saying is that the TEI isn’t really providing a recipe to follow so much as food for thought and guidance, and definitions of the appropriate ways (plural) in which tags can be used. And I also think that encoding places as they’re referenced in literature can be especially and marvellously complex, and we stand to learn a great deal from an adventurous effort to encode them—both within the TEI and in literary scholarship!
Hope this helps a little...
Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601 USA
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Development site: http://newtfire.org
Hi Elisa--Thanks so much for the link to your project! Just getting a peek at the way you are tagging--and then seeing the beautiful networks you are generating with Cytoscape--is quite helpful, not to mention inspirational.
To answer your question, I am working on a literary cartography of Madrid, starting with the novel Tiempo de Silencio by Luis Martín-Santos, which--in addition to its other charms--functions as a radical reworking of Madrid's literary (and artistic) spaces via a complex web of overlapping geographic and metaliterary references and allusions, along with a strong dose of realism regarding demographic shifts in post-war Madrid. On a deeper level, I'm interested in the mechanisms that authors use to create such elaborate mental mapping and geographic awareness in the mind of the reader.
The philological approach to literature that I was taught here in Spain is very much like markup to begin with and what you wrote about Cytoscape resonates with me: "A great reason to try plotting a network from XML structure might just be because you have a hunch that you might learn something interesting based on relationships you’re beginning to see in your markup."
Syd, Lou, and Thomas--
Thanks for the practical advice on tackling places and the notion of naming. I'm looking for a way to balance detailed tagging of what is actually there in the text, while also capturing what is stirred up in the mind of the reader and you have given me plenty of food for thought. This particular text plays with ellipsis to such an extent that naming is quite relevant, even/especially in its absence. There's no doubt that I need to capture all of that information.
Question: is there any established hierarchy of places from macro to micro (e.g. planet, continent, country, region, city, street, building, room)?