Travel Guides: An Encoding Challenge

Stephanie and I decided on Karl Baedeker’s “Southern France Including Corsica: Handbook for Travellers” (1907) for the encoding challenge. Stephanie had previously spent some time in Nice and we are both fascinated by the format and content of the guide.IMG_0520

Here’s a little history: Beadeker’s guides set the standard for authoritative travel guides and introduced information on routes, accommodations and travel, an innovation at the time. Beadeker created guides that focused on the traveler and reader. The guides featured information regarding transportation, restaurants, tipping, sights, and prices for a variety of things, including taxi fares. In addition, the guides include “pull out” maps that are referred to throughout the tex. These guides were designed to provide maximum coverage of the destination so that the traveler would not be required to look for information outside of the guide.

IMG_0526Since these guides contain a boat load of information, they are very dense and detailed (see the image below). Some challenges we will face for encoding will arise when it comes to decisions on format and content. The guides were formatted to fit the most content in the smallest amount of space. This resulted in large paragraphs containing content that is better presented in a list format. Our challenge will be to determine if we want to focus on presenting a true encoding of the material, in both content and format, or if we want to focus our attention on presenting the content in a different format, like including lists.


Another challenge we will face is encoding the references to the maps included in the guides or the references to other pages in the book. It will be interesting to play around with XML tagging to find a way to adequately represent these cross references.

image4Both Stephanie and I are super excited to take on this challenge and can’t wait to see how it turns out!


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