12.0190 forum on WWW; TEI future

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 4 Sep 1998 15:50:20 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 190.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: IFETS <kinshuk@IEEE.ORG> (54)
Subject: IFETS Forum discussion announcement

[2] From: David Green <david@ninch.org> (160)
Subject: Fwd: The Future of the TEI

Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 10:42:17 +0100
From: IFETS <kinshuk@IEEE.ORG>
Subject: IFETS Forum discussion announcement

New formal discussion has started in IFETS forum on the topic:

"Does the web offer solution to many old problems but create new ones in

Moderator: Ashok Patel
Director, CAL Research & Software Engineering Centre, United Kingdom

Summariser: Samantha Hobbs
Lecturer, Open University, United Kingdom

(Pre-discussion summary below)


International Forum of Educational Technology and Society (IFETS)


The forum aims to bring together the developers of educational systems,
and the educators who implement and manage such systems.

If you have not joined the forum yet, but would like to do so, please
follow these steps:

1. Please subscribe to the forum discussion mailing list by
sending a message to ifets-Request@gmd.de with the
following in the body of the message (no subject needed):

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2. Please fill out registration form at forum's website



* Pre-discussion summary

"Does the web offer solution to many old problems but create new ones in

The Web technology offers a relatively standard user interface through
the Web Browser. It has multi-media capabilities and can communicate
with the user through multiple channels of communication. It is link
based and therefore has a flexible structure enabling subsequent addition
or deletion of material much less painful than the 'hard-coded' programs.
With increasing support for interaction through scripting and programming
languages, it is possible to add the 'intelligence' so that we can now
start designing Web-Based ITS (Intelligent Tutoring Systems).

It can now be considered quite possible, excepting problems of intellectual
property and payments, that with appropriate authoring shell and indexing
mechanism, teachers across the globe can co-operate in incrementally
building/revising/updating tutoring material to cover all the possible
parts of the curriculum. It is also possible, that the web will follow
the 'printed book' so that one or more author/s might cover a range of
topics in a webbook (as opposed to textbook and where 'book' represents
an organised collection of learning resources) and the teachers would
recommend the webbook that has a teaching approach which matches with
their own teaching style. Unlike a printed textbook, the digital webbook
has the flexibility of carrying different sets of links, so that, say,
depending on the index you choose, you might get a top-down or bottom-up
perspective, holistic or serialist approach to material presentation etc.

In short. standardised interface, multiple channels of communication,
flexible structure, ease of amendment, possibility of division of
labour ... the benefits of web technology surely overcomes many of the
old problems. But before we are seduced by this very enticing technology,
we should think about the new set of problems it might bring with it.

The forum is invited to discuss whether the web technology has indeed
solved or offers better mechanism to solve any of the old problems and
what are the new problems that the web technology is likely to bring
with it.

Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 09:25:59 -0500
From: David Green <david@ninch.org>
Subject: Fwd: The Future of the TEI

