[tei-council] Disambiguation of <ident> and <idno> (and also <gi>)
mholmes at uvic.ca
Tue Nov 22 19:16:08 EST 2011
Following the Council meeting in Paris I was tasked with
"...Assigned to MH to clarify the guidelines on the difference between
<idno> and <ident>..."
This is how they're currently defined:
"<ident> (identifier) contains an identifier or name for an object of
some kind in a formal language."
"<idno> (identifier) supplies any form of identifier used to identify
some object, such as a bibliographic item, a person, a title, an
organization, etc. in a standardized way."
My initial impulse is to supplement these descriptions with something
along these lines:
<ident> should be used for tokens such as variable names, class names,
type names, function names etc. in formal programming languages. (It
should not be used for element and attribute names in XML, for which the
special elements <gi> and <att> are provided.)
<idno> should be used for labels which uniquely identify an object or
concept in a formal cataloguing system such as a database or an RDF
store, or in a distributed system such as the World Wide Web.
In the Guidelines themselves, we use <ident> (correctly in my view) for
the names of classes such as att.internetMedia, and the names of modules
such as "core" and "header". But we also use it for values such as the
I think these are actually wrong and should be corrected -- see below.
<idno>, on the other hand, is used for lots of URLs (clearly
legitimate), as well as DOIs and semi-descriptive pointers which are
presumably resolvably unique -- here's a sample:
Thomason Tract E.537(17)
0 345 6789
978 0 573 01972 2
MS. Add. A. 61
MS Poet. Rawl. D. 169.
RES P- YC- 1275
Taisho Tripitaka Vol. T08, No. 230
So I have two questions for the group:
1. Do you think that my explanatory text is accurate and helpful enough
to do the job of disambiguating these two elements?
2. Does our usage of the tags in the Guidelines comply with what we
believe to be the use-cases of the elements? (Ignoring for the moment
the case of the questionable uses of <ident> below.)
* I think <ident> is questionable here, and based on the definitions
above, I think <idno> should be used instead:
xml:lang="und"><catRef target="#b.a4 #b.d2"
Here the same text has been classified as of categories <val>b.a4</val> and
<val>b.d2</val> within the Brown classification scheme (presumed to be
available from <ident
type="file">http://www.example.com/browncorpus</ident>), and as of category
<q>A45</q> within the SUC classification scheme documented at the URL
If I'm right, then many other uses of <ident type="file"> might also be
<idno>, assuming that a filesystem is a "formal cataloguing system",
which it surely is.
** I think <ident> is wrong here; it should be <val>:
Here the targets of the cross-references are simply page numbers; it
is assumed that corresponding elements with identifiers
<ident>p299</ident>, <ident>p143</ident>, etc. have been provided in
the body of the text, for example as page breaks
<egXML xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/Examples" xml:lang="und">
University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre
(mholmes at uvic.ca)
More information about the tei-council