[tei-council] span span span span span span span span glorious span

Gabriel Bodard gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Mon Aug 22 07:22:54 EDT 2011

On 2011-08-20 20:57, James Cummings wrote:
> That usually with<del>  any enclosed markup is also deleted is, I admit,
> a good argument that the same should be true of delSpan. So on
> reflection I think I was wrong and that the default assumption by normal
> people is probably that all markup is deleted...so instead of needing a
> way to indicate that the markup is being deleted, maybe it is the other
> case, that the markup is preserved that needs a way to indicate it?

I'm not convinced that we can make this call in either direction, to be 
honest. The idea that a spanning element implied the deletion of all 
content and markup between the beginning and the end is problematic in 
any case where the deletion element is not a simple part of the 
hierarchy--that is to say in exactly those cases where <delSpan> would 
be used. In terms of XML semantics, surely it's very problematic to 
delete the string "</persName> abc <persName>" and assume the remaining 
opening and closing tags form a single element. (Indeed many graphical 
XML editors don't allow you to do this.)

I also don't think that a case like:

<persName>Joannis Priskos <delspan/>III</persName>, of <placeName>the 
Tauric<anchor/> Chersonese</placeName>

is as much of an outlier as is implied by James's admonition to the 
coder to avoid using delSpan to leave behind ill-formed XML. By 
definition it's going to happen: if it weren't, delSpan wouldn't be needed.

> I think providing two deletions when there is a single line (without
> indicating that these are fragmentary elements or something like that)
> is encoding an untruth.

This would only be the case if it is implied (which you're assuming it 
is, but I don't see why we have to) that a single <del> element 
represents a single (and the entirety of) act of deletion/correction. If 
a single act of deletion effaces the last couple of words on each of 
four lines, we'd have to represent that with 4 del elements, I think, 
although it's a single act.

Having said all this, I don't know that I have an answer to the question 
of how to interpret markup between a spanTo and its anchor. Maybe assume 
any completely contained elements are deleted, but any elements that 
close after the spanTo should be closed at that point, and any that open 
before the anchor should be opened at that point? Or expect the coder to 
document in the encodingDesc how any difficult cases should be handled?

Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Research Associate in Digital Epigraphy)

Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Email: gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980


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