Wednesday, November 7, 2007

TEI P5 Hits the Streets, What's EpiDoc Doing?

That substantial seismic WHOMP! you felt last Friday was the 1.0 release of the Text Encoding Initiative, version P5 making its official entry into the light of day. A hearty congratulations to the editors, the TEI Technical Council, and everyone else who worked so hard to make this major revision a reality.

As a sizable percentage of my legions of readers will know, the TEI underpins the work of the EpiDoc Community, which aims to provide guidance and tools for the XML markup of ancient primary sources -- especially documentary ones -- preserved in inscriptions, on papyri and the like. Right now, EpiDoc depends on the previous (P4) version of the TEI, but incorporates a number of P5 structures that are especially useful (or economical) for our needs. We'll hold at this point until sometime at least in mid-2008, when we'll look at revising EpiDoc to full P5 compliance. This delay recognizes that key members of the community will be pretty busy in the meantime on a number of projects that shouldn't be slowed down for a major revision.

A particularly important current project in this regard is the conversion of the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (description somewhat out of date) to full EpiDoc conformance. This conversion underpins an effort to establish better interoperability with the Advanced Papyrological Information System and the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der griechischen Papyrusurkunden Ägyptens. This APIS/Duke/HGV work is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and it's driving major improvements to the EpiDoc Guidelines and software tools.

There's also an interesting, and rapidly growing, list of other EpiDoc projects.

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