[tei-council] TEI Conformance

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Tue Nov 28 15:28:25 EST 2006

Syd Bauman wrote:
> Those who wrote the Charter did not agree, apparently. (Although
> certifying things *could* be part of what we do, it is not *why* we
> have a Consortium.)
ok, true.

> And this is the absolute and most important crux of the issue that I
> am repeatedly harping on. It is *absolutely essential*, no less, that
> TEI continue to support as "conformant" encodings that are outside
> the off-the-shelf TEI box.
depends what you mean by "off-the-shelf".
>  If we don't, we will find lots of projects
> that are faced with the choice between tag abuse and loss of funding.
> Most will choose tag abuse, or (as sometimes happens now) just say
> that they are TEI conformant when they're not.
Let's be positive, and think that in time they will
mend their evil ways. After all, self-claimed
conformance will eventually be checked,
and some of the tag abusers will be detected. It
may take a while.

Anyway, what we have today is a whole slew
of people claiming they are TEI to impress
their funders, and it having no meaning at all.
Who does that help?
>> sort of. But I want to _raise_ the barrier of conformance....
> Raise it? It is already so high that many, if not most, projects
> don't actually meet it. 
the current barrier says "use the <TEI.2> element; use a bit
of the header (empty or variant content is fine); be good".
Not a very a high barrier....
> Good! You, James, and at least one or two other people on this list
> have all agreed to my proposal that we consider "degrees of
> interchangeability" the place where we discuss things like the fact
> that it is easier to interchange documents that conform to a strict
> subset of tei_all, etc., reserving the word "conformance" for only an
> adherence to a very encompassing set of general rules much as we had
> in P4.
> However, every time the discussion comes up the word "conformance" is
> used with the former meaning, or at least is ambiguous.
If we talk about Interchangeability Profiles as the only
place we specify any rules a funder can look at,
then they'll use that instead of Conformance (if that's
just "be good") as a stick to beat people with (and quite right too).
So we'd be back where we started.
> The rules for conformance
> are very explicit, very clear, and (for the most part) syntactically
> not hard to test at all.
P4 conformance would allow more or less any arbitrary
document to be TEI compliant, if if just defines itself
in TEI extension files. How does that help anyone?
I could describe a Docbook file in TEI P4.....

Sebastian Rahtz      

Information Manager, Oxford University Computing Services
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