[tei-council] genetic draft -- from Brett, pt. 3

Brett Barney bbarney2 at unlnotes.unl.edu
Thu Aug 25 13:39:00 EDT 2011

Gotta figure out a way to cover more ground, but here are some further

> Within a zone, the transcription may be organized topographically in
terms of
> of lines of writing, using the line elemetn, or in terms of blocks of
> using the ab (anonymous block) element, or as a combination of the two

Above, near the end of 1.1.2, <seg> is offered as an alternative, also, so
thinking that it should be added here, too.

> although it may be an open question as to whether inter-document
> at the dossier level should be regarded in the same way as intra-document
> alterations.

"Dossier" surprised me here, but I see now that this sentence is reworked
the earlier draft (when it was called "An Encoding Model for Genetic
In that document, the semantics of dossier was defined, but this is the
occurence of the term in the present document. Rather than suggest that the
definition be included here, though, I'm for deleting the whole phrase "at
dossier level," since it doesn't seem to me to add anything to the

> this does not necessarily imply that the word was added to the first
> witness, nor that it was deleted from the other.

This is currently the end of the paragraph (and, apparently, of the
subject). But
it doesn't settle anything. Is the observation here intended to act as a
against using things like <del> and <add> for inter-document modifications,
or is
it intended to act as a kind of justification for the existence of multiple
to encode the modifications? I suspect the latter (maybe because I've been
conditioned by other sections of the Guidelines). Whichever the case, I
some sort of explicit recommendation is needed here, before we go on to
a set of elements.

> In this section we discuss a number of elements which may be used to
> traces of the writing process within a document.

This works fine for the current document but not for the top of section
(since the elements discussed there cover a different range of phenomena
"traces of the writing process").

> <mod> represents any kind of modification identified within a text at a
> documentary level.

Same problem as with "dossier level." Perhaps "represents any modification
identified within a single document"?

> Most, if not all, transcriptional elements imply a certain level of
> interpretation. For instance, using the add element to encode interlinear
> insertions implies a decision that the interlinear text has been
> inserted rather than simply written between the lines.

This passage baffled me at first. If it's granted to be an insertion,
interpretive about saying it was inserted? What's the distinction between
"inserted" and "written between the lines" anyway? Comparing with the
version, I think I understand. To my mind the earlier version is
clearer: "Most of these elements imply a certain level of semantic
interpretation; for instance the usage of the add element to encode, say,
interlinear insertions involves a decision that the interlinear text has
deliberately inserted rather than simply misplaced." In that version, the
contrast between intention and happenstance is easy to pick up on, though I
why "misplaced" is problematic. And the problem of begging the question (if
recall my freshman Enlish unit on logical fallacies correctly) is present
too--it's assumed to be an "insertion" in the description. My version:
"Most, if
not all, transcriptional elemest involve a certain amount of semantic
interpretation. For instance, using the add element to encode a word that
between two lines of text involves the decision that the word was written
the the lines (rather than, say, before them)." Hmmm. Probably plenty to
about in that, too.

> Where it is felt desirable to keep the recording of ‘what is on the page’
> entirely separate from ‘what is the editor’s interpretation’, the generic
> mod element may be preferred. This element simply indicates any kind of
> modification that has been identified in the document, without prejudice
> as to its function.

Ah, well this makes my suggestion just above really problematic, doesn't
it? I
honestly don't know what to suggest here, since I do think it extremely
fishy to
make a fuss about the part played by an editor's interpretive faculty in
determination of how a bit of text functions while ignoring it in the
determination of when it was written.


Brett Barney
Research Associate Professor
Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of

More information about the tei-council mailing list