Making Digital Marks on Medieval Manuscripts
Edited By Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel
Chapter 2. Encoding and Decoding Texts: Marking-up Texts for Analysis
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ENCODING AND DECODING TEXTS
Marking-up Texts for Analysis
In this chapter, I will be exploring how we markup texts with information concerning their structure and contents. If we are to understand annotation as an engagement with a text and its substrate that is in some way external or extra to the text, then we must consider text encoding as central to our concerns here. I touched briefly in the introduction on how texts can be self-exegetical and therefore carry their externality with them, but a consideration of visually hidden yet critically pertinent annotation is more relevant to this investigation of externality. For my purposes here, I will be concentrating on the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and considering my experiences with marking up the lyrics and poetry of Guillaume de Machaut for inclusion in an online, searchable archive Je Chante Ung Chant.1 I will first explain the basics of how the TEI encoding works and what it can and cannot do, before proceeding to examine its power in capturing the variety of expression available to us in the manuscript matrix. The central issue I wish to address is how we can meaningfully use a method such as encoding texts using the TEI to capture the nature and intention of a manuscript and its texts when what we are doing is so radically different to what is happening in the manuscript. If my intention is to show that we can build...
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