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Editorial Introduction to Issue 12 of the Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative

Martin Holmes, Janelle Jenstad and Kathryn Tomasek

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1When we use TEI in teaching and learning, we engage students in real research partnerships, giving them opportunities to produce the editions they use in the classroom. And when we proposed the conference theme of “Pedagogy and Praxis” in 2016, our conference themes acknowledged that pedagogy is closely allied to praxis, the ways in which ideas become digital objects made for and often by students. We observed that the materials for teaching TEI remained nascent and consisted mainly of project documentation, the TEI’s own introductory materials, online tutorials, and collected examples.

2The majority of current practitioners of TEI have acquired their skills in haphazard ways, via what Diane Jakacki, our opening keynote speaker, has called a “second education.” However, as the tools and technologies have matured and the practices have become more rigorous and theoretically-inflected, we have a disciplinary obligation to develop equally rigorous and standardized training methods for new learners.

3The crucial next phase of DH work, we suggested in our CFP, would be the development and testing of new training models. We therefore invited proposals that interrogated, theorized, and modelled how we might best transform TEI practices into collaborative knowledge construction. We encouraged submissions that described pedagogical experiments (failed or successful), showcased tools and materials that encoding classes would need, proposed ways of embedding encoding classes into current curricula, theorized the relationship between TEI practice and classroom praxis, reflected on what collaboration means in the pedagogical environment, described partnerships between classrooms and DH projects, and imagined future training opportunities. Our conference theme thus foregrounded the development of skills and activities for future scholars. As Gimena del Rio Riande showed in the conference closing keynote address, those future scholars include learners in non-anglophone contexts.

Figure 1. The 2017 conference home page.

Figure 1. The 2017 conference home page.

4After two days of pre-conference workshops, the conference began on a brisk November day in Victoria. The conference venue was the University of Victoria’s University Club, nestled in the campus woodlands at the source of Bowker Creek and regularly frequented by wildlife. The UVic Humanities Associate Dean of Research, Margaret Cameron, opened the conference and welcomed delegates. Plenary sessions met in the main dining room, modelled on the longhouses of the local Lekwungen people. The two simultaneous smaller sessions met in adjacent breakout rooms. Since this conference coincided with the 30th anniversary of the founding of the TEI-C, we had a birthday cake, which John Unsworth cut for us.

Figure 2. A 30th birthday cake for the TEI.

Figure 2. A 30th birthday cake for the TEI.

5The five workshops were:

6The conference was bracketed by two rich plenary papers. Diane Jakacki (Bucknell University) kicked off the conference with a wonderful reflection on “Whatʼs in a Name? How Semantic Markup Transforms the Classroom.” Gimena del Rio Riande (CONICET, Argentina) closed the conference with an illuminating tour of TEI in Spanish-speaking countries: “Humanidades Digitales: Life on the Other Side.”

7The Linguistics, Ontologies, Manuscripts, and Newspapers/Periodicals SIGs met, and the Pedagogy SIG held a panel session focused on reviving the SIG. The latter included a paper focused on “TAPAS Classroom: Experiments with TEI in Humanities Pedagogy.”

8Thirty papers were organized into two sets of parallel sessions on the following topics:

  • Session 1A: Teaching Beginners

  • Session 1B: Tools

  • Session 2A: Teaching Advanced Students

  • Session 2B: Linguistics

  • Session 3A: Teaching with Tools

  • Session 3B: Graphics

  • Session 4A: Teaching TEI in Context

  • Session 4B: Customization

  • Session 5A: Projects

  • Session 5B: Analysis, Interpretation, Enrichment

The poster sessions included one demonstration and six posters.

9The papers submitted to jEI after the conference and published in this issue fall nicely into three groups: those dealing with the conference theme of “Pedagogy and Praxis”; a cluster of papers dealing with “New Techniques for New Texts”; and two papers (both from editors of the original P5 Guidelines) on “Customization and Conformance.”

1. Pedagogy and Praxis Cluster

10Julia Flanders and her co-authors describe uses of the TEI Accessing, Publication, and Archiving Service (TAPAS) in several classroom environments.

11Kailey Fukushima and Karen Bourrier describe their collaboration with students on their TEI edition of the correspondence of Dinah Mulock Craik. Their pedagogy is grounded in cognitive apprenticeship, which they argue helps them to foster feminist virtues of collaboration.

