Digital humanities

Maintained by: David J. Birnbaum ( [Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License] Last modified: 2019-01-20T18:59:10+0000

TEI assignment #1

TEI assignment #1

When we talk about coding in our course, discussion usually focuses on the content of the document. However, all project materials should have documentary metadata, that is, documentation of sources and information about publication, accessibility, individuals or groups responsible for creation or dissemination of the document, etc. This exercise lets you practice encoding metadata within the TEI framework, but you could, alternative, develop and implement your own metadata elements and attributes. Even if you don’t use TEI for the metadata in your own project, though, we recommend consulting the TEI guidelines (as we do in our own non-TEI projects) to remind you of what other people have considered important, and how they have represented it through markup.

For this assignment, you’ll work with a digital copy of The Constitution of the United States, available at the National Archives website at In class, we explored the TEI modules together and focused specifically on the <teiHeader> inventory of elements. Applying the strategies we discussed and using the information available in prose form on the National Archives website, your task is to write a TEI header that incorporates metadata that you would consider appropriate for a bibliographic entry. For this assignment, the only information about the Constitution that you need to include is what you can find on the National Archives page, which includes dates, organizations responsible for drafting and maintaining the document on the National Archives website, access to the document (including reference numbers), stipulations regarding public availability, etc.

How to proceed

As we showed in class, you can create a skeletal TEI All XML file by navigating in <oXygen/> to New → All [TEI P5], which will open the world’s smallest TEI document in your window, that is, the smallest possible valid TEI document. Use this structure as a jumping point to populate your own header, using the TEI header chapter and the table of contents as a guide while you code. As we said in class, we recommend you sort these elements by module, which you can do by clicking Show by module just below the Search alphabetically interface near the top of your screen. When we work in TEI, we find it easiest to start from the outside in, reviewing eligible child elements for some of our outermost elements, like <fileDesc>, <publicationStmt>, etc., selecting those child elements that are relevant, and progressing down the document tree. You don’t need to include every possible piece of metadata, but try to include a good variety, keeping in mind the sort of information you might want to include for documents in your own project. You do not have to enter anything in the <text> section of the TEI document; you can leave the Some text here. placeholder there.

What to submit

Submit the TEI file that contains your header (it should have a .xml extension) through CourseWeb, like your other coding assignments.

Bonus tasks

In addition to the requirements listed above, you are welcome to include any additional information that you find to be important for the document header (e.g., historical backdrop, description of the physical manuscripts, description of the purpose of the text, etc.). And since we aren’t asking you to enter or tag the text of the document, which would go inside the <body>, a second bonus task is to include and tag the first paragraph from the Constitution with whatever markup you consider appropriate. Note, though, that since this is a TEI document, you can’t make up your own elements, and you have to use the elements defined by the TEI. You can read about those in the TEI Guidelines; we’d suggest starting in the section about the core.