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On 07/09/18 04:04, Charles Muller wrote:> I just received the following
from a local IT guy who is thinking about
> checking out the TEI conference next week:
> 
>> Hello Charles,
>> Can you recommend a good article on explaining what TEI is, for people
>> who don't already know what it is? :-) I poked around the conference
>> website, then the tei-c.org website. Then I started looking at the P5
>> spec, and now I feel like I've gone from descriptions that are too
>> high-level to too low-level!
>>
>> I guess what I am trying to grasp is: why TEI? What is the problem it
>> solves, that <mainstream alternative> does not.

Good question. The Wikipedia article is good, but it doesn't directly
answer the second question, although the examples (prose, verse) provide
an indirect answer from which he may infer the Truth.

> I gave him a brief response, comparing the flexibility and granularity
> of TEI to LaTeX, relational databases, etc. Can anyone recommend some
> appropriate articles?

_What does XML give the LaTeX user?_
https://tug.org/pracjourn/2005-2/flynn/flynn.pdf

What I told my students was:

The problem it solves (IMNSHO) is IDENTITY. XML (and by extension, TEI,
and all the other vocabularies) lets you say unambiguously that this
bunch of characters is the title of this document, and that this bunch
of characters is the seventeenth paragraph in the third section of
chapter 5. It usually says nothing at all about what it looks like, only
that it exists, and this is what people call it.

(LaTeX, on the other hand, *could* be coerced into do that, but it's
much better storing your document in XML and using XSLT to turn it into
LaTeX when you want a formatted copy.)

Relational databases are, in a wild generalization, useless for storing
any quantity of running text bigger than a shopping list. But they are
excellent for RELATED tables and lists.

As your colleague is in IT, and I'm recently ex-IT support for TEI in my
institution, by all means tell him to email me if he wants to chat. If
he's going to support TEI, then the TEI Conference would be an ideal
place to start (it was an ACH meeting I went to where Lou and Michael
explained everything in fine detail that got me started).

///Peter