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What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

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Page 1: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription?

Ben Brumfield

TEI 2012

Page 2: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

• References at http://manuscripttranscription.blogspot.com

• Transcript and slides to be posted.

Page 3: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

C{r|l}o{u|w}ds

• Clouds

• Crowds

Page 4: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Crowdsourced Transcription

• Genealogy

• Natural Sciences

• Open Source/Creative Commons

• Libraries/Archives/Museums

Page 5: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 6: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 7: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Record-based Transcription

• Millions of entries transcribed.

• Tabular document inputs.

• Database output format.

• Uses understood in advance

• Mark-up…

Page 8: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 9: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 10: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Free-form Transcription

• Scripto

• NARA initiatives

• Wikisource (especially DE)

• FromThePage

Page 11: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 12: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 13: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 14: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 15: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Why is TEI important?

• TEI’s influence extends beyond its use.

• How does the public encounter edition?

• How do developers learn about edition?

Page 16: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 17: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Who is doing TEI, then?

• Transcription Tool Directory– 27 Tools– 23 Editors

• 7 “support TEI”

• But what does that mean?

Page 18: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

TEI Support Interviews

• Transcribe Bentham

• T-PEN– Carolingian Canon Law (CCL)

• Papyrological Editor (Papyri.info)

• Monasterium.net (MOM-CA)– Virtuelles deutsches Urkundennetzwerk (VdU)– ItineraNova.be

Page 19: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Emphasis on Transcribe Bentham

• Tried TEI support as an experiment– “It was part of the research, really: can online

volunteers do this?” –Melissa Terras

• Publications on results– “Transcription Maximised, Expense

Minimised?” (LLC)– “Building a Volunteer Community” (DHQ)

Page 20: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Variation: Commitment to TEI

• “It was untenable to me that we could just ask for ascii transcriptions of text,given the years and years knowledge of best practice in marking up texts.” –Melissa Terras (TB)

• “I personally am a TEI sceptic.” –James Ginther (T-PEN)

Page 21: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Variation: Commitment to TEI

• “I am no evangelist[…] but am more inclined to see it as a standard that is probably necessary and in many respects useful[....] On balance, it has allowed us to develop valuable intellectual perspectives on our texts[….] It is important that we are doing so in the context of a community of practice” –Abigail Firey (CCL)

Page 22: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Variation: Location of TEI

• Transcribe Bentham– Pure TEI Interface– Pages stored in MediaWiki

• Itinera Nova– Pure TEI Transcripts in XRX system– “The volunteers have no idea what XML or

TEI is. The archivists know that the syntax is internally transformed into TEI.” -Jochen Graf

Page 23: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Encoding

• Common assumption: encoding is hard!

• Several respondents were not so sure: one believed there was "[t]oo much markup expected", another that encoding was "unnecessarily complicated", and one – who, unsurprisingly, is not a regular transcriber – found encoding "a hopeless nightmare" and the transcription process "a horror".

(Causer and Wallace, “Building a Volunteer Community”)

Page 24: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Encoding

• But lots of things are hard.

• Non-TEI mark-up is a challenge.

• [O]ver half of respondents found that deciphering Bentham’s hand took longer than encoding

(Causer and Wallace, “Building a Volunteer Community”)

Page 25: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Making Encoding Easier

• Tag Buttons– T-PEN/CCL– TEI Toolbar (TB)

• Tag Menus– VdU– Papyrological Editor

Page 26: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 27: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 28: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012
Page 29: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Button Limitations

• Users outgrow buttons– “I believe one or two transcribers now add

tags manually rather than use the toolbar, which says something about the improvement in their IT skills.” –Tim Causer (TB)

• Users ignore buttons– “One editor for exampled prefered to put || for

<lb> as he was used from the preparation of a printed edition.” –Georg Vogeler (VdU)

Page 30: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Problem: Print Notations

• Users ignore XML annotation, revert to conventions from printed editions.

• Opportunity: transform print notation to TEI– Papyri.info (Leiden+)– Ininera Nova

Page 31: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Leiden+ in Papyri.info

Page 32: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Leuven Archives at Itinera Nova

Page 33: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Leuven Archives at Itinera Nova

Page 34: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Non-Problem: Print Notations

• “I don't think we have seen many (if any) examples of this - transcribers do seem to stick to the tag set.”

• “It's now very rare for any transcribers to submit a plain text transcription” –Tim Causer (TB)

Page 35: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Why?

• Material:– Established conventions for papyri, charters.– No single convention for modern print

editions.

• Users:– Public has no “bad habits” to break

Page 36: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Tag Selection

• “Several problems caused us to modify that button set. First, there were something like 67 necessary buttons, and it was maddening to fish around for the desired button. And the research assistants, who had been encoding in oXygen, just typed in angle brackets and memorized tags, instead of using the buttons. As a result, we made it possible to move the buttons to one's liking, so we could put them in an order in the button palette that made sense in terms of finding them. Second, keeping track of several branches of an XML tree line by line, even with the prompting closing buttons, was a pain. Therefore, airly soon thereafter we omitted the "purely structural" tags in the button set.” – Abigail Firey (CCL)

Page 37: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Tag Selection

• “I have a literary background, and saw further opportunities for encoding Bentham's authorial operations (refinements to the encoding of interventions in the text--things like that). But I recognised that what the project called for was light structural markup that did not overcomplicate the users' job.” –Justin Tonra (TB)

Page 38: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Tag Selection

• “The job of application developers is to find the most effective subset for a particular project, and devise ways for 'general' users to enter it, without distracting them unduly from the content they are inputting” –Richard Davis

Page 39: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

The Future: Training Games

• “Currently we are going another way: teaching the users in "game play"-like method, i.e. building a demonstrator in which the novice can learn the use of the editor (and the whole system) by accomplishing some given tasks”– Georg Vogeler (VdU)

Page 40: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

The Future: WYSIWYG

• One solution is to introduce, as an alternative, a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get interface, so that transcribing will be like typing in a word-processor. In this scenario, the transcription toolbar would be done away with, and transcribers would not have to concern themselves with visible markup at all.– Tim Causer, Transcribe Bentham Blog

Page 41: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

The Future: Combinations?

Page 42: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Interviewees

• Transcribe Bentham– Melissa M. Terras– Justin Tonra– Tim Causer– Richard M. Davis

Page 43: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Interviewees

• T-PEN– James Ginther– Abigail Firey (CCL)

• Papyri.info– Hugh Cayless– Tom Elliott

• MOM-CA– Georg Vogeler (VdU)– Jochen Graf (Itinera Nova)

Page 44: What does it mean to “support TEI” for manuscript transcription? Ben Brumfield TEI 2012

Questions

• Ben Brumfield

• Independent software engineer

• @benwbrum

[email protected]

• FromThePage.com• http://manuscripttranscription.blogspot.com/