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   Re: Gutenberg Project <longish>

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  • From: "Frank Boumphrey" <bckman@ix.netcom.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@XML.ORG>, "Walter Underwood" <wunder@infoseek.com>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:35:23 -0500

I think one of the things being lost in this argument is that TEI was
poriginally designed for annotation of documents for carrying out scholarly
research. As such it is truly without peer. What is needed is a smaller
simpler more intuitive language.

It was not really designed for the marking up of common texts for display
and reading.

Look at the following three examples of the opening of Moby Dick. TEI,
gutbook, and XHTML

<div type="chapter">
   <num>chapter I</num>
   <p>Call me Ishmael.<ref target="ch1_1">1</ref> Some years ago...
  <note id="ch1_1">The Biblical Ishmael ...</note>

    <chapnum>Chapter 1</chapnum>
    <para>Call me Ishmael.<reference ref="ch1_1">1</reference> Some years
  <footnote id="ch1_1">The Biblical Ishmael ...</footnote>

<div class="chapter">
  <div class="chapheader">
    <h2 class="chapnum">Chapter 1</h2>
    <h3 class="chaptitle">LOOMINGS</h3>
    <p>Call me Ishmael.<a href="#ch1_1">1</a> Some years ago...
  <div class="footnote" id="ch1_1">The Biblical Ishmael ...</div>

Which of these examples is the more intuitive?

IMO (and that of nearly all my students) The TEI markup is NOT as intuitive
as the  second markup, it uses a lot of generic headings such as 'div' head,
only one kind of note etc. Now TEI has a plethora of markup suitable for
scholarly research but this is quite superfluous for the average reader who
just wants to read the book and perhaps find their way around it. A blind
person wants to know when they have come to the end of a chapter etc.

This extra markup is also a source of confusion to an amateur who really
only wants to use a few tags to mark up the text.

Now the second example is much easier for an amateur to get their heads
around, and it has the added advantage that if a scholar came along at a
later date and wanted to convert this text to TEI it would be a very simple
process. Additional markup could be added also.

Further more if the Gut book DTD is made in a modular fashion it would be an
easy matter to add a module of 'scholarly markup' to this file.

Now maybe DTD's have had their day, (I don't think so but thats another
argument), and if so we must look at how to convert our files to a different
schema. i don't know how this will fare, but a S.McQ is on the WG I hope it
will be OK for TEI.

there is another problem with TEI at present, and this is somewhat of a
spurious argument.

Because TEI relies on attributes to differentiate segments it cannot be
displayed with a style sheet on current XML browsers
 div[type="chapter"]{font-size:14pt;} is not supported).

sometimes i think that the argument is getting a little religious with us
all sticking up for our favorite religions :>).

I must confess that when it comes to ease of use I am not a fan of TEI, but
I do see its tremendous worth, not least of which is that there is a ton of
documents marked up in TEI. Now if only they were made _easily_ available to
the general public.....!!

----- Original Message -----
From: Walter Underwood <wunder@infoseek.com>
To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2000 8:07 PM
Subject: Re: Gutenberg Project <longish>

> At 10:18 AM 3/13/00 -0500, Ann Navarro wrote:
> >Folks, this is what XML is all about.  You can do what you wish, in a
> >manner that works for you and your projects.
> Actually, I thought it was all about achieving interoperability
> and extensibility. Folks are already free to make dedicated,
> incompatible solutions.
> Personally, I'd rather see additional tutorial material for
> TEI Lite. And I'd really like to know what parts of TEI are
> hard for folks to learn, so the existing materials can be
> improved. DTD usability hasn't been addressed much, and it
> would be nice to have some data.
> wunder
> --
> Walter R. Underwood
> Senior Staff Engineer
> Infoseek Software
> GO Network, part of The Walt Disney Company
> wunder@infoseek.com
> http://software.infoseek.com/cce/ (my product)
> http://www.best.com/~wunder/
> 1-408-543-6946
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