Towards an XML-TEI Edition of Diplomatic Documents – Part 1. The Fine-tuning Challenge

The project is part of a larger CVCE research project on the diplomacy within Western European Union (WEU). The corpus includes a selection of bilingual institutional documents (French, English) on the production and standardisation of armaments (1954 to 1982) from the Archives Nationales de Luxembourg, WEU collection. The documents (in a first phase, in French) were encoded in XML-TEI P5 in order to enable corpus analysis on specific elements, side by side visualisation of facsimiles and their transcriptions, as well as particular search engine capabilities (e.g. facets).

Several types of documents compose the corpus: meeting minutes, notes from the Secretary-General or Secretariat-General, memoranda and studies. Three categories of encoding are provided: metadata (title, author, availability date, origin place, confidentiality status, etc.), structural markup (headers, footers, sections, paragraphs, line breaks), content-related annotations (discourse of country/institutional representatives, names of persons, organisations, places, etc.).

Building the TEI corpus implied: OCR processing with ABBYY FineReader (one image file per typewritten page), Microsoft Word styling and OxGarage conversion from DOCX to XML-TEI P5, as well as semi-automatic enrichment by means of XSLT 2.0 and oXygen, Named Entity Recognition (NER) with GATE – General Architecture for Text Engineering and manual annotation. Experiments are currently ongoing for corpus analysis, using Textométrie TXM software (e.g. to discern specific linguistic patterns for the different country or institutional representatives) and Web publishing (focusing on potential adaptation of image-text edition tools as EVT – Edition Visualization Technology or query/index/browsing features provided by platforms like XTF – eXtensible Text Framework and KILN).


In the current stage of the project (Web publication of the TEI corpus), given the particular research needs and the CVCE’s Back End/Front End architecture, an adaptation/combination of different technologies and open source tools seems more probable than the use of a single existing platform for this purpose. Although the design of the actual TEI publication framework is still work in progress, the main challenge of the whole process in creating the digital edition from the initial images has become apparent, i.e. to fine-tune the ratio of automatic versus manual processing and the implied modular, configurable mechanism based on “relatively steady/changing”, “core/project specific” and “mandatory/optional” dichotomies.


Cite this blog post
Florentina Armaselu (2015, April 3). Towards an XML-TEI Edition of Diplomatic Documents – Part 1. The Fine-tuning Challenge. Digital Humanities LAB at CVCE powered by Retrieved April 20, 2024, from

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  1. Pingback: Towards an XML-TEI Edition of Diplomatic Documents – Part 2. EVT Visualisation | Digital Humanities LAB at CVCE

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