TEI Cheatsheets

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This page is listing the "cheatsheets" in preparation for various types of tasks or sub-communities of the TEI users community at large.

Started by Marjorie Burghart - April 2013


What are TEI cheatsheets?

A "TEI cheatsheet" starts from the scholarly experience of the users and offers, without assuming that they have read the Guidelines before, a "translation" of the phenomenon in TEI, or maybe several options when useful and possible, all this with minimal textual glosses but references and pointers to the Guidelines, for those who want to go further. They would be unverbose "best practice" guides, conceived as simple "scholar experience to TEI" dictionaries.

There is a great deal in the Guidelines that is aimed at people who are not familiar with the Humanities concepts behind the encoding, which is helpful if you come from a different background. But I really think that to a seasoned philologist reading the TEI chapters on the transcription of sources and critical apparatus must be really boring - they already know the theory better than us. That is why I believe many would be grateful if they were given a simple "translation" into TEI lingo.

Why TEI cheatsheets?

Easing the learning curve

My feeling is that the Guidelines should be regarded as a reference book for more advanced users, not as the textbook for people starting to learn (or even people who do not really want to learn but just do). There are many different communities of Humanities scholars who use the TEI, and I am assuming that all (most?) of them know what they want to do with their texts, and have their own ways of working with them. My hope is that the cheatsheets, targetting specific Humanities communities or needs, will be a way of making the learning curve less steep for newbies. I hope that this would let people with no experience of XML feel immediately familiar with what the encoding is doing, at no great learning cost. It should get them started quickly, then it'll be up to them to see if they need (or care) to learn more and delve into the Guidelines.

Facilitating the work of tool developpers

A notable side-effect of the existence of such cheatsheets or "best practice in a nutshell" would be to greatly facilitate the work of tool developpers considering to support TEI as a format in their application. It is currently most difficult for tools developpers to figure how to support TEI, because of the many possible ways of encoding the same phenomenon. Having a clearly defined list of "best practice" guides would make it easier to conform to those practices, and would hopefully boost the number of TEI-aware tools available.

Which TEI cheatsheets?

There is of course no fixed set, and each sub-community or transversal task could have its cheatsheet. The list below is just a couple of suggestions, please feel free to add to it!

This is the task/community that is the closest to my own scholarly experience, and the one about which I first got the idea of creating "cheatsheets". I started this as a blog post, based on my own experience, some discussions on TEI-L or the MS SIG list, and further edited after feedback from users. The result is an example of what I have in mind, but could certainly be expanded further: [1] This cheatsheet should go further than the Critical Apparatus module/chapter of the Guidelines, BTW, and should incorporate phenomena usually present in critical editions like other layers of notes, index of people's names, index of place names, etc. Please use the Critical Editions Cheatsheet page on this Wiki to suggest phenomena that should be treated, and ideally how they should be encoded (but it is not mandatory, you can of course simply list the phenomena and wait for the community to come up with encoding recommendations.

I separate this from Critical Editions, because it is very common to want to add scholarly annotations to texts or documents which are not critical editions. This is therefore a transversal task. Please use the Annotation Cheatsheet to submit tasks and the best way do perform them.

You have a digiral facsimile, you have its transcription or annotations about its content, how do you do that in TEI? Please describe the phenomena / subtasks involved and the best practice to encode them in the Facsimile Linking Cheatsheet

This is not something I am in any way experienced with but I suspect there is some need for cheatsheets in this department. Please use the Linguistic Encoding Cheatsheet to submit tasks and the best way do perform them.

You have a facsimile with both textual and non-textual information, how do you encode the non-textual information and connect it with the transcription? I started compiling a similar resource, "A Guide to Images in TEI", but it might be useful if we could distil that into a Cheatsheet written from an art historian's perspective. --Martin de la Iglesia 07:51, 9 April 2013 (EDT)

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