Minutes of the TEI Presentation Tools SIG Meeting in Victoria, 28 October 2006

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The regular meeting of the TEI Presentation Tools SIG was held on October 28, 2006, at 9:00 a.m., in the Hornby Room of the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


  • Gautier Poupeau (Ecole nationale des chartes)
  • Elena Pierazzo (Pisa)
  • Stuart Kiang (MIT)
  • Liam Quin (W3C)
  • Kevin Hawkins (Michigan)
  • Matthew Zimmerman (NYU)
  • Bill Parod (Northwestern)

Kevin Hawkins called the meeting to order at 9:13 a.m.

Matthew Zimmerman explained the history of the SIG: that he proposed it four years ago, without a good name. It was meant to be a group for developers of tools and those who need to use tools. They had a few ideas, but people's jobs have kept them from accomplishing much.

Kevin summarized the activity of the group since its last meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2005: that Federico Mescini agreed to put his list of tools in TEIWiki, with others adding tools on their own, but Federico never submitted it to the wiki, and Kevin never found it.

Matt realized he had a copy on his laptop, so he emailed it to Kevin.

Kevin continued, explaining that the SIG also planned to improve the TEI project submission form on the TEI website to include questions about tools used. Kevin concluded that everyone got busy and no progress was made on any of these tasks but added that he now really wants to compile a list of tools for his own work and so is especially motivated now.

Matt said he supports adding questions about tools to the project submission form.

He also said that he felt the needs of TEI users for XML tools are similar to those of the larger XML community. Liam Quin and Elena Pierazzo disagreed, saying that TEI markup is much more complicated than that used by the larger community, including mixed content models and elements of the same name that can nest, requiring tools with more features than many XML tools have.

Elena suggested using Thijs van den Broek's May 2005 study of XML editors as a starting point for a list of editors. However, she said we don't want a mere list but rather to give more detailed information. The list should include more than just editors since there are different tools for different purposes.

Stuart Kiang suggested that each tool listed be associated with a particular project. Matt suggested using the format from Federico's list: name of tool, description, and a short list of implementations.

Stuart then suggested that we have a way of listing users willing to be contacted about a particular tool.

Liam suggested noting for each tool that is not available gratis whether the developer is willing to give a discount to TEI members or academics. Matt agreed, noting that even open source tools are not always available gratis.

Elena noted that academics in Italy are required to use open source software for their research.

There was a tangential discussion of the bad design of the TEI website, with the suggestion that a revised website be prioritized over P5 development. Matt assured everyone that stewardship of the website is no longer with Oxford but now with Virginia. He said that Amit Kumar (Illinois) and Chris Ruotolo (Virginia) are working on a redesign and aiming to launch it in January 2007.

Kevin drafted a database-like schema for the inventory of tools with everyone's input:

  • tool name
  • tool category:
    • administrative (managing files and workflow)
    • development (for people writing scripts and stylesheets)
    • editing
    • conversion/preprocessing (e.g., for converting Word to XML, Sebastian's plugin, scripts to tag author names)
    • testing / quality assurance (for checking the plausibility of the markup)
    • publishing / delivery
    • querying
    • analysis
  • open source? (is code freely available)
  • gratis? (is product freely available)
  • discounts for academics or TEI members?
  • supports TEI or TEI Lite "out of the box"?
  • platforms supported

The page on each tool will include the following:

  • tool name
  • where to download
  • current version number
  • history of versions
  • language of tool itself
  • language of documentation
  • information on tech support
  • information on user community

Elena and Matt suggested we take a minimalist approach to the amount of information we attempt to provide; otherwise, the project will never get done. Kevin said he plans to set out the framework and have lots of empty fields for others to fill in.

Elena lamented that people don't like to share their code because it's unpolished and the work is unfinished.

Elena asked whether image processing software should be included in the inventory. Kevin suggested that we allow for links to this kind of software, just like we could link to other sites on tools, but not attempt to include them since the content being manipulated is not in TEI and because in this case we really can rely on an outside community of users.

The meeting adjourned at 10:03 a.m.

Submitted by Kevin Hawkins

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