TEI in the wild

For this week’s task, identifying TEI in the wild, I selected the New York Public Library’s Digital Schomburg: African American Woman Writers of the 19th Century. This project makes its use of TEI explicit, detailing its use of machine-readable form under a link called “Technical Notes.” According to the site, Digital Schomburg uses Standard General Markup Language (SGML), according to the Text Encoding Initiative Lite Document Type Definition.

On the home page, beneath the technical notes link is a link titled “Editorial Methods.” This includes a comparison of the print and electronic forms of the text, which claims “Not a single character of text has been deleted or excluded from the source documents in their conversion to the Digital Schomburg Edition” (http://digital.nypl.org/schomburg/writers_aa19/technotes.html). It describes its use of TEI as “literary,” and explains the difference between a TEI header, encoding description, revision history description, and text profile description.

While the project clearly describes its method, the editors do not go so far as to describe challenges encountered during their work. They stick to a descriptive approach to their use of XML. Having scoured the project’s website, I found no trace of accessible code. While the editors are willing to describe their process, they protect it by refusing to share it with visitors to the site. This closes down the possibilities for scholarly engagement with the text, assuming users’ interest in the project’s form is fairly superficial.

The link to the Digital Schomburg project can be found here: http://digital.nypl.org/schomburg/writers_aa19/technotes.html

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