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JADH2012: Digital Humanities Workshop

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Introduction to Document-based and Genetic editing in TEI

Dr. Elena Pierazzo (Ph.D., Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London)

Significance of the workshop

In the past twenty years the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has established itself as the de facto standard for the representation of digital texts and the fundamental basis for each digital scholarly edition of historical documents and literary manuscripts. Yet the TEI model has been criticised by many scholars for privileging the textual, linguistic aspects of the primary sources with little awareness of the complexities of the layout and structure of the original supports other than for their description. During the past four years, the TEI’s Special Interest Group on Manuscripts (chaired by Elena Pierazzo, proponent of this workshop) has elaborated a new proposal. This revolutionary new approach allows for the encoding of texts from a documentary point of view: that is, page by page and line by line rather than (or alongside) chapter by chapter and paragraph by paragraph. This new approach also includes support for the encoding of genetic criticism and is particularly well suited to modern, draft manuscripts. This new way of encoding has become an official part of the TEI since December 2011 and represents its most substantial innovation since the introduction of the P5 version of the Guidelines in 2007.


The workshop will introduce participants to the transcription of primary sources (draft manuscripts, correspondence, diaries) from the genetic criticism and documentary points of view. It will consist of an introduction to the new elements and of ‘hands-on’ sessions where the participants will be able to put them to use by encoding both their own material and that provided by the instructor. As the new elements include a way to encode the documentary view of manuscripts and not only genetic criticism, it is expected that the workshop will be of interest to anyone with an interest in editing manuscripts, not only to modernists.
The workshop assumes a general knowledge of XML and the TEI. -> For beginners, click here (in Japanese).
Participants are requested to bring a laptop (PC, Mac, Linux) and ideally to have their own material at hand for practicing.

Software required (preinstalled):
• oXygen by SyncRO Soft Ltd (v. 12 or later), multiplatform and available on a 30 days free licence from
• Inkscape, multiplatform and available for free from
• Web browser supporting SVG, i.e. an up to date version of Chrome multiplatform and available for free from or Safari v.5 and later for Mac and Windows available for free from


The workshop is planned for a full day with the following preliminary timetable:

Morning session (3h30’)

  • Introduction (30’)
  • Documentary view (1h30’)
    • Exercises: material prepared by the instructor
  • New elements for transcription (1h30’)
    • Exercises: material prepared by the instructor

Afternoon session (3h30’)

  • Documentary encoding in real life (1h)
    • Exercises: material brought by the participants
  • Genetic criticism TEI-style (1h)
    • Time-based encoding
    • Exercises: material brought by the participant and/or provided by the instructor
  • Outputting documents via SVG (1h)
  • Discussion (30’)
    • Problems, concerns
    • Feedback