8. A Common Technology: TEI XML

Many of the projects the OUCS’s InfoDev team has worked on (including the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, Godwin’s Diary, and ePub editions of Shakespeare’s contemporaries (described in other sections of this OUCS News) manage data as XML valid against the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines. The Epidoc conventions used in digitizing classical inscriptions are another example of a use of the TEI.

The TEI Guidelines were first published 20 years ago, but the current version is the result of a large-scale revision undertaken between 2001 and 2009 by text-encoding experts worldwide. Oxford is one of four universities which act as special ‘hosts’ within the membership consortium which manages the TEI, and OUCS staff have played a considerable part in TEI development. Sebastian Rahtz and James Cummings are well-known n the TEI world, and are elected members of the organisation’s Technical Council. OUCS also undertakes much of the editorial work.

The TEI provides a comprehensive standard for tagging.

  • transcribed texts (drama, poetry, speech, dictionaries etc)
  • genetic editing
  • links between facsimiles and transcribed text
  • manuscript descriptions
  • identified names, places, people and dates
  • analysis, linguistic tagging, non-hierarchical structures

Here is a well-known piece from Shakespeare marked up in TEI XML:


                        <hi rend="italic">Ariell</hi> Song.</speaker>
                     <ab type="song">
                        <hi rend="italic">Full fadom fiue thy Father lies,<lb n="540"/>Of his bones
                           are Corrall made:<lb n="541"/>Those are pearles that were his eies,<lb
                              n="542"/>Nothing of him that doth fade,<lb n="543"/>But doth suffer a
                              Sea-change<lb n="544"/>Into something rich, &amp; strange:<lb n="545"
                           />Sea-Nimphs hourly ring his knell.</hi>
                        <lb n="546"/>
                        <stage>Burthen:</stage> ding dong.<lb n="547"/>
                        <hi rend="italic">Harke now I heare them, ding-dong bell.</hi>

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