EpiDoc Development Sprint: more

As a follow-up to my previous post detailing the achievements of the first half of an “EpiDoc Development Sprint” in London (20-24 March 2006), I would like to offer the following summary of achievements during the second (and final) two-day sprint (below). Participants are currently gathering up loose ends and completing finishing touches to portions of the work. Further updates, including announcement of the next major release of tools and guidelines, will be made via the Stoa-sponsored Markup List.


Second sprint achievements

Guidelines and stylesheets

The second sprint focused, in part, on significant refactoring, improvement and expansion of the EpiDoc Guidelines, together with associated XSLT stylesheets, including the addition of several new sections. Highlights include:

  • Reworked introduction, including an entirely new “introduction for epigraphers”
  • Addition of numerous examples throughout from Greek epigraphy
  • A “tools and techniques” section, including:
    • Guidance on use of the EpiDoc XSLT stylesheets outside Cocoon (with supporting modifications to the stylesheets)
    • Stubs for documentation sections on each of the EpiDoc tools
  • Markup recommendations for:
    • Acrophonic numerals
    • Bibliographic references
    • Chi-rho
    • Claudian letters
    • Geographic names and references
    • Interpuncts
    • Ligatures and concurrent hierarchy challenges
    • Numbers and numerals (follow-on discussion now in progress on the Markup List)
    • Original text direction
    • Personal names and persons (follow-on discussion now in progress on the Markup List)
  • Bug fixes too numerous to mention

P5 and the Guidelines

Another very important thread to the work involved the laying of a foundation for migrating EpiDoc to TEI P5. At P4, our extensive and growing Guidelines were developed under the auspices of the same customized DTD that we promulgated for epigraphic encoding, with various resulting infelicities and shortcomings. Our strategy for P5 is to separate the schemata for the Guidelines from that for the encoding. In moving the Guidelines to P5 first, we create a standard, but highly structured, TEI ODD that will, in turn, instantiate a P5 schema to govern EpiDoc-compliant encoding practice. Certain elements have been added as extensions or adaptations to the P5 tagset, such as tags for typographic forms and those supporting the integration of linked typographic examples, encoding examples and regular expressions. These data ‘tuples’ form the basis for automated verification of EpiDoc-specific XSLT stylesheets and custom text conversion tools, as well as the internal consistency of the Guidelines themselves, a mechanism significantly enhanced during the sprint by integrating Schematron with the Cocoon-based webapp.

Au, Bodard and Elliott are preparing a paper on the emerging EpiDoc P5 Guidelines Schema for presentation in Bauman’s panel “An Odd Basket of ODDs”, organized for Digital Humanities 2006 (Paris, 5-9 July).

About Tom Elliott

Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
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