TEI@20: Day 3

Day 3 began with a wonderful talk by Melissa Terras (UC London) on the need for better TEI education. She also introduced the TEI by Example project, which is working on, to quote the website,

  • the creation and on-line delivery of a TEI by example course for teaching TEI in higher education and workshops
  • the creation and on-line delivery of a software toolkit for teaching text encoding
  • the documentation of the methodology, workflow and findings of the project in a project report

The morning session that I attended continued this theme. First Lou Burnard and Sebastian Rahtz presented a summaryof the work done at the AHRC Methods Network course “Workshop on Development of Skills in Advanced Text Encoding with TEI P5“, held at Oxford University Computing Services, September 18th-20th 2006. Over the three days of the course the group tried (and largely succeeded) in coming up with models for one-day and mulit-day courses on the TEI for various constituencies. The learning objectives, plans, resources, etc, are all available on the wiki, linked above.
Werner Wegstein then discussed teaching the TEI to MA programme students in philology and also raised issues about best approaches, essentially finding ways to get students interested in the possibilities for their scholarship. If they see the use, if they have a need, they will learn. (This started me thinking about our own CS department’s recent move to offer a BA. There should be some way to make connections, perhaps with faulty who are looking for student project ideas…)
Next, Dot Porter described the Aelfric project which has a distributed group of encoders, many novices. Dot showed the materials and guidelines that they have put together to help the encoders.
The questions still remain: what’s a good approach to teaching the TEI/ who should the audience(s) be? what are ways to leverage or modularize teaching resources or methods? But at least the questions are on the table.
Daniel O’Donnell mentioned that he had convinced someone to use the TEI only after he showed them an example of something that could not be done by HTML alone. Perhaps this is another route the TEI by Example’ movement can take: instead of just writing and describing encoding practice, showing this kind of process or result may provide a more effective “hook.”
But that can be discussed tomorrow…Day 4; SIGs, specifically, for me, the meeting on education.
Meanwhile, the afternoon contained a thorough introduction to the new “P5” version of the TEI and the day wrapped up with a panel discussing funding opportunities. Representatives from several funding agencies, including Christopher Mackie (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Brett Bobley (NEH), Joyce Ray (IMLS), Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner (ACLS), and Max Vögler (DFG) provided descriptions of their programs. A lively discussion ensued about ways humanities applicants could be encouraged to either use the TEI or at least indicate why they are not using it. Collaboration and sustainability were the main themes. Chris Mackie of AWMF provided a humorous description of how not to write a proposal. (“We have some content, at least one scholar is interested, we want to put it on the web, we like wikis and blogs, we’d like to maybe later do open publishing, but we haven’t actually talked to anyone else in the field, we haven’t looked to related disciplines or our instituton, or read the literature to see what anyone else is doing, we’d like a whole lot of $$, we want to do it our way, and everyone else should adopt ours once it is built…”)

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