Saturday, November 04, 2006

TEI- The Evil Invention, that's not actually what TEI stands for. It stands for Text Encoding Initiative. It's an XML based language developed to code literature for online applications. And it's evil. And I'm expected to learn it.

In one of my courses, Digital Print Culture & Romanticism, my major assignment is to edit, annotate, and code a closet drama (a play never meant to be staged) by John Thelwall (left) called The Fairy of the Lake. There is already an online version of it, but it sucks (lots of mistakes, very hard to read, no explanatory notes), so my job is to make a better one. It's worth 60% of my grade. If you get a chance, read the play. It's bloody hilarious! But that doesn't make TEI any more palatable.

The past 10 weeks or so, we've spent our classes learning editing theory (man, is there a lot of stuff that's important! Some scholars are way too concerned with the kind of paper books are printed on), deciding what's important to code, and researching the footnotes for whatever we're editing (each of us is doing a different work by Thelwall.) Yesterday, it was time to learn how to actually CODE the thing. Two hours certainly wasn't enough. I'm a fairly computer literate person, and yet it took me two hours this morning just to create the TEI header (a set of identifying tags that provide all of the important information about the file and what's in it.) This is going to take forever.

I think we've all seriously underestimated how much work this is going to be (especially my prof, since she has even less of a grasp of this than most of us do.) It should be interesting, though...