12Susanna Allés-Torrent and Gimena del Rio Riande describe the current state of TEI instruction and use in Spanish-speaking countries, identifying a gap between what they want to teach and what can be taught. All three common pedagogical contexts (the face-to-face classroom, distance learning, and the Foreign Language Classroom) need Spanish teaching materials. They call for teaching materials in Spanish, a translation of the TEI Guidelines into Spanish, and an expansion of the TEI community.

13Mark Kaethler describes “A TEI Assignment in the Lit Classroom: Making a Lord Mayorʼs Show in University and College Classrooms.” Kaethler offers practical advice as well as a critique of critiques of digital humanities.

14Stefano Apostolo, Ingo Börner, and Angelika Hechtl report on their intriguing experimental workshops designed to introduce genetic encoding to novice encoders, through a process whereby texts are initially produced by groups of participants themselves, using typewriters and manual annotation, and then other groups attempt to deduce the textual genesis using clues in the texts and encode the results following the TEI Guidelines recommendations and examples.

2. New Techniques for New Texts

15Martin Holmes provides a brief introduction to the history of the cryptic crossword, argues for the rich literary and scholarly value of the cryptic crossword as a unique form of text, and presents a schema and example encoding for crossword clues that would enable detailed analysis of clue collections.

16Stewart Arneil investigates issues with encoding mid-twentieth-century Japanese texts and discovers that, despite the elaborate mechanisms available through Unicodeʼs Standardized Variation Sequence mechanisms, there is still a useful place for the TEIʼs <charDecl>, <glyph>, and <mapping> elements in encoding such texts.

17Naoki Kokaze and his collaborators present a detailed proposal for enhancing the TEI’s support for historical measurement, providing the basis for a series of changes to the TEI Guidelines which are now largely complete. The new features enable scholars to encode units and measurements whose absolute values may change over time, and to express the conversion relationships between units at particular times in computable form.

18In an article focused on TEI and representation of graphic elements, Technical Council Chair Martina Scholger describes an approach to encoding a conceptual artist’s notebooks, in which text and images describing artworks are interwoven. Her scholarly edition project traces the genealogy of individual artworks from their initial conception to realization through TEI encoding and linked open data.

3. Customization and Conformance

19In “What is TEI Conformance and Why Should You Care?” Lou Burnard suggests that conformance and documentation (as opposed to standardization) are key to the TEI Consortium’s continued relevance.

20Syd Bauman introduces a new ODD file and schema whose purpose is to help encoders who are creating TEI customizations (by far the most common use of the ODD language) by providing additional constraints and prompts which make the process easier and less error-prone. The “ODD customization” ODD is now part of the regular TEI release package.

4. Acknowledgements

21The Local Organizing Committee consisted of the University of Victoria’s Humanities Computing and Media Centre team (Stewart Arneil, Martin Holmes, Pat Spzak, Greg Newton, and Judy Nazar) along with Janelle Jenstad from the Department of English.

22The Program Committee comprised:

  • Kathryn Tomasek, Chair, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

  • Alejandro Bia, Universidad Miguel Hernández

  • Syd Bauman, Northeastern University

  • Vanessa Hannesschläger, Austrian Center for Digital Humanities

  • Yuta Hashimoto, National Museum of Japanese History

  • Martin Holmes, University of Victoria

  • Elli Mylonas, Brown University

  • Kiyonori Nagasaki, International Institute for Digital Humanities

  • Laurent Romary, INRIA

  • Martina Scholger, University of Graz

  • Daniel Schopper, Austrian Center for Digital Humanities

  • Magdalena Turska, eXist Solutions

  • Pip Willcox, University of Oxford

23The conference sponsors were the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (which awarded a Connections Grant to Janelle Jenstad and Martin Holmes), the TEI Consortium, Syncro Soft (makers of Oxygen XML Editor), the UVic Faculty of Humanities, and the UVic Libraries.

SVN keywords: $Id: jtei-12-intro-source.xml 965 2020-05-26 20:33:25Z martin $

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1. The 2017 conference home page.
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Title Figure 2. A 30th birthday cake for the TEI.
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Electronic reference

Martin Holmes, Janelle Jenstad and Kathryn Tomasek, « Editorial Introduction to Issue 12 of the Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative »Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative [Online], Issue 12 | July 2019 - May 2020, Online since 14 February 2020, connection on 05 June 2020. URL:

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About the authors

Martin Holmes

University of Victoria

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Janelle Jenstad

University of Victoria

Kathryn Tomasek

Wheaton College

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For this publication a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license has been granted by the author(s) who retain full copyright.

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