The theme of this year’s TEI Conference was “Connect. Animate. Innovate” focusing on the idea of continuous innovation, interaction and sharing within the TEI and, at a larger scale, the Digital Humanities community.
The variety of topics and approaches presented at the parallel papers and posters sessions, SIG meeting and keynote I could attend reflected this focal idea.
Sections like Correspondence in the TEI, Encoding historical data in TEI (my abstract and presentation), Encoding orality and performance were centred both on:
- particular types of data (letters – from ancient Akkadian tablets to early 20-th century personal collections of letters in Ireland; historical documents – such as Western European Union’s archives on armament issues or the charters of the late medieval period in Spain; conceptual artists’ notebooks and oral music from Maghreb);
- dedicated tools and methods for encoding and sharing these kinds of data (e.g. Web services for scholarly letter editions, modular and collaborative platforms for publishing historical structured data or for the transcription and annotation of oral phenomena).
Other sections, Interoperability and the TEI, Abstracting the TEI, Interchange and the TEI, Presentation and engagement with the TEI, Hermeneutics and the TEI, along with displaying a large array of data (dialectal and prosopographical databases, encoded plays, Antiquity textual resources, art history collections, literary editions, etc.) addressed a set of questions such as:
- software engineering best practices for supporting interoperability ;
- sustainability and longevity of the TEI conceptual model and the need of an abstract concept independent of its implementation (TEI versus XML);
- sonification and its potential use in comparing texts;
- analysis of the submerged process of scholarly annotation in a TEI archive;
- algorithmic approaches to the visualisation of complex textual structures in TEI;
- building a model for Interlinked (inter-related, inter-dependent) Ordered Hierarchy of Content Objects – (I)OHCO;
- creation of connected corpora based on TEI and Linked Open Data (LOD) technologies;
- exploring the pedagogic potential of the TEI for developing multi-cultural literary projects at high school and early university level;
- approaching, from a conceptual perspective, the application of the critical apparatus model to variants of iconographic representation;
- adopting an ontological model for TEI simple that allows interoperability between different vocabularies.
The same diversity of content characterised the posters and SIG sessions, with topics varying from tools (for stand-off markup, XML editing, visualisation, dissemination), historical and literary digital editions, to theoretical and practical considerations on TEI encoding, TEI integration with other standards (ISO) or TEI-based semantic and comparative studies on monolingual and multilingual corpora.
As the closing keynote pointed out, the TEI in particular and the digital scholarship in general reveals that we are in a new world now. When people start teaching Homer with access to manuscripts, we are talking about a new kind of scholarship.