Encoding Guide for Early Printed Books

document analysis linking and pointing divisions of the text

High-level encoding issues

When you start using the TEI Guidelines, there is quite a lot of detail to learn: just as with any new language, there is vocabulary and usage to acquire, and that takes practice. However, there are also some basic concepts that transcend specific tags, and it may be helpful to understand these apart from the particular vocabulary, just as in grammar it helps to know the difference between nouns and verbs and prepositions, so that you can understand what each word is doing in a sentence. The concepts discussed in this section are not specific to the TEI: they are features that exist in many XML encoding languages. But the TEI implements them in specific ways, and we will use TEI examples throughout the discussion. If you learn other encoding languages, you will find these concepts familiar and useful there as well.

In some sense, these higher-level encoding concepts also represent issues that need to be tackled as part of your strategic planning, which will guide your encoding approach. When you perform your document analysis and start thinking about what features of your documents will be represented through the encoding, the questions you ask may be couched in more general terms: what are the divisions of these documents? what kinds of pointing and linking features do they contain? How will we handle the parallel structures resulting from versions in different languages? The more general discussion of these topics here may help you think about those issues before getting into the specifics of what elements to use.

The important conceptual building blocks for any encoding project are: