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The TEI Special Interest Group on Correspondence seeks to bring together scholars interested in creating digital scholarly editions of correspondence. The goal of the SIG will be to discuss and develop sample tagsets (including suggesting additions/modifications to the TEI Guidelines) for varying forms of correspondence as well as to create tutorials and best practice models.

Because the initiative for this SIG emerged from editorial work with 19th century letters, the organizers of this SIG have focused on these types of materials. However, we want this SIG to be more encompassing, embracing varying types of historical and literary correspondence including epistles, telegrams, postcards, etc., and perhaps other types of documents that share features with physical written correspondence like diaries, diary entries, letters to the editor, e-mail, blogs, etc.

The common feature of these sorts of text is a generally formalized physical appearance (e.g., an envelope for letters) and structure of content (i.e. address field, special formulas for opener and closer). DALF was one of the best documented projects in this area developing specific DTDs for those needs in P4: this may be a starting point for further work in P5.

Initial topics for the SIG Correspondence may include:

  • the handling of the envelope and postal addresses
  • the formal description of correspondence as a written dialogue between an author and an addressee
  • correspondence-specific bibliographical data within the metadata section


The SIG runs a mailing list, which you can join by visiting .

Topics currently under discussion

--> For this, see the work of the correspDesc task force for current developments.

  • The content model of postscript: look at the Collection of Postscript-Examples and the contributions to the ps-discussion.
  • How to deal with enclosures or attachements to a letter
  • The content model of opener/closer and their connection with salute, signed, dateline, etc.
  • diary entries
  • definition of <signed> does not correspond with its actual use in the P5 guidelines
  • address now in <p> but not in <div>: maybe not a good idea
  • notification of addresses (different in different parts of the world). Could this be handled more adequately than just with datelines?
  • pre-printed text (e.g. letterhead, postcard captions)


Lyon, Oct 29, 2015

Exhaustive minutes at SIG meeting Lyon

Workshop on Encoding correspondence meta data, Lyon, Oct 29, 2015

All-day workshop on "Encoding correspondence meta data with <correspDesc>" held at the TEI conference 2015 on October 27, 2015. Slides for the workshop can be found [here (part 1) and [here (part 2).

A blog post by Stefan Dumont regarding "Perspectives of the further development of the Correspondence Metadata Interchange Format (CMIF)" can be found on digiversity.

Evanston, Oct 22, 2014

Exhaustive minutes at SIG meeting Evanston

TEI Tweet Chat, Oct 9, 2014

The first TEI Tweet Chat on Twitter ever was hosted by the social media coordinator, Paul O’Shea, and the SIG Correspondence for one hour (from 16 GMT+2 to 17 GMT+2) (twitter announcement). It was meant as an attempt to include the public online community, apart from the people on the TEI mailing lists.

Topics discussed/mentioned include:

  • recent work of the SIG on the new <ct:correspDesc> element and when it will be part of the official TEI Guidelines, names of the proposed new elements, e.g. placeSender vs. senderPlace, placeAddressee vs. Addressee, etc.
  • some digital editions of correspondence/projects were mentioned, e.g. Carl Maria von Weber-Collected Works, Letters of 1916, George Boole Collection software transcription desk, Letters and Texts. Intellectual Berlin around 1800
  • list of projects on this very wikipage for people to add their own projects
  • the new webservice CorrespSearch (making metadata of currently 3 different correspondence projects searchable), BEACON and CorrespSearch
  • TEI Conference 2014 in Chicago
  • Dhd Conference 2015 in Graz, Austria
  • letter transcription as an undergrad class project, teaching XML and TEI for undergrads, MAs and PhDs
  • choice of XML editors: oXygen XML editor, eXist's built-in exIDE editor, straight up text editor vs. interface that hides the XML
  • Is a tweet a letter? Where are the boundaries of correspondence? one-to-one communication and many-to-many correspondence, meaning and intentionality, trees nobody heard falling that may have intentions

There is a chat report, a Twitter archive and a TAGS Explorer Visualisation.

Rome, Oct 3, 2013

Exhaustive minutes at SIG:Correspondence/minutes-rome

College Station, Nov 9, 2012

09-12:30PM at Rudder Tower 302


  1. Report on last year's activities
  2. Request for a correspondence module and a wrapper element for correspondence meta data
  3. AOB


Short summary/Outcome: A second draft for a correspondence ODD

Details: Minutes College Station

Wuerzburg, Oct 15, 2011

Agenda of the meeting during the Wuerzburg MM (on Oct 15, 2011 from 9am to 10:30am in room 1.003):

  • 1. New members / projects / demands
  • 2. Short survey of the development of the SIG and the topics discussed
  • 3. Views of the group about proposing a <correspDesc> (or similar) element or not
  • 4. Future activities of the SIG: P5-Customizations for Correspondence ("Dalfy" et al.) / Special Guidelines (TEI by example) / Proposals / Next Steps
  • 5. Roadmap for 2012
  • 6. Website and Wiki
Minutes / Results / Goals

