[tei-council] for discussion in Dublin: proposed revisions to definitions of bibl, biblStruct, and biblFull

Kevin Hawkins kevin.s.hawkins at ultraslavonic.info
Fri Apr 23 13:29:36 EDT 2010

Esteemed Colleagues,

As you'll recall, at our last conference call (on 2010-02-07) we 
discussed bug 2714682 regarding biblScope as a child of imprint. Martin, 
Laurent, and I were charged with writing a proposal for consideration by 
the Council on revisions to the Guidelines (especially its examples) 
that would make clear how to use biblScope for various types of 
bibliographic citations, taking into account other encoding schemes for 

We found that we could not limit our investigation to this narrow 
question considering the broader deficiencies in the discussion of bibl, 
biblScope, and biblFull in the Guidelines.  We examined the models of 
all of these elements and propose a number of changes that attempt to 
rationalize their use while also maintaining maximum backwards 
compatibility.  In brief, the principles followed are:

1. Names should always be fully marked up in <biblStruct>s. If the 
purpose of <biblStruct> is to facilitate mechanical data parsing, it's 
essential to be able to separate forenames from surnames.

2. We prefer <persName>, <placeName>, and <orgName> to <name 

3. Punctuation should be kept outside data tags, otherwise a processor 
will be retrieving (for instance) names with commas in them.

4. Use of @level should be encouraged everywhere. It is often simple to 
deduce the level from the surrounding structure, but not always, so 
providing it is good practice.

5. <ref> should be available everywhere, so that URIs for electronic 
documents can be supplied at all levels.

6. Date values should be stored in @when wherever possible, so they can 
be validated.

7. Examples should not arbitrarily mix <biblStruct>s and <bibl>s in the 
same context; this is unlikely to happen, and seems needlessly confusing.

8. Values for biblScope/@type in the examples should be consistent with 
the suggested values in the <biblScope> element definition (i.e. "pp", 
not "pages", and "chap", not "chapter"). Ditto with title/@type ("sub", 
not "subordinate").

These principles, as well as specific (and often annotated) revisions to 
the prose of § 2.7 and § 3.11 of the Guidelines, are attached in a .doc 
file. (This file format was chosen for the ease of tracking revisions. 
We realize that our edits will need to be manually recreated in the ODD 
based on this, but we saw no better tool for our task at hand.)  This 
document references SourceForge tickets that are required in order to 
address these principles above and which are required by our proposed 
changes to the prose of § 3.11.

It's a lot to look at, so we've tried to make it as easy as possible to 
review.  With apologies for taking so long to produce this, please take 
a look before our discussion, currently scheduled for Thursday in Dublin.

We have mused that if a P6 is ever created, we would like to return to 
these issues to propose a more significant changes to the content model 
of biblStruct to enforce more consistent encoding of bibliographic data 
-- or to abolish it entirely as ultimately unworkable for the range of 
citations we encounter in the world.  We might also propose changing 
biblFull for more precise harmonization with ISBD.  But this is all for 
another day.

If you discover any points of confusion before Thursday, please contact 
Laurent, Martin, and me so that we can try to prepare a response in time 
for the discussion.

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