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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).

Mailing List

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

Bibliography of Digital Correspondence Projects

For a bibliography of TEI-based and non-TEI-based digital correspondence projects, databases and digital scholary editions see our Zotero Group "Digital Correspondence Projects".

The Zotero Group Library is divided in three collections:

  • Digital Scholarly Editions
  • Databases (i.e. all digital editions that do not contain full text but only references)
  • Projects (i.e. correspondence projects that have not yet been published or anything else that does not fit the other two collections)

Furthermore, we have introduced a number of tags to search the Zotero Group for digital publications that meet certain criteria - for example, all TEI-based editions (tag: "TEI-XML") that provide their data (tag: "Data available") under a free license (e.g. tag "CC BY").


Topics currently under discussion

Regarding meta data in <teiHeader> and/or transcription in <text>:

  • handling of envelopes and postal addresses (addresses different in different parts of the world, could this be handled more adequately than just with datelines?)
  • how to deal with enclosures/attachments
  • pre-printed text, e.g. letterhead, postcard captions

Regarding transcriptional part in <text>:

  • content model of opener/closer and their connection with salute, signed, dateline, etc.
  • <salute> (in <opener> and <closer>) with restriction, e.g. it is not allowed within

  • definition of <signed> does not correspond with its actual use in the P5 guidelines
  • content model of <postscript>: look at the Collection of Postscript-Examples and the contributions to the ps-discussion.
  • address now in <p> but not in <div>: maybe not a good idea

Further future plans

  • stylesheet for ‘converting’ <correspDesc> to Correspondence Metadata Interchange format
  • provide best-practice model for <text> part
  • provide stylesheets for extracting all <correspDesc> elements from a corpus
  • taxonomy/thesaurus as a suggestion

GitHub repository

There is a GitHub repository for the SIG Correspondence for
a) the element <correspDesc> (encoding examples, documentation on its development etc.), and
b) the Correspondence Metadata Interchange format (CMIF, encoding examples etc.).


Tokyo, Sept 11, 2018


  • Sabine Seifert (University of Potsdam, Germany) as convener
  • Peter Stadler (University of Paderborn, Germany)
  • Klaus Rettinghaus (Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig, Germany)

Short introduction

  • update of this SIG wiki page
  • new Zotero database with collection of digital editions and all kinds of projects dealing with correspondence, will be constantly enriched
  • current status of development of web service correspSearch

Collaborative work an GitHub repositories of SIG

  • repository correspDesc: repository is about proposal of correspondence model to TEI council with <correspDesc>, therefore now archiving of repository
  • repository CMIF: working on and discussing several issues (“make RelaxNG more accessible #15”, “page numbers”, “allow <listBibl> and <biblStruct>”)

Vienna, Sept 29, 2016

- minutes following soon

For minutes of further meetings, see page Past Meetings.

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