For more detailed minutes see Minutes Wuerzburg, the main results of the discussions and the goals for the near future are summed up here:

  • Preliminary goal: initiate a comparison between several customized or non-customized TEI versions for correspondence (to be published on the WiKi)
  • Middle-term goal: propose "official" customization(s) for correspondence
  • Middle-term goal: ask people to make some or their examples available and find out in which way they used TEI for correspondence
  • Middle-term goal: develop best practice models
  • Long-term goal: develop a compressed proposal for handling correspondence within TEI

Zadar, Nov 13, 2010

Participation: around 5 people

1. Peter gave a report on last year's activities

  • Task force ‘Dalfy’ was established after the Ann Arbor Meeting: Markus Flatscher, Bert Van Raemdonck, Peter Stadler
  • Goal: Mapping of DALF (P4) to TEI P5 as a basis for further work on a correspondence customization
  • But: Momentum got lost …
  • Further: Some discussion on TEI-L about "signed vs. salute"

2. A brief look on open questions

  • Correspondence meta data: correspDesc?
  • The content model of postscript (cf. the Collection of Postscript-Examples and the contributions to the ps-discussion.)
  • The content model of opener/closer and their connection with salute, signed, dateline, byline etc.

3. Attempt to create a roadmap for 2011

  • Peter suggested a second attempt for a grant to achieve the mapping of DALF to P5
  • Discussion about possible fundings for such an attempt
  • review of the last failed TEI grant proposal: it was criticized by the present panel members that no preliminary work was (visibly) carried out
  • Susan suggested to first initiate a survey on the correspondence list

4. AOB

  • nothing

Ann Arbor, Nov 14, 2009

Business and working meeting during the annual members meeting. Participants: Syd Bauman (SB), Markus Flatscher (MF), Elena Pierazzo (EP), Malte Rehbein (MR), Paul Schaffner (PSc), Peter Stadler (PSt), Bert Van Raemdonck (BV)

The business meeting was attended by MF, PSc, PSt and BV and - since the number of participants allowed it - was an informal talk about the different projects, the last meeting at London and the "correspDesc" PS had proposed there as well as the question whether editing correspondence from printed (secondary) material needs to treated differently than correspondence from manuscript source material. Work on the roadmap was postponed to the working meeting.

The working meeting was attended by all above mentioned participants who agreed on the need for a customization of some of the P5 elements (and element classes) for encoding correspondence. Question is of course: how?

  • P5 has introduced some elements that were inspired by what had been done earlier in DALF (P4), but not all P4 customizations in DALF are actually rendered in P5 (and vice versa). Hence, a comparison of both should be a good starting point to eventually come to a new ODD for encoding correspondence, and maybe even for introducing an actual module for future TEI Guidelines.
  • MF, PSt and BV agree on doing such a mapping together. Since BV is like the only DALF original left, he will coordinate this: he will split the work up, and will be contacting MF and PSt for further arrangements. [UPDATE: Edward Vanhoutte and Ron Van den Branden agreed to work on this with BV face to face and then get back to MF and PSt afterwards. --pstadler 07:04, 27 November 2009 (EST)]
  • Before X-mas, there should be a conference call to catch up on how the mapping proceeds. PSt will contact Dan O'Donnell for funding.
  • Bugs and absurdities in P5 regarding correspondence should be posted on Sourceforge. Elena Pierazzo will be the liaison between the SIG and the TEI Council. She will help SIG members to report our findings through Sourceforge or otherwise.
  • The mapping should result in a new ODD. SB is willing to help us create it. The new ODD should somehow be more or less DALF-like. Hence, the working title of the ODD is 'Dalfy'. Dalfy will be an oddified version of DALF where obviously identical concepts will already be mapped to their P5 equivalents (therefore Dalfy != DALF).
  • After the mapping is done, useful elements (or concepts, structures) that are neither in DALF or in P5 yet, should be listed. Members of the SIG are welcome to suggest their own 'favourite missing elements'.
  • With Dalfy as starting point we can than try to rearrange and modify it to come to a new Correspondence ODD (no code name yet!) that should resolve all problems and satisfy all needs...
  • Issues that came up during the meetings concern <address> (and multiple addresses within one letter) (SB and EP), <signed> (everyone), endorsements as well as correspondence by committee (PSc)
  • Besides the work on Dalfy PSt shall finish his work on oddifying his <correspDesc>.


  • Before Christmas: Teleconference about the mapping (MF, PSt, BV)
  • Febr. 10, 2010: Mapping done
  • July, 2010: Next SIG meeting at Digital Humanities conference (London) on new ODD

[Minutes PSt and BV]

London, Nov 8, 2008

The first section (14-15:30) saw short presentations of current projects by:

  • Tim McLoughlin: James Barry's letters
  • Hilde Bøe: eMunch project (assisted by Ellen Nessheim Wiger with the Henrik Ibsen correspondence)
  • Peter Boot: correspondence of Vincent van Gogh
  • David Sewell: correspondence projects published via ROTUNDA
  • Deborah K. Wright: correspondence of Matthew Prior
  • Peter Stadler: correspondence of Carl Maria von Weber

The second section (16-16:45) had to be shortened due to organisational necessities but saw general discussion about

  • the content model of postscript which is rather restricted and does not allow for an i.e. head element. Everyone was encouraged to send examples via the list. [Let me add that the same holds true for address --pstadler]
  • the need and the possible content for an correspDesc element within sourceDesc. I will try to create an odd file with the necessary additions to the schema as a starting point for further expertise. --pstadler.
  • correspondence as an event. Lou pointed this out as similar topics were discussed in the ontologies SIG.

