[tei-council] Fwd: draft minutes from chicago

Brett Barney bbarney2 at unlnotes.unl.edu
Wed Apr 20 12:38:57 EDT 2011


I agree that there wasn't much discussion of this suggestion at the meeting
and that the minutes only need to reflect that fact. Since Lou and James
have put forward some objections to <diploma> here, though, I want to
quickly respond to those.

Lou wrote:

> (a) I think the general sense of the word now is as a
> synonym for "certificate"

James wrote:

> I'd have to echo this....my feeling was that too many people
> would think "high school diploma" when hearing it.

This is the first misgiving that crossed my mind, too. For me it's not a
persuasive objection for two reasons: First, TEI users are a specialist
communities (or rather a group of many specialist communities) whose
working vocabulary often includes terms with specialized meanings. There
are *many* existing TEI elements whose names have a different meaning than
the "genereal sense."  Think of <argument>, <number>, and <tree> (and its
relatives <leaf> etc.). Or even <mood>, <witness>, <explicit>, and <then>!
Second, I find it difficult to come up with a scenario in which users might
be seriously confused. Are we to imagine that there are lots of people
encoding high school diplomas (or other documents that refer to them) and
that such people are likely to peek at the guidelines only enough to see
that <diploma> exists without reading what it means or how it's used? I
have no way to prove it, but my guess is that the danger here is much less
than with most of the existing elements I've mentioned--in a category with
<leaf>, I'd think.

Lou also wrote:

> (b) it does suggest something on paper or
> vellum rather than card stone wax tablet etc. which can't be folded!

Yeah, that thought crossed my mind, too. But it only suggests this to
people who know Latin or are obsessed with etymologies or something. More
important, I'd say that the problem isn't ours. The decision to use the
word diploma in doing what have come to be called diplomatic transcriptions
was made long ago, and if it has seemed OK to specialists to do "diplomatic
transcriptions" of things that either couldn't be folded (or just weren't,
or were folded, say, thrice . . . ) I don't see the point in protesting at
this point. Horses and barn doors, right?

Finally, I feel I should also mention that when I talked about alternative
names for <document> with Elena and Martin as we walked back to the station
after supper, my first proposal was tabella. I have *no* Latin and Elena
has I think quite a lot, so when it was clear that she didn't think it at
all suitable I didn't argue the point. I mention tabella here as an
alternative that avoids both of the objections that have been raised but
that is probably unsatisfactory, my point being that I find some objections
weightier than others. Namely, practical trumps theoretical, I guess.

Best regards,

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