SIG:CMC/1st SIG meeting in Rome, 3 October 2013

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This page is part of the wiki space of the TEI-SIG “Computer-mediated communication".

Report about the 1st meeting of the TEI-SIG "Computer-Mediated Communication" on 3 October 2013 at Università "La Sapienza" in Rome

The meeting was held as part of the 2013 Annual Conference and Members Meeting of the TEI.


Introductory presentation: Motivation for the SIG and project presentations

The meeting of the SIG started with an outline (given by Michael) of the motivation for integrating models for the representation of CMC genres into the TEI framework (CMC data as a resource of empirical research in different areas of Digital Humanities; lack of standards for annotation of the structural and linguistic peculiarities of CMC discourse; interoperability of CMC corpora with other types of corpora) and an overview of general requirements of a TEI schema for CMC and of general issues of modeling CMC in XML (and especially in TEI).

The outline was followed by short introductions of the projects gathered in the meeting (projects which are building reference corpora of CMC or CMC subsets for general-language reference corpora; projects from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands). All project presentations included lists of specific requirements of a TEI schema for CMC which relate with the specific goals and research questions in the different projects.

The last part of the meeting was joined by members of the SIG "TEI for Linguists". Andreas Witt (convener of the Linguists' SIG) gave an overview of points of joint interest of both SIGs. The SIGs agreed to cooperate on issues in representing linguistic features of CMC (including the representation of spoken language in multimodal CMC environments) and probably organize a joint workshop/panel/meeting on these issues in the future.


Starting from the lists of general and specific requirements of modeling CMC, fhe participants have been discussing several open issues, especially

  • the issue of what may be most common basic elements for the description of user contributions to CMC discourse: Participants agreed that the <posting> element suggested in the customized TEI schema from the DeRiK project is a useful model for the representation of user contributions in genres of written CMC in which users submit their verbal contributions to the server en bloc. For the representation of (transcribed) spoken utterances and (transcribed) nonverbal activity in multimodal CMC environments, additional models are needed (e.g., the <u> element for spoken utterances). A framework for the representation of CMC should allow for a combination of postings, spoken utterances and descriptions of nonverbal behavior.
  • the issue of how to represent descriptions of the configuration and relevant technical functions of the communication environment in a metadata schema for CMC: Since technical functions affect the way how people communicate (e.g., design their contributions, become aware of each others interaction with the system, refer to prior postings, topics or discourse items) in manyfold ways and since environments may change or even disappear after data has been collected from them, it is of great importance to be able to preserve information which is relevant for the interpretation of the data by researchers who don't (or didn't) have access to the environment themselves.

Next steps

The participants agreed to proceed working on a joint schema for the representation of CMC in TEI. For the next months, a focus will be laid on the following issues/tasks:

  • the definition of a basic framework that allows for the representation of data from written CMC genres (forum threads, chat logfiles, Wikipedia talk pages, Twitter timelines, blog comments etc.) as well as of data from multimodal CMC environments. The CoMeRe and the DeRiK project will present a first problem sketch/draft on possible solutions to the group for further discussion.
  • the definition of a structure for the description of the communication environment within a metadata schema for CMC. Web2Corpus_it, SoNaR and Axel (for CLARIN-D) will present a first problem sketch/draft on possible solutions to the group for further discussion.

The problem sketches/first suggestions shall be made available on a subpage of the SIG page in the TEI wiki and then be further discussed via the mailing list and evaluated by annotating data samples from several projects.

Other issues that will be addressed by the SIG have been outlined in the presentation given at the TEI conference panel "CMC in TEI: What lies ahead" (see slides and panel exposé for details).

Everybody who is interested in participating in the discussion of these (and other CMC-related) issues is highly welcome to join in!

Plans for next meetings

  • Intermediate meeting (February 2014, TU Dortmund University): It is planned to discuss first suggestions and alternative ideas for the above-mentioned issues with other colleagues from the fields of CMC research and Digital Humanities at an intermediate meeting between the 2013 and the 2014 TEI-MM (= special topic panel on CMC in TEI at the 2014 conference of the German Empirikom network).
  • October 2014, somewhere in North America: 2nd meeting of the SIG at TEI-MM 2014
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