Week 4: Colonial Despatches

Having a deep passion for history, my attention was almost immediately drawn to the University of Victoria’s “Colonial Despatches” project presented in the TEI project list. The project is a digital archive containing “transcriptions of virtually the complete correspondences between the British colonial authorities and the successive governors of the nascent Vancouver Island and British Columbia colonies”, among other historically valuable documents. These artifacts provide the history of Vancouver Island and British Columbia from 1846 to 1871 from the perspective of the individuals that were closely tied to the governance and development of the land, its resources and its population.

The original project was created in the 1980s using files encoded in Waterloo Script ( a text-encoding language processed using SCRIPT). These files have now been converted into XML, and the University of Victoria has built a web application to make these files readable and searchable. The files were converted into XML based on TEI P5 Guidelines.

The project provides a detailed guideline that outlines the mark-up scheme used for each record. This document demonstrates how the TEI guidelines were used in the creation of the XML files. The project guide also includes details about the tags used within the markup, offering an explanation for the purpose of the tag and examples on how to use them.

The XML code for all documents in the project are available to the public, making this a very useful example for our own encoding challenge if you are working with handwritten or annotated works.

Bibliography:

Colonial Despatches: The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. University of Victoria (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/about.htm

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