12.0169 The Tagging Challenge: an update

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 16:08:21 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 169.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 10:23:46 +0100
From: Stuart Lee <stuart.lee@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>
Subject: Tagging Challenge: An Update (fwd)

Many thanks to those who replied to my challenge about tagging
Owen's 'Futility'....so far! (I have enclosed the original 'challenge' at
the end of this message for those of you who missed it). I was
particularly struck by Francoise's recent posting which likened the
creation of the text on the manuscript to a performance. Obviously though,
with this 'play', the jury is out as to which order the scenes and acts
should (or did) follow.

However, what is striking from the responses I've received is a reluctance
to embrace any SGML encoding (to put it politely). When I spoke to our
resident TEI-expert here at Oxford, his reply was 'I'm not surprised
looking at the document'.

This leads me to raise the following questions:

Is it that certain documents are simply too complicated for SGML-based
text encoding? If so, at what point does a document cross this boundary?

I suppose an answer to this might be 'a document is only as
complicated as you make it'. So, to clarify, if I wished to record all of
the alterations by the poet in machine-readable (AND machine-searchable)
form what should I do?

My worry is that the document I am using for the challenge is not unique
in its complexity, indeed I would go further by saying that anyone dealing
with cursive manuscripts which record a creation process (as opposed to
simple transcriptions) would say that this is very representative of the
bulk of documents out there. Thus, if this does prove too difficult to
mark-up using the TEI guidelines, shouldn't we be telling people that
this may be the case for their material as well ? (I know some of us
already are!).

So come on you TEI gurus,


Original posting follows: