TEI U5: Encoding for Interchange: an introduction to the TEI

TEI Lite: An Introduction to Text Encoding for Interchange
Lou Burnard
C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Document No: TEI U 5
June 1995, revised May 2002

Prefatory note

TEI Lite was the name adopted for what the TEI editors originally conceived of as a simple demonstration of how the TEI encoding scheme might be adopted to meet 90% of the needs of 90% of the TEI user community. In retrospect, it was predictable that many people should imagine TEI Lite to be all there is to TEI, or find TEI Lite to be far too heavy for their needs (to meet the latter criticism, Michael also prepared a special barebones version of TEI Lite).

TEI Lite was based largely on our observations of existing and previous practice in the encoding of texts, particularly as manifest in the collections of the Oxford Text Archive and in our own experience. It is therefore unsurprising that it seems to have become, if not a de facto standard, at least a common point of departure for electronic text centres and encoding projects world wide. Maybe the fact that we actually produced this shortish, readable, manual for it also helped.

That manual was, of course, authored and is maintained in the DTD it describes, originally as an SGML document, more recently in XML. This made it easy to produce a number of differently formatted versions in HTML, Tex, PDF, etc., some of which can be found in The TEI Vault. As well as the HTML version you are reading, the document is also available for download as a rather nicely formatted PDF document

Early adopters of TEI Lite included a number of ‘Electronic Text Centers’, many of whom produced their own documentation and tutorial materials (some examples are listed in the TEI Tutorials pages). The present tutorial has also been translated into a gratifyingly large number of languages other than English. Here's the list as of October 1999: if you know of (or would like to produce) a version in another language, please get in touch!

With the publication of TEI P4, the XML version of the TEI Guidelines, which uses the generation of TEI Lite as an example of the Modification mechanism built into the TEI Guidelines, the opportunity has been taken to produce a lightly revised version of the present document. This revision documents the XML version of the TEI Lite DTD.

Lou Burnard, May 2002

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This document provides an introduction to the recommendations of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), by describing a manageable subset of the full TEI encoding scheme. The scheme documented here can be used to encode a wide variety of commonly encountered textual features, in such a way as to maximize the usability of electronic transcriptions and to facilitate their interchange among scholars using different computer systems. It is also fully compatible with the full TEI scheme, as defined by TEI document P4, Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, published in May 2002, and available from the TEI Consortium website at http://www.tei-c.org.

Other notations may however be used, provided that an appropriate NOTATION declaration is added to the DTD.
The analysis is taken, with permission, from Willard McCarty and Burton Wright, An Analytical Onomasticon to the Metamorphoses of Ovid (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming). Some simplifications have been undertaken.