[tei-council] Towards some guidelines for the maintenance of P5

David J Birnbaum djbpitt+tei at pitt.edu
Sat Jul 15 09:18:24 EDT 2006

Dear Council,

I thought of going back to the Poughkeepsie Principles, but was not able 
to find a copy on line, although I did find references to that document 
as TEI PC P1. Am I looking in the wrong place in the vault?

In any case, I did find http://www.tei-c.org/Vault/ED/edp01.gml, which 
is apparently a later, edited version of the Poughkeepsie Principles. 
This document says, among other things: "The Text Encoding Initiative 
will develop a conforming SGML application, if it can meet the needs of 
researchers by doing so. Where research needs require constructs 
unavailable with SGML, however, research must take precedence over the 
standard." I understand this to mean that meeting the needs of 
researchers is a very high priority--perhaps the highest, and this 
principle may be relevant to determining when to introduce changes into 
the TEI guidelines.

Christian and I discussed maintenance guidelines briefly in Paris, and 
we noted that we needed to reconcile two potentially conflicting concerns:

1) As new technologies permit us to improve the ability of the TEI 
guidelines to serve the research needs of users, those new capabilities 
should be made available to users. The TEI should not eschew better ways 
of doing things for fear of breaking backwards compatibility. This is 
the understanding that allowed us to move from SGML to XML.

2) Because breaking backward compatibility is unpopular with users, and 
for good reason, we should avoid doing so unless the benefits are 

If any council members have opinions about this matter that they would 
like me to include in my draft proposal, please let me know 
(djbpitt+tei at pitt.edu).



Christian Wittern wrote:
> Council members,
> As you will recall, we had some discussion on what kind of radical
> changes would be acceptable to our users and how much backward
> compatibility we would need to maintain.  This led nowhere and we
> finally charged David Birnbaum with drafting a document that might
> lead to a better guidance for future development.  
> The main focus should be development after the release of P5, I think,
> since we do already have a license to break everything, provided we
> can reassemble it.
> I remember that the TEI already has some procedures in place, which
> might be used as a reference.  A quick search turned up:
> ---
> http://www.tei-c.org/Vault/ED/edw48.htm :
> Procedures for Maintenance and Extension of the TEI Guidelines, Version of 21 May 1995
> ---
> and 
> ---
> http://www.tei-c.org/Vault/ED/edw57.htm :
> Procedures for Correcting Errors in the TEI Guidelines Version of July 23, 1994 (Revised July 27, 1994)
> Note
> Status: This document has been agreed by the editors of the TEI and reflects current editorial policy.
> ---
> Now both seem to be a bit dated and I remember faintly some more
> recent documents for this purpose.  Does anybody has a pointer?
> I would hope that we can release a maintenance whitepaper together
> with P5 1.0 and would appreciate any input to it.
> All the best,
> Christian Wittern

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