Editors' List of

Potential Work Items

C. M. Sperberg-McQueen

Lou Burnard

5 June 1996

[Draft; for the information of the TRC]
[This document is a working paper prepared by the editors of the Text Encoding Initiative for the information of the TEI Technical Review Committee, and for its use in choosing new work items and chartering work groups. It represents the current views of the authors, but it certainly should not be taken as representing official policy of the TEI. Omission of an item from this list does not imply the authors are opposed to its adoption as a work item.]

Table of Contents

This document lists a variety of technical work which, in our opinion, should be addressed by the Text Encoding Initiative during the ongoing maintenance and development of the TEI. The items listed are, for the most part, derived from notes made over the last few years, from suggestions made by users of the TEI and participants in TEI work groups, and from our own experience in applying the Guidelines in a variety of areas. They have been grouped fairly loosely into related topic areas, but with no claim that the topics mentioned are the only ones in which work is needed, nor that the items listed represent an exhaustive summary in any given area. The level of detail associated with each item varies widely, but this should not be interpreted as indicating anything much about the importance or urgency of carrying out the associated work.

The purpose of this document is to suggest the kinds of work which needs to be done, and to propose some specific items which, in our view, need to be addressed, not to provide a detailed blueprint for the next phase of TEI development. It is however hoped that such a blue print will emerge out of the discussion which this document is intended to provoke, and we have therefore tried to be relatively concrete in our suggestions.

1 Types of Work

We have found it helpful to distinguish the following kinds of activities in describing the work items listed below:

By correction, we mean the emendation of parts of the existing scheme which are agreed to be faulty, but for which no obvious emendation has been identified by the editors. (See documents TEI ED W57 on error correction policy, and TEI ED W67 for the current list of `known errors').

By completion, we mean the expansion or conclusion of work only adumbrated or inadequately addressed in TEI P3. Parts of the existing scheme which may or may not be regarded as faulty may be regarded as in need of completion or correction: the two terms overlap somewhat.

By extension, we mean the definition of a new base or additional tag set for elements not already addressed by the Guidelines, or addition of new element definitions to an existing tag set, or the further elaboration of the analysis underlying the design of a tag set.

By harmonization, we mean systematic clarification of the similarities and differences between the TEI DTD and some other DTD in sufficient detail to guide automatic and hand-assisted translation between them, and where appropriate the modification of one or both so as to make possible automatic cross-translation without information loss. The purpose of harmonization is to aid migration between the TEI and other schemes, and to make clear their relative strengths and weaknesses.

By alignment of the TEI scheme with some other standard or encoding scheme (not typically a DTD), we mean clarification of the ways in which the two standards may be used together (including specification of any limits imposed by using them together), description of their mutual relation, and where appropriate the modification of one or the other to achieve a more useful relation between them. For example, an alignment of TEI P3 with ISO 10646 (the 32-bit Universal Character Set standard) would explain how users of TEI P3 must declare their use of that character set to their SGML-conformant and TEI-aware software, and explain how the TEI writing system declaration and the character/glyph model underlying ISO 10646 relate to each other. It might also suggest revising the Writing System Declaration to make it more obviously compatible with ISO 10646.

By application of the TEI scheme, we mean (in this context) identification and presentation of good practice in applying the TEI scheme to some well-defined subject area, recommendations concerning how general mechanisms defined by the TEI may most profitably be applied in given problem areas, and the like. The result of such work might take the form of a standard TEI <encodingDesc> describing the encoding and editorial practices recommended for the area.

Some work items involve more than one of these activities, which is why we have not used them as the basis for classification below.

We have not yet attempted to prioritize work areas. The topics into which we have grouped work items are intended for convenience and should not be given excessive weight.

2 Continuing Work Items

This section lists items which at some stage were proposed for inclusion in the Guidelines, but which were not completed in time. Some of them may no longer be necessary; others could be added with some extension; yet others require definition of entirely new tag sets.

3 New Tag Sets

Many possibilities exist for new tag sets. Those listed here are simply ones which have been proposed to us, or which we have ourselves identified as desirable.

4 Extension and Revision of P3 Materials

We list here a number of areas in which we are conscious that the currently published text of P3 offers opportunity for significant improvement, whether because the published text is simply inadequate or because the preparatory work prior to publication of P3 showed that there were substantial interesting topics still to address. In some cases, we have specified more exactly what we think needs to be added; in others, we are not sure what needs to be added, but we know that we could like a revised text more than the current text.

5 Harmonization with Other DTDs

This section lists a number of areas in which harmonization activities seem to us particularly crucial.

6 Theoretical Questions and Informational Working Papers

Some of the topics listed here may result in definition of new tag sets or modifications to existing ones. Most of them however are concerned with specifying good practice and discussing the implications of TEI practice.

7 Liaison with Other Bodies

This section lists a number of ISO and other work groups with whom closer liaison should be sought by the TEI, formally or informally, to ensure interoperability and reduce duplication of effort:

8 Evaluation

A systematic evaluation of the TEI Guidelines should be undertaken. This would imply :