SIGMS Minutes 20091114

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MS SIG Business Meeting, Ann Arbor, 14 November 2009, 10-12h


Ondine Le Blanc (OB), Jindrich Marek (JM), Christian Wittern (CW), Brett Barney (BB), Christian Emil Ore (CO), Fotis Jannidis (FJ), Elena Pierazzo (EP, chair), Tone Merete Bruvik (TB), Amanda Gailey (AG, minutes), Tim Jackson (TJ), Malte Rehbein (MR, minutes), Dan O'Donnell (DD, partly), Susan Schreibman (SS, partly)


  1. overview over the achievements of last year:
    1. task force on Genetic Editions (chair: FJ) is working and has produced (and presented) a first draft of the concept; beta test about to start soon; aims to propose to the Council by spring 2010
    2. task force on MSDesc Enhancement (chair: Torsten Schassan): all proposed request have been approved by the Council
    3. extension of this towards “text bearing objects” needs to be re-vitalized
  2. agenda for next year
    1. continue on Genetic Editions (see above)
    2. create a task force to improve / rewrite the Critical Apparatus chapter (volunteers needed)
    3. improve “Public Relations” of the SIG

And in more detail

Report and discussion of status

  • All work done by SIG has been accepted: punctuation, focus group, another tag that is a counterpart to <supplied>, denoting an expunged/suppressed chunk of text

Text Bearing Objects

  • <msDesc>: need to make it broader for people who work for things like stones (CW), early printed books, envelopes etc.; need to note where stones are located, need to deal with early printed books. Could it be a tboDesc: text-bearing object?
  • We are interested in objects *as they bear texts*, not as simply objects
  • Can we use some resources to have a meeting with people from museums, libraries, and people working with stones to brainstorm how to treat text-bearing objects
  • CW: there's a question of domain, the self-defined domain of the TEI is texts, so anything with important bearing on texts should be in TEI, but there are ways of looking at some things that are not text-oriented, may fall outside of domain. Need a demarcation line, what tags should come into line, what should be left in a foreign schema that could be imported into TEI
  • EP: we were thinking of a new SIG, make it specific and involve librarians and museum curators, it is beyond the scope of an annual MS SIG meeting
  • MR: We should bring this up to other SIG conveners as the issue goes across tidy interests of a single SIG
  • JM: we are editors/codicologists, that is our view, others have another view of text-bearing objects
  • EP: MS SIG inherited the name manuscript but really it has the broader interest of primary sources

Genetic Editions

  • EP (reports): Wanted to have input from outside/non-DH people; workshop was very successful and inspiring. It was a good idea to invite outsiders. Required a ton of work to write emails, ask for funding, set up meeting. We shouldn't say we will do something unless people will actually commit to doing the work to make it happen or it won't work.
  • EP Also decided to involve the council to have their support; helped a lot because it got Lou Burnard involved whose special knowledge of TEI helped the working group get to the point and navigate TEI more efficiently
  • Can work up to March to make a proposal to get it before the council; will take a year probably (30-40 pages) to get it through council. Need to provide examples of people using it; need real-life examples to break the proposed tags, show where it needs to be strengthened. Try to use the schema!
  • FJ: need a very simple genetic example where the group could publish the images (i.e. no copyright restrictions). If someone has that, please send it.
  • EP: Can get the schema from source forge, also a link off the wiki
  • MR: We need to make the wiki and all that clearer and better organized to make it more welcoming to newcomers
  • MR (referring to TB's presentation on Wittgenstein yesterday): need to improve chapter 11 (primary sources), should go alongside the work on Genetic Encoding
  • EP: How to Do Genetic Editions should be a separate document, but it wouldn't constitute its own chapter as it really incorporates/applies stuff from other chapters

General discussion on the Guidelines. They are a reference work, but there should also be "application" documents describing how to use different modules when you're interested in doing a specific kind of encoding How do you report a missing feature in the guidelines? They say go to source forge. Have to go through some kind of development link. SIG should give users guidance and help for reporting issues. Begin by writing to list and explaining the problem, after discussion ask if it should be suggested to source forge, then report it to source forge. If you're speaking specifically on a ms issue, you should report it on the SIG list.

  • MS SIG has stopped working on facsimile because it has become its own SIG.

Critical Apparatus

  • Critical apparatus--rethink as accounting for textual variation
  • SIGs should look directly at a guidelines chapter and specifically articulate what is missing, what is wrong, etc. Maybe get some people and divide the chapter up to make this more manageable.
  • MR: "critical apparatus" comes from a print-based edition and can be used to encode print-based editions, but when you are talking about digital born editions of primary documents, we have to encode textual variation. “Critical apparatus” is too output-oriented.
  • EP: SIGs are supposed to point out both technical and philosophical/critical shortcomings. What is the interface to collation?
  • DD: collation's granularity varied widely; the work of the group will be about conceptualizing your task, not necessarily tagging.
  • EP: We need someone to take the reins as the head of revamping critical apparatus.
  • CW: Don't decide ahead of time how much revamping needs to be done. That's the task of the group. The output of the effort should be a replacement for the text critical chapter. May or may not be a rewrite (MR prefers to start from scratch)
  • BB: Lots and lots of overlap with the stuff that genetic editions is revamping.
  • EP: 1) need someone to take the lead in organizing the critical app group; 2) also need some non-TEI people
  • Todo's: First EP will contact a couple of people who have specifically mentioned an interest in critical apparatus. She will let us know what they say, then we will approach Spenser people (AG), maybe DD with Caedmon people. DD would be willing to co-lead the group.

Public Relations

  • Need to reinvigorate the list
  • Need to re-vitalise the Wiki (both: SIG and Genetic Editions)
  • MR: make the SIG a “single point of entry” for less experienced people in manuscript-related work
  • We can provide a weekly digest of ms issues from the TEI-L once a week
  • Need a section on the TEI page along the lines of "New to TEI?" that explains people should get in with a SIG; "special interest" seems advanced as a label but we can explain that we are also a group that can help other people with a shared interest, ease into the larger world of TEI
  • SS: Education SIG would welcome articles and groupings of data, contributions
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