Practicum #3: TEI Encoding, due 1/31

This practicum has 2 parts. Part I we will start together in class, and part II will be due published as a blog post by Tuesday 1/24. Turn in your XML file in canvas, and put your name in the filename (e.g. GeorgeMichaelPracticum.xml, PrincessLeiaPracticum.xml).

Set up, part of homework for Tuesday, 1/17 (to be sure you’re ready for 1/19): Download a free trial of Oxygen XML Editor. link: Be sure that you can open the editor in your laptop before you come to class on Tuesday.

Part I: In class, on Thursday 1/19, you will encode the title page and the first 12 lines of Helen Maria Williams’ poem on the slave trade. I will provide a template XML document for you to work from and a list of elements and attributes that you may want to use. You can also experiment with more elements and attributes that you find in the TEI guidelines.

Directions: In class, look only at the title page and the first page of this poem, which has 12 lines of verse on it (use this Google Books edition). What are the structural components of these two pages that you think are important to preserve in markup in a machine-readable version of this text? This is part of the critical work of markup: deciding what needs markup, or TEI tags to indicate it as an important structural component. By default you are also deciding what will not be preserved in markup.

The second critical analysis step is deciding which tags to use. Since we’re new to TEI, I’m going to help you with this. You will now have a chance to practice encoding a few structural elements in TEI.

Open Your Oxygen XML Editor. You will find a prepared XML file for you here, in this shared dropbox folder. Download the one that is called “Williams Practicum_TemplateforStudents.xml”. You will also need to download the file called “tei_all.rnc”, and this is our schema. In class,  you will receive help attaching your schema to the XML file. The schema is what enables your XML file to validate. It contains a structural vocabulary. If your XML follows that vocabulary it will be “well formed” (in XML lingo) and you’ll see a green light – this is good! If your XML file violates the structural vocabulary, it will let you know by way of error messages with little red lights – these can also be good! 🙂 (Don’t worry if you make lots of error messages – I do all the time. The key is to not let them frustrate you but to learn from them if you can. Even if you can’t make them disappear, see if you can figure out why you’re creating them. Show your neighbor and ask if they are getting the same errors. Two heads are always better than one.)

Using what you learned about XML and the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines from your reading and from class today, use the page image of the first 12 lines of Helen Maria Williams’ poem to encode those lines in the XML document. This requires 2 steps: 1. transcribing those lines into the document in the correct place (I’ve left you a clue in the document), and 2. putting proper TEI tags, or elements, around those lines.

Below, in the green box, is a list of the elements you will need at a minimum. Use the idea of nested elements (larger elements containing smaller within), TEI by Example  and the TEI Guidelines to help you figure out where to place these elements in relation to the parts of the title and the lines of the poem. (Hint: you can search within the TEI website for the element in question and it will provide and explanation and examples for you for how to use the element.) If you would like to mark up in more detail, feel free to explore the TEI guidelines and do so. Tag away!

More hints: Remember that there should be an opening tag and a closing tag for each element, and some elements need to contain other elements. In other words, the elements I offer you here will occasionally need to be nested within one another.


Part II: After class, after you complete the encoding exercise, or as much of it as you can, or generate a bunch of error messages (also great!), look back at the top of the XML file that you did not work on. It is called the Header. Read it carefully, try to understand it. You can use the TEI Guidelines to help you. Then, answer these questions as best you can in a blog post that is the length of a 1-2 page response (no more):

  • What are the main parts of the TEI Header, in general? (This guide will help.)
  • What do these parts, in  your TEI file, tell us about the digital object you encoded (Williams’ poem)?
  • What is the relationship between these two parts of the file, the Header and the Body?
  • What do you lose if you leave out the Header? Is it necessary for the Header to be so lengthy? Why or why not?
  • What remaining questions do you have about the Header, the Body, or TEI, in general?

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