Winter 2016

Mackenzie Brooks
Assistant Professor and Digital Humanities Librarian
brooksm@wlu.edu // Leyburn M37 // office hours:

“In the next fifty years the entirety of our inherited archive of cultural works will have to be reedited within a network of digital storage, access, and dissemination”.
Jerome McGann, A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction, 2014.

  • This is a one credit DH studio course accompanying FREN 341 (TR 1:25p-2:50p) taught by Prof. Stephen McCormick
  • This course will be taught in three sections. Students will work in pairs or groups of three to complete a group project.

Course description

Text encoding is a pervasive but mostly unrecognized facet of early 21st-Century digital life. Every Web page consists of text marked with tags designating structure and style. Documents used for research requires a more rigorous set of encoding practices than ordinary Web pages. Adding semantic and structural meaning to digital texts produces and enables digital scholarship. The practice of scholarly text encoding represents a variety of texts, including handwritten manuscripts or early printed books, in a sustainable, non-proprietary form that attempts to convey the full essence of the original artifact.

This course explores the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), a standardized markup language for humanities texts. In wide use for more than twenty years, TEI describes attributes such as marginalia, annotations, textual variants, and other features as well as structure such as chapters, acts, and scenes. The course also situates TEI within the context of the humanities by examining digital editions from a variety of disciplines. Students will produce their own encoded text and contribute to the scholarly community by creating content for the W&L TEI Web site.

Class attendance and participation

Since the class meets only once a week it’s vital that students attend each class. Students should advise instructors prior to any planned absence.

This is a new type of course, especially for the humanities. It is collaborative, hands-on, and project-based. Much of the work will be completed in class, so continued participation is a must.

Required texts

All readings will be available online (freely or through Leyburn Library subscriptions) and listed on the schedule page. If no link is available, locate the article using the Search Everything search box on the library website.

Learning Objectives

* Explore the composition of digital editions through examples of online scholarly projects in different disciplines that utilize TEI, such as The Map of Early Modern London, Shakespeare’s Plays from Folger Digital Texts, The World of Dante, The Papers of George Washington, Perseus Digital Library, Rossetti Archive.

* Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship of TEI to other XML markup languages and document formats, which will significantly help students when they encounter HTML, CSS, and other forms of XML.

* Understand the role of markup languages in enabling an infrastructure that enhances the teaching and scholarly use of primary sources.

* Learn how to represent manuscripts and books as digital objects. Document modeling requires analytical and critical thinking skills to determine markup tags appropriate for describing the structure and content of texts.

* Develop proficiency in the basic use of TEI, including the understanding that TEI is both a standards organization and a markup language that facilitates the analysis of texts.