[tei-council] repeating and typing tei:provenance

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Mon Sep 26 10:23:15 EDT 2011

On 26/09/11 12:12, Lou Burnard wrote:
> "type" of a provenance might relate to any number of things -- its
> reliability, the kind of authority behind it, on what temporal basis
> it's made, etc.
 >For example, suppose at some time a manuscript was in a
> collection which had a policy of checking up on it every 6 months. You
> might decide either to enter lots of provenance records saying
> effectively "it was taken out and dusted", or you might decide just to
> record a single provenance record for the whole time, including the info
> that dusting had been carried out every six months. Wouldn't these be of
> two different "type"s ("periodic" and "summary") as well?

I would argue that this is not a provenance though, that is a 
<custEvent>.  A <provenance> is a single identifiable episode 
during the history of a manuscript... taking it out a checking it 
doesn't really count as that. It is an act of curation or 
custodial event looking after it in the resource-holding 
institution. A <provenance> really is meant to be about the 
history of the manuscript, often a patchy set of "It was owned by 
so-and-so" and "it was stolen from this abbey", "it appeared in 
sotheby's on this date", etc.  Any activity taking part in the 
institution currently holding the manuscript would either be in 
<acquisition> or be a <custEvent>.

> Your examples of intended use ("found", "moved", "observed", "lost",
> "destroyed", "restored" etc.) are fine for the case where you can map
> each provenance to a single event, but this is not the only way that
> <provenance>  might be used, and therefore not the only way they might be
> typed.

But that is precisely how <provenance> is defined, is it not?  "a 
single identifiable episode during the history of a manuscript". 
  Ok, sure, 'found' and 'moved' can happen during a since 
<provenance>, I agree with that. But I would still argue that 
provenances could be classified consistent with the way we use 
@type elsewhere.

> How about @eventType or even just @event ? (You could also add a value
> such as "multiple" or "summary" of course)

This seems unnecessary to me.  What Gaby is suggesting is 
something that classifies the 'type' of provenance, not 
necessarily the types of events that happen in that single 


Dr James Cummings, InfoDev,
Computing Services, University of Oxford

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