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At 22:04 +0100 1996-11-15, A. H. van der Weel wrote:
>SGMLS appears to choke on our invocation of the relevant
>portions of the TEI DTD set in the Doc Type Declaration of the document
>instance, spouting more error messages than you could poke a stick at.
 
Are you using the TEI's SGML declaration ahead of all other input?  If
you don't, your stick will get much useless exercise.  (Most of the
TEI's element and attribute names exceed the eight character default of
sgmls, and any useful document instance is likely to exceed the default
30,000 "capacity points".  This is not sgmls' fault: these limits are
the minimum maximums specified in the SGML standard.)  Or you may be
hitting the end of MS-DOS memory.  In these cases, nsgmls, part of the
SP suite, is a solution: see below.
 
>A
>friendly SGML user in the computer department suggested that the TEI DTD
>needed to be actually "compiled" before SGMLS could handle it.
 
A number of SGML tools require "compilation".  sgmls is not one of them.
 
But anyway, I suggest you get hold of the new, improved replacement for
sgmls.  It's nsgmls, part of sp, and you'll find an MS-DOS binary (among
others) at http://www.jclark.com. (or
ftp://ftp.jclark.com/pub/sp/msdos/sp1_1_1.zip, to be precise).  It's also
to be found in the SGML archive, ftp://ftp.ifi.uio.no/pub/SGML/, which has
better connectivity.  For a start, nsgmls' default SGML declaration is very
accommodating, and I suspect that this will do away with many of the error
messages you're seeing, and remove the need for you to cast about for the
TEI's declaration.  nsgmls' error messages are also more helpful than those
of its predescessor.
 
>But perhaps the most burning question is, is it possible for mere
>textual scholars in a language and literature department to use TEI at
>all without expert help?
 
Possible appearences to the contrary notwithstanding, the purpose of the
TEI recommendations is to make life more productive for mere textual
scholars.  I think you'll find this list quite helpful and understanding in
answering your questions.  As far as I know, some of its readers (not me)
are tackling texts similar to yours.  (Once you get to the stage of feeling
competent to say "you did it wrong" or "you left out...", the tei-tech list
on the same list server may be more appropriate...)
 
---
Dominic Dunlop