Featured Abstract: Feb. 6

Each Monday and Thursday, an abstract from one of the symposium participants will be posted to facilitate discussion.  We welcome your comments!

Featured Abstract: “Discovering our models: aiming at metaleptic markup applications through TEI customization”

Trevor Munoz, University of Maryland

The activity of data modeling involves generating a description of the structure that data will have in an information system. In practice, for many current humanities text projects, the outlines of these  descriptions and the information systems they will work within are already known—the vocabulary of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and some kind of toolchain suited to storing, processing, and retrieving XML. This should not obscure the modeling challenges involved in humanities text projects. Indeed it is in the investigation and manipulation of these complex systems of information representation—through the customization mechanisms provided by the TEI—that much of the intellectual contribution of “small data” projects to the digital humanities can be found. Also at this point in a project, the roles of (digital) humanist and librarian are most closely aligned. An examination of the process of developing TEI customizations for several projects will show some of the decisions whereby the digital representation of texts become strategic models and also where the strategic emphases of librarians and humanists for those representations begin to fall out in slightly different ways. As the primary case study among those presented, the development of the Shelley-Godwin archive project will exhibit how TEI customization as an act of data modeling looks backward to traditions of editing and forward to new kinds of computer-enabled processing in an attempt to develop a rich, critically-engaged record of engagement with an important body of texts.

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