[tei-council] bibliog doc

Lou lou.burnard at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Fri May 14 05:38:11 EDT 2010

Martin Holmes wrote:
> Hi Lou,
> In this bit:
> On 10-05-13 02:03 PM, Lou Burnard wrote:
>> <!--While<gi>biblStruct</gi>  offers enough
>> flexibility for encoding bibliographic references to simple print
>> works, for many documents, especially electronic ones, it proves
>> problematic.-->  <!-- no problems presented -->
> I presume you mean that you're excising that part of our text because no 
> problems have been presented to the council. 

No, I mean that I am not including such a claim in the Guidelines text 
without further substantiation.

> We had a long discussion 
> about this in our little committee, and talked about a number of 
> problems, but there wasn't time to raise them at the Council meeting. I 
> have lots of examples of situations in which it's virtually impossible 
> to write an XSLT routine to format a <biblStruct> according to a style 
> guide, without absolutely special-casing it. Here's one:

Thanks for the example, which certainly doesn't look that unusual to me. 
I'm not well enough acquainted with the "style guides" you have in mind 
to know how difficult or otherwise it would be to transform it 
satisfactorily using XSLT, though I am a bit curious about what the real 
difficulty is in this case. However, doesn't this issue apply to a whole 
raft of other possible application software for TEI encoded texts? In 
general, the TEI cannot legislate for the eccentricities of every 
possible application program: all it can do is provide tagging which 
gives the hooks for suitable software to do something with, if it can. 
As you indicate below, some TEI choices make that easier than others.

> It's easy enough to create a <biblStruct> for this, but it's extremely 
> hard for generic XSLT to detect what kind of item it is, determine what 
> kind of formatting it should be given based on that, and then compensate 
> for the missing author in the rendering. 

Well that rather depends on how "generic" you "generic XSLT" is seems to 
me. FWIW you have @type attribute on biblStruct which you might for 
example set automatically by the absence of an <author>, if that's the 
issue that's bedevilling your stylesheet!

With <bibl>, it's easy --
> encode all the elements in the order they need to come out, and you're done.

As I remarked elsewhere the trouble with this approach is that "the 
order they need to come out" may not be the same the next time you want 
to process this <bibl> using some other application....

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