Correspondence Projects

Please add your projects alphabetically with link and (if possible) a short description!

Ongoing Projects

  • The Letters of Alexander Rollett. A project of the Center for Information Modeling in the Humanities (ZIM) at the University of Graz.
  • Alfred Escher Correspondence. A project of the Alfred Escher Foundation, Zurich (Alfred Escher-Stiftung). Edition of the correspondence of Alfred Escher, influential 19th century Swiss politician and entrepreneur (e.g. Credit Suisse, Gotthard railway), comprising several thousand letters. At first, an edition of selected letters to and from Escher will be published in book form, including rich annotations. The first volume of the series is already available. Later on, the correspondence of Alfred Escher will be made available online. The correspondence covers topics as diverse as politics, economics, education, railways, banks, insurance. Alfred Escher-Briefedition
  • Digital Archive of Letters in Flanders authors and composers from the 19th & 20th century, DALF
  • Complete Letters of Willa Cather, a new digital scholarly edition of the American author's complete correspondence, scheduled for initial publication in January 2018 on the Willa Cather Archive
  • Emily Dickinson's Correspondences (public version not yet online), to be published under the Rotunda imprint by University of Virginia Press. An edition of selected correspondence to and from American poet Emily Dickinson, with MS facsimiles and rich metadata capturing physical details of the manuscripts.
  • Gundolf-Elli. Correspondence between Friedrich Gundolf and Elisabeth Salomon (George-Kreis). Project at the German Literature Archive. There is no website, yet. For more information use the mailing list.
  • Mark Twain Project Online: Letters, 1853–1880, University of California, Berkeley.
  • eMunch. Edvard Munch's written material: Complete letters, diaries and writings, [1] (Updated and expanded 15.06.2009)
  • The Hugo Schuchardt Archive is an online edition of the entire works of Hugo Schuchardt, one of the most eminent linguists of the Germanic tradition within Romance Philology, including his correspondance. A new environment using TEI and the correspDesc element is under development.
  • Schleiermacher, Friedrich - Edition of the correspondence at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). At the moment the new work environment (with TEI) is in development.
  • Weber, C.M.v.: Complete letters, diaries, writings and compositions, Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe (at the moment german only)
  • Digital edition 'Letters and texts. The intellectual Berlin around 1800'. Realized by the project 'Berlin Intellectuals 1800-1830' at Humboldt University Berlin. Publication of letters and work manuscripts of Berlin-based writers and scholars from the late 18th and early 19th century. Manuscript facsimiles, transcriptions with annotation, XML files made available. Web presence launched in April 2012 with a first set of texts. Will be progressively enriched during the upcoming years.
  • Correspondance of the chancellor Antoine Du Bourg. A project of the École nationale des chartes. Certainly one of the richest administrative and political correspondence for the France of the Renaissance, it evokes all matters a chancellor has to manage: royal finances, monitoring the printed production, economic politics, .... The whole corpus contains around 1200 letters; for the moment, one hundred has been published online, the edition is still regularly increased. The edition is part of a bigger project of digital editions of modern correspondences (15th-18th century): the aim is to build a model and interface which could be usable and shared to every non literary correspondences for early modern history.
  • Texts & Correspondence of Ioannes Dantiscus. Launched in 2010 and building upon material recorded since 1989 at the University of Warsaw Ioannes Dantiscus’ correspondence forms Central-Eastern Europe’s largest collection of letters (over 6,000 letters, mostly Latin and German) related to the Polish royal court and its partners in Renaissance Europe.

Completed Projects

  • The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, part of the University of Virginia Press's Rotunda series. This is an ongoing publication, but the first two "volumes" are online. Currently the underlying data is tagged using the Model Editions Partnership variant of TEI (P4), but we are also exporting and transforming the documents to TEI P5 for interoperability with other material. (Contact: David Sewell)
  • Van Nu en Straks: Brieven / Letters, Online edition of the correspondence concerning the literary journal 'Van Nu en Straks' (1419 letters). The annotated letters contain references to ca 2500 persons, 500 places, 1000 titles of books, 650 journal articles and 350 poems. A network of 3600 hyperlinks facilitates intuitive and associative consulting. Project at the Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies / Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL-CTB, Ghent-Belgium) and Ghent University (Belgium). This project is part of the broader DALF-project.
  • Vincent van Gogh, The letters. A full edition of all the extant correspondence of Vincent van Gogh (900 letters). The edition includes full transcriptions (in Dutch and French), translation into English, facsimiles, extensive annotations and about 2000 illustrations.
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