Search our Technical Writing Archives & Magazine
TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
"C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <U35395 -at- UICVM -dot- BITNET>
Fri, 15 Jul 1994 12:23:56 CDT
Readers of this newsgroup (or list) may be interested in the recent
publication of the Text Encoding Initiative's Guidelines for Electronic
Text Encoding and Interchange. The material below describes what the
Guidelines are and why you might care about them; appended is a
description of how to acquire them in paper form or retrieve them in
electronic form. Please feel free to re-post this material to other
appropriate lists and groups. My apologies if this information is
tangential to the interests of the list, or you have already seen it
before, especially if it has already been posted here --- my record
keeping has been disrupted. Thanks. -CMSMcQ
TEXT ENCODING INITIATIVE PUBLISHES GUIDELINES
In May, the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) published its
"Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange."
This report is the product of several years' work by over a hundred
experts in fields ranging from computational linguistics to Ancient
Greek literature. The Guidelines define a format in which electronic
text materials can be stored on, or transmitted between, any kind of
computer from a personal microcomputer to a university mainframe. The
format is independent of the proprietary formats used by commercial
The TEI came into being as the result of the proliferation of mostly
incompatible encoding formats, which was hampering cooperation and reuse
of data among researchers and teachers. Creating good electronic texts
is an expensive and time-consuming business. The object of the TEI was
to ensure that such texts, once created, could continue to be useful
even after the systems on which they were created had become obsolete.
This requirement is a particularly important one in today's rapidly
evolving computer industry.
To make them "future-proof", the TEI Guidelines use an international
standard for text encoding known as SGML, the Standard Generalized
Markup Language. SGML was originally developed by the publishing
industry as a way of reducing the costs of typesetting and reuse of
electronic manuscripts but has since become widely used by software
developers, publishers, and government agencies. It is one of the
enabling technologies which will help the new Digital Libraries take
The TEI Guidelines go beyond many other SGML applications currently in
use. Because they aim to serve the needs of researchers as well as
teachers and students, they have a particularly ambitious set of goals.
They must be both easily extensible and easily simplified. And their
aim is to specify methods capable of dealing with all kinds of texts, in
all languages and writing systems, from any period in history.
Consequently, the TEI Guidelines provide recommendations not only for
the encoding of prose texts, but also for verse, drama, and other
performance texts, transcripts of spoken material for linguistic
research, dictionaries, and terminological data banks.
The Guidelines provide detailed specifications for the documentation of
electronic materials, their sources, and their encoding. These
specifications will enable future librarians to catalogue electronic
texts as efficiently and reliably as they currently catalogue printed
The TEI Guidelines also provide optional facilities which can be added
to the set of basic recommendations. These include methods for encoding
hypertext links, transcribing primary sources (especially manuscripts),
representing text-critical apparatus, analyzing names and dates,
representing figures, formulae, tables, and graphics, and categorizing
of texts for corpus-linguistic study. The Guidelines also define
methods of providing linguistic, literary, or historical analysis and
commentary on a text and documenting areas of uncertainty or ambiguity.
The TEI Guidelines have been prepared over a six-year period with grant
support from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities,
Directorate General XIII of the Commission of the European Union, the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science and Humanities
Research Council of Canada. The effort is largely the product of the
volunteer work of over a hundred researchers who donated time to share
their experience in using computers and to work out the specific
recommendations in the Guidelines.
The project is sponsored by three professional societies active in the
area of computer applications to text-based research: the Association
for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Literary and
Linguistic Computing, and the Association for Computational Linguistics,
which have a combined membership of thousands of scholars and
Many projects in North America and Europe have already declared their
intention of applying the TEI Guidelines in the creation of the large
scale electronic textual resources which are increasingly dominating the
world of humanities scholarship.
The Guidelines are available in paper form or electronic form over the
Internet. For more information see the description of availability and
distribution mechanisms appended below.
Availability and Distribution of the TEI Guidelines
TEI P3, the Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange,
is available in the following forms:
- in paper (1300 pp., 2 volumes), at a cost of $75 US, 50 pounds
sterling, or 7500 yen. Order form below.
- electronically in an SGML-tagged form (ca. 5.6 Mb) using the TEI DTD
documented in TEI P3, with minor extensions; this form is available
without cost via Listserv or anonymous ftp. More info below.
- electronically in a formatted 'ASCII-only' version (ca. 3.1 Mb)
suitable for display by those without an SGML-aware rendering engine;
this form is available without cost via Listserv or anonymous ftp.
The TEI document type definition (DTD) files are available electronically
via Listserv or anonymous ftp.
The electronic forms of the documentation are available via Listserv
commands from LISTSERV -at- UICVM -dot- UIC -dot- EDU, and by anonymous ftp from:
ftp-tei.uic.edu (in pub/tei and its subdirectories)
sgml1.ex.ac.uk (in tei/p3 and its subdirectories)
TEI.IPC.Chiba-u.ac.jp (in /TEI/P3)
ftp.ifi.uio.no (in pub/SGML/TEI)
For instructions on using ftp, consult your local documentation.
For instructions on using Listserv, see below.
For further information about the TEI, subscribe to TEI-L (see below
Getting electronic copies of the files from Listserv
To fetch TEI P3 from the TEI-L file server maintained at the University
of Illinois at Chicago, send electronic mail to
listserv -at- uicvm -dot- uic -dot- edu
containing one or more of the following lines. To order the SGML-tagged
version of TEI P3, include the line
get teip3 package
To order the formatted, untagged (ASCII-only) version of TEI P3, include
get p3ascii package
To order the TEI P3 DTD files, include
get p3dtds package
If you want ALL THREE packages (SGML-tagged, formatted, and DTDs), you
may include all three of the lines given above, or the single line
get p3all package
For further information on using the file server, include the line
get edj8 memo
or consult the materials Listserv sent you when you subscribed to TEI-L.
If you are not already subscribed, you can subscribe by including the
following line in your note to Listserv -at- uicvm -dot- uic -dot- edu:
subscribe tei-l J. Doe
(substituting your name for 'J. Doe')
Getting paper copies of TEI P3
To get paper copies of TEI P3, send the order form below to the
appropriate address, enclosing appropriate payment.
Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH)
Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC)
Text Encoding Initiative
Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange
(TEI P3, May 1994)
Please supply ..... copies of TEI P3
at (check one)
.. Standard Price: ($75/50 pounds/7500 Yen)
.. Discount Price, for members of ACH, ACL, or ALLC:
($50/35 pounds/5000 Yen)
Shipping and handling Charges
Parcel Post (no charge)
Surface/first class ($10 per copy/10 pounds per copy) ......
Express delivery within Europe/North America only:
($30 per copy / 20 pounds per copy) ......
Total sum enclosed: __________________
Send this form to the nearest of the following:
C. M. Sperberg McQueen
University of Illinois at Chicago
Academic Computing Center (M/C 135)
1940 W. Taylor, Rm. 124
Chicago IL 60612-7352
N.B. Payments to the Chicago office must be by check in
US Dollars payable to the Association for Computers and the
OR TEI Orders
Oxford University Computing Services
13 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 6NN
N.B. Payments to the Oxford office must be by cheque or
money order in sterling or US Dollars, payable to Oxford
University Computing Services.
OR Prof. Syun Tutiya
Faculty of Letters
fax: +81 (43) 256-7032
N.B. Payments to the Chiba office must be in yen; for details,
please contact Prof. Tutiya by email
(tutiya -at- culle -dot- l -dot- chiba-u -dot- ac -dot- jp) or by
fax: +81 (43) 256-7032.