Text Encoding Initiative
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</tr> </table> The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), a consortium of institutions and research projects, maintains and develops a standard for the representation of texts in digital form. Originally sponsored by three scholarly societies, the TEI is now an independent membership consortium, hosted by academic institutions in the US and in Europe. Its major deliverable is a set of Guidelines, which specify encoding methods for machine-readable texts, chiefly in the humanities, social sciences and linguistics. Since 1994, these guidelines are a widely-used standard for text materials for performing online research and teaching, and TEI is now the de facto standard for the encoding of electronic texts in the humanities academic community.
Sponsors and organisation
The scholarly societies originally sponsoring the TEI are the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Computational Linguistics, and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing. These three groups first organized the TEI in 1987 as a research effort funded by grants from several agencies. The Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange were released in 1994, co-edited by Lou Burnard (at Oxford University) and Michael Sperberg-McQueen (then at the University of Illinois at Chicago, later at W3C and now an independent consultant).
Today, the TEI Consortium is a member-funded non-profit corporation hosted by:
The Guidelines define some 500 different textual components and concepts, which can be expressed using a markup language and defined by a DTD or XML schema. Early versions of the Guidelines used SGML as a means of expression; more recently XML has been adopted. The basic concepts have been stable for over a decade, with TEI P3 (public release version 3) published in 1994, and updated in 1999. P4 (2002) is a slight update to accommodate XML; TEI P5 was released in November 2007. P5 includes integration with the xml:lang and xml:id attributes from the W3C (these had previously been attributes in the TEI namespace), regularisation of local pointing attributes to use the hash (as used in HTML) and unification of the ptr and xptr tags. Together these changes make P5 more regular and bring it closer to current xml practise as promoted by the W3C and as used by other XML variants.
The TEI scheme is a modular one, designed to be customized for particular research or production environments. Many different applications of it are possible; one very popular example customization is a subset known as TEI Lite.
There is ongoing work on TEI P5 which, although it breaks backward compatibility in a number of ways, has significantly updated the inner workings including a reorganization of the underlying structures of elements into classes which allow greater and easier customization. Maintenance and development continue under the sponsorship of the TEI Consortium. The TEI component for marking up feature structures (a model of data sometimes used in linguistics) has been adopted as the basis of the ongoing development of an ISO standard for feature structures.
The TEI is used by many projects worldwide. Practically all projects are associated with one or more universities. Some well-known projects that encode texts using TEI include: