[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 10:29:50 EST 2011

On 07/01/11 12:00, Lou Burnard wrote:
> On 07/01/11 10:51, James Cummings wrote:
>> 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.
> On the contrary, we do very precisely tell people what "paragraphs" and
> "titles" are. We leave it to them as to whether or not they choose to
> observe the distinction, but it is nonsense to say that all the
> categories defined by the TEI are entirely vacuous.

Paragraph was probably a bad choice, because we do say more about 
them than most elements.  However, we define a <p> element as 
"(paragraph) marks paragraphs in prose".  My point being we use 
the word 'title', 'author', 'birth' or other similar words in our 
element definitions usually without defining them by themselves. 
  <title> is "contains a title for any kind of work".  If I go to 
the section on titles: 
then I find lots of discussion about how the title element should 
be used, but nothing which explains what a title is.  If I go to 
the other main place title elements are discussed at: 
where it says things like "The title element contains the chief 
name of the electronic work, including any alternative title or 
subtitles it may have" ... but this isn't a definition of what a 
_title_ is, just what the title element means when inside a 
titleStmt. The point is what the TEI seems to say is 'Some people 
seem to say there are things called titles, if you want to encode 
them here is how to do it, moreover we recommend distinguishing 
between the title for the electronic resource and its source, 
etc.' Similarly with the birth element, this is defined as 
"(birth) contains information about a person's birth, such as its 
date and place".  Here we use the name of the element in defining 
the element. Ok, granted we indicate this might have something to 
do with a time and place, but we don't tell people what the act 
of being born is (and whether, for example, caesarian sections 
count).  We say that some people might want to record birth 
metadata about a person, and here is how to do so. There are some 
cases where we provide supplemental examples in the definition 
(c.f. 'binding' ... should that be e.g. instead of i.e. there?), 
to explain more the kind of thing we mean, without still saying 
what the thing itself is (we don't define what a 'binding' is, 
just some things that might be used to make it up).  I should 
hurry to state that I think this is a strength of the TEI not a 
weakness.  We could forever be embroiled in text-crit religious 
wars over whether something was a title, merely a reference to a 
title, or something else. Instead the TEI says that some people 
like to make the distinction that there are things called 
'titles' and here is how to use them.

This is a very long tangential way of saying that I still feel we 
should present the hyphenation options and maybe explain why 
someone might want to do it one way or another but leave them to 
make that decision.


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

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