September 3, 1998

Call for Bids to Host a Consortium for Longer-Term Support

>Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998
>From: C M Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@uic.edu>
>As some readers of this list may be aware, the work of the Text
>Encoding Initiative (TEI) has depended on short-term grant funds ever
>since the project began in late 1987. While appropriate for a research
>project, short term funding is not a secure foundation for the
>continued maintenance and development of a standard. The TEI's
>executive committee has therefore been considering alternative options
>for long-term support of the TEI for some time now. Its current
>intention is to encourage the establishment of some form of
>membership-based consortium in order to secure ongoing funding and
>organizational support for the TEI.
>The purpose of this note is to inform potentially interested members
>of the TEI community about this proposal, to solicit bids for hosting
>such a consortium, and to initiate a wider debate about the future of
>the TEI.
>Note: If your institution is interested in bidding to host a TEI
>consortium, please contact C. M. Sperberg-McQueen at tei@uic.edu as
>soon as possible. Preliminary discussion with some potential hosts is
>already underway, with the intention of making a final decision in
>January 1999.
>More information about the TEI is available from its public discussion
>list at tei-l@listserv.uic.edu and its website at
><http://www.uic.edu/orgs/tei>; additional background information
>relating to the consortium proposal is given below.
>Background information
>The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is an international cooperative
>effort to develop and disseminate guidelines for the encoding and
>interchange of machine-readable texts for research. Sponsored by the
>Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH), the Association
>for Computational Linguistics (ACL), and the Association for Literary
>and Linguistic Computing (ALLC), the TEI began in 1988, published
>drafts of its work in 1990 and 1992-93 for comment, and published the
>Guidelines for Text Encoding and Interchange (TEI P3) in May 1994.
>Since 1994, the TEI has largely concentrated on dissemination
>activities, such as workshops and publications. Its proposals are
>internationally recognized as essential material for anyone currently
>considering serious academic work with electronic texts of any
>However, its Guidelines are now, after four years, in serious need of
>revision and extension. A new round of technical work was carried out
>in 1996-7, largely relying on volunteer effort and residual
>funding. This work has yet to be published. In addition, the TEI has
>recently chartered several new work groups to address in depth some
>specific subject areas in which the existing Guidelines are clearly
>incomplete or inadequate. A formal mechanism exists for these groups
>to report their recommendations, but incorporating them into a
>revision of the Guidelines will require further editorial and
>dissemination effort.
>As one specific example, the TEI has been heavily involved in the
>development of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and related
>specifications. The editors of the TEI both participated in the
>design of XML, and one also served as a co-editor of the XML
>specification; the TEI's extended-pointer notation has been taken as
>the basis for the Xpointer language; the TEI's tag-set documentation
>will be part of the input to the deliberations of the new XML Schema
>and Datatyping Work Group sponsored by the World Wide Web
>Consortium. Yet while there has been uch discussion of the need to
>adjust the current TEI DTD o take account of XML and related
>specifications, and although the relevant TEI work group has begun
>identifying the required technical changes, no infrastructure exists
>for publication and dissemination of the results of that work.
>Over the last ten years, the Text Encoding Initiative has been funded
>through grants from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, an
>independent federal agency; Directorate General XIII of the Commission
>of the European Union; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Social
>Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The TEI cannot
>rely indefinitely on such generosity, and in particular we do not
>believe that it can or should continue in the absence of a reliable
>and well-funded publishing and maintenance infrastructure. By far the
>greatest contribution to the TEI's success, however, has been the
>generous donation of time and expertise by the scores of researchers
>who have served without compensation on TEI work groups and technical
>committees; they and their host institutions have provided an
>incalculable contribution to the preparation and dissemination of the
>Guidelines. Their generosity, too, can best be put to use by a
>TEI possessed of a reliable infrastructure.
>As originally conceived, the TEI was expected to remain in existence
>only as long as necessary for its Guidelines to be published, to be
>used then by anyone interested in so doing. The Memorandum of
>Understanding between the three sponsoring organizations which set up
>the TEI makes reference to the need for some sort of maintenance
>scheme for the Guidelines, but does not elaborate how it might be set
>It seems clear that the maintenance of complex technical
>specifications like the TEI Guidelines is hard or impossible with at
>least some level of ongoing technical and editorial work. Editorial
>work must be funded, and there are inevitable travel costs both in the
>development work, and in the dissemination activities necessary to
>keep the TEI Guidelines up to date and usable by the community they
>were created to benefit. The organizational structure of the TEI,
>originally intended for a fixed-term project, must also be adapted to
>serve its new role as an ongoing service effort.
>The TEI executive committee has been discussing these issues for some
>time and has tentatively concluded that an appropriate funding model
>would be to establish a membership-based consortium, the object of
>which will be to support the ongoing maintenance and development of
>the TEI as well as to organize related dissemination activities. The
>exact focus of such a consortium, the likely scope of its activities,
>and its relationship with the original sponsoring organizations are
>all yet to be determined. The executive committee seeks input from the
>community of those engaged in computer-assisted work with textual
>material, to confirm this decision and to help decide the many
>questions it leaves unanswered.
>Many thanks to all who have supported the TEI in the past; we hope,
>with your help and continued support, to build on the TEI's success,
>making it an even more useful tool for all those interested in the
>creation and reuse of textual resources.
>-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
>University of Illinois at Chicago
>-Lou Burnard
>Oxford University
>Paul J. Constantine
>Head, Reference Services Division
>Olin-Kroch-Uris Libraries
>Cornell University
>106D Olin Library
>Ithaca, NY 14853
>E-mail: pjc6@cornell.edu
>Telephone: (607) 255-3319

David L. Green
Executive Director
21 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington DC 20036
202/296-5346 202/872-0886 fax

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