Text encoding is a language. Through the post-colonial lens, it is of interest that this language be construed as “universal” despite the fact that it is specifically designed to be constructed within English alphanumerics. After understanding the basic references, one is then able to implement and categorize various languages—French, for example, was shown in the Mueller introduction. Reading this introduction was a similar experience as reading an instruction manual, although I found much of the information helpful in laying the foundation for what TEI is and is capable of creating.
One specific point of interest in relation to this topic is the idea of digital decomposition. The introduction, itself, seems to have fallen victim to a lack of upkeep as some of the hyperlinks contained within the document lead readers to error messages, such as the following:
Despite this, I found the article to be insightful and a good reference for possible future endeavors within the TEI arena. Some of the other links, such as the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, did function, and provided necessary examples of the types of output that can be created by following the various steps listed. Digital upkeep is important and necessary when the only other available form of preserving literary texts is the costly and burdensome literal preservation of books as tangible objects.
The other somewhat revelatory tidbit of information that I gleaned from the text had to do with the somewhat poetic form of TEI. One is able to create elegant code. That is, code that performs its function while simultaneously appearing clean and extremely concise. This type of code is only functional once it successfully passes through the “Validator,” which is ripe for poetic/philosophical inquiry in its own right.
The second page we were led to on the syllabus was also very helpful and much more beneficial for would-be TEI encoders, in my opinion. Here we have a straightforward tutorial, complete with examples, tests, exercises, etcetera, that help to get those that are interested actually doing the task rather than simply talking about it. With any language, immersion is the most successful strategy for retaining and practicing the desired outcome. This is a great way of learning, at least at the basic level, TEI.