[tei-council] how to encode a hyphen at the end of a line, column, or page when you are encoding hyphens

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jan 7 05:51:57 EST 2011

On 05/01/11 23:19, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
>> 1. You should probably not falsify the text, so do distinguish in some
>> way "helpful" which has been split across a line break from "helpful"
>> which has not been so divided
> even this is surely controversial? if I am doing a digital version of a
> typeset novel, is it "falsifying" to not bother recording the line break
> and hyphenation decisions of some hack typesetter?

I'd have to agree with Sebastian here, and additionally would 
argue that it isn't the TEI's place to tell encoders whether they 
should be falsifying texts or not.  I might *want* to falsify the 
text.  My whole desire in text encoding might be to lead future 
generations astray by corrupting the source text into my 
particular reading. (Or indeed, I might be considering my silent 
editing of the text an editor's prerogative or a form of 
performance art.)  We don't tell editors that they shouldn't 
falsify the text when transcribing, or translators when they are 
translating.  I don't think we should be telling people what to 
record, simply providing them some options of "if you want to 
record X, this is a good way to do it, if instead you want to 
record Y, here is another way." So in this case explaining that 
some people use one method, others use another.

I think this is the general TEI form of ontological agnosticism, 
we tell you that if you want to mark up a paragraph use <p> or 
<title> for titles but we don't (and I'd argue shouldn't) tell 
people what paragraphs or titles are. That is their decision. 
(The TEI is also epistemologically agnostic in that we don't tell 
you that these things actually exist, only that some people see 
to think they do.)


Dr James Cummings, Research Technologies Service
OUCS, University of Oxford

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