Complications with TEI

This reading, though apparently a mere introduction to TEI, proved difficult to digest.  Though many terms such as entities, delimiters, and markup language were explained, as I progressed through the reading I had trouble remembering their meanings.  I found myself overwhelmed at the little knowledge I have regarding coding, and I hope that perhaps lectures will provide some insight that I did not grasp in the reading.  Reading this and finding how little I understood the concepts, I continue to believe that coding is necessary education for the younger generations to have nowadays.

Despite the difficulties, I was able to understand some information we previously discussed in class that applied to TEI markup language.  For example, TEI catalogues the actual text and the information about the text, known as meta-information.  Therefore, I applied my previous knowledge regarding metadata with this technology of tagging and meta-information in TEI.  Some of the twenty-one modules the reading discussed contained different subjects that also made sense when connected to the concepts about metadata that we have discusses previously such as the TEI Header which I believe we will have to tackle when we look at the life histories for our project.

The most interesting part of this reading, however, stems from the history of its standardization because it relates once again back to the notion of rhetoric and its power.  Similar to Couch’s outline for his writers in the Federal Writer’s Project, TEI as a standard tagging markup language provides the same rhetorical power for writers.  TEI organizes metadata for a text in a standard that is meant to be efficient yet still is under the bureaucratic control of a minority of experts with its creation and adaptation over time.  How do we adapt the standard to fit our needs when we tackle the life histories?  As we questioned the indigenous ontologies and the more democratic means of documenting native history, how will we document these life histories so that we can claim full authenticity while also making these stories easy to search for future researchers?

About Carla Aviles-Jimenez

Writing and Learning Center
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1 Response to Complications with TEI

  1. Gabriella Bulgarelli says:

    Hi Carla!
    I felt similar sentiments when I explored the TEI in my ENGL 530 class and in this class. In both instances, I was offered readings that offered a conceptual survey of the TEI–basically delving into surface topics and general terminology. After reading both a few times I still feel lost, and I haven’t even begun to do any work utilizing the schema! I think the point at which I agree with you the most is that having prior knowledge of coding or teaching children systems like these from a young age would streamline the entire process.
    Today’s class in Wilson Library posed a similar question to your concluding one for me: ^How do we adapt the standard to fit our needs when we tackle the life histories? ^
    I think it’s important to consider both reproducibility/accessibility as well as authenticity when examining and encoding the life histories the NC FWP. On the Trello card (see my comment if convenient) I questioned things like altered vs. original names, handwritten comments and grammatical editing; and typographical errors. To make our digitized encoded documents accessible, retrievable and easily consumed we would readily want to strike typographical errors from the record, revert to original names and remove the handwritten commentary or editing. But, to preserve authenticity we would have to work around these features and figure out the easiest ways to do the exact opposite. The most annoying thing about this is what we would have to set some ground standards–regulations that make sure that if you and me decide to keep original names, every other encoder does the same. So, this question would definitely need to be discussed communally so that we can reach a group consensus on where our allegiance lies: with authenticity, accessibility or some amalgamation of both.

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