Playing with the Guidelines: Topics in Text Encoding at the Women Writers Project

Syd Bauman
Erica Dillon
Julie Desjardins
Julia Flanders

Women Writers Project
Box 1841, Brown University
Providence, RI 02912

The TEI Guidelines are intended to be very broad, covering the encoding of all but the most unusual documents for any of a variety of purposes. Furthermore, the TEI very wisely provides a mechanism for extending or modifying the DTDs used to enforce the SGML encoding, thus allowing "for texts that cannot be conveniently or appropriately encoded using what is provided" (P3, pg. 737). These unforeseen needs have already cropped up frequently since the TEI was first published, and they have spurred the ongoing research of the TEI community in addressing these issues, and in considering which merit changes to TEI itself and which are simply local idiosyncrasies.

The Women Writers Project has often found it necessary to make extensive use of the TEI extension mechanism in order to encode features in a way which accurately represents their structure. In addition, we have found it useful to specify a fuller and more explicit method of encoding rendition than is described in TEI. This poster session will present several specific challenges which the WWP has encountered in encoding early printed books, and the approach we have taken in addressing them. We will describe our system of rendition ladders, which allow an explicit pairing of keywords and values within the rend= attribute provided by TEI. We will also describe our approach to encoding headings and labels, notes, cast lists, and quotations that cuase overlap problems, along with the specific TEI extensions we have made in support of our methods.