Day 2 began, after introductions and welcomes, with the opening plenary session by B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies) and chair of Balisage (aka the annual Extreme Markup conference). After praising the work of the TEI, Tommie had some pointed and, I believe, very timely comments on the need for the TEI to grow through better communication. Most especially what is needed is entry-level training for potential and new users. (Hoorah!!)
Up next were two panel sessions, one on manuscript encoding, the other showcasing three different text collection projects. I attended the latter (though it was hard to pass on the session about the Paston letters). The collections are:
- The Digital Scriptorium, specifically Notre Dame’s participation in this Columbia University-hosted project that brings together seven institutional partners’ medieval manuscript collections (Ben Panciera and Rob Fox)
- the large-scale production of texts at the University of Michigan for inclusion in the Text Creation Partnership’s Early English Texts Online (Paul Schaffner) (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Text_Creation_Partnership and documentation: http://www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/docs/
- the University of Virginia Press ROTUNDA imprint (David Sewell)
What I found most interesting about these collections, aside from their content of course, was that they are all using the TEI but in different ways, some extended, some with MEP. Also, they use quite a variety of tools to create, validate, index, and deliver the texts including JEdit, Oxygen, Lucene, MarkLogic, LAMP, perl, ImageMagick, Graphic Convertor, Saxon-SA, and SRU.
Despite the fact that the second panel of the day included a session on History and GIS as well as music encoding, I ended up at the “Markup as Theory” panel instead. The issues raised were varied and interesting. My own reaction was one of questions: Does marking up a text provide discoveries about the text, impose constraints on the text, encourage more personal exploration of a text, or even allow for ways to express a text as not a text, (i.e. as more than a text, see FRBR: a text is not a text, it is a work, expression, manifestation, item). The answer was yes. That is, being deliberative in thinking about one’s markup is necessary and fascinating.
The day was to end with a combination poster sessions/reception but first came a wonderful idea: there were 21 posters and in order to give the poster presenters an opportunity to “advertise” their posters, we had a poster slam. Each poster presenter had exactly one minute to describe, encourage, cajole or otherwise promote their poster. The timekeeper was strict and the chime ringer (using the original, antique NBC chimes now housed at UMD) rang each presenter off at mid-sentence if necessary. Lots of fun, and an idea that I think we can use in future. (We may have to find a Vermont equivalent to the NBC chimes–perhaps a cow bell?) The posters were fascinating. As they are not available at the web site, but are available on paper, I’ll scan and post them when I get back to a scanner.