< back to SIG:Correspondence
Request for a correspondence module and a wrapper element for correspondence meta data
It was in 2008 at the London TEI Members' meeting when the SIG on Correspondence held its first meeting. On the SIG's agenda has since then been the creation of a dedicated ODD file for documenting a best practice model of encoding correspondence material. There have been several P4 projects with a dedicated correspondence schema but the Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe (WeGA) was---to my knowledge---the first to publish a P5 schema.
Meanwhile Ron van den Branden has published a (preliminary) DALF P5 proposal which in fact has several parts in common with the WeGA schema. Hence I think it is time to merge the comparable parts into the standard TEI schema.
I do actually tentatively propose (only) two things which I think to be widely acceptable and so shall be discussed during our meeting:
- a correspondence module
- a wrapper element for correspondence meta data
If there was positive agreement about these issues by the group, this proposal can then be elaborated as a feature request to the TEI technical council and will hopefully make it into the TEI standard.
Both ODD schemata (DALF and WeGA) define a special purpose module for grouping together their additions to the vanilla TEI schema. This module simply serves as a (virtual) container for any new element or class etc. and would facilitate future additions. If there was agreement to introduce such a module, the only issue would probably be the name. Since the SIG is named "Correspondence" and the term is broader than "Letter", I do favor this one. On the other hand there is a possible clash with the attribute @corresp that could lead to misinterpretation.
Wrapper Element for Correspondence Meta Data
Another common denominator of the two schemata is their addition of a special purpose element <dalf:letDesc> or <wega:correspDesc> respectively. Both elements are injected into <sourceDesc> and act as a wrapper element for information regarding the sender, addressee, place of sender etc. Their is one little structural difference though: while the WeGA schema introduces <wega:sender>, <wega:addressee> etc. directly within <wega:correspDesc>, DALF has an intermediate <dalf:letHeading>.
Hence I do propose an element <wrapper> (it should be decided on the real tag name during the meeting) with the following content:
- place of sender(s)
- place of addressee(s)
- start date of shipment (= when was it sent by the sender)
- end date of shipment (= when was it received by the addressee)
While I do think that agreement can be reached about the overall goal, I do see a lot of points that need to be discussed:
- where to put <wrapper>? While both schemata put it into <sourceDesc>, one could argue as well to put it into <profileDesc>.
- What structure to adopt for <wrapper>? A flat one as it is done by the WeGA or a deeper one as modeled by DALF?
- Tag names, content models etc. need to get fleshed out. While we could decide about some sort of a naming convention maybe, the actual ODD definitions need to be developed after the meeting most likely (due to time constraints).