Re: Encoded rendering instructions (was Unicode's Mandate)

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Wed Mar 09 2005 - 03:57:41 CST

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    On Tue, 8 Mar 2005 21:17:45 -0800, "Doug Ewell" wrote:
    > Deborah W. Anderson <dwanders at pacbell dot net> wrote:
    > > Already in 1990 the Text Encoding Initiative had defined guidelines on
    > > how to mark up texts, particularly for scholarly works. The latest
    > > version, P4, provides recommendations on mark-up for damaged text (see
    > > For example, it provides tags
    > > to classify the area of damage to a text, the person responsible for
    > > identifying the damage, the degree of damage, etc.
    > This is impressive. It supports everything Dean had asked for, and much
    > more (Debbie's quick summary doesn't even scratch the surface). It just
    > doesn't happen to involve new Unicode characters.

    It certainly is impressive, and it really confirms to me that any attempt to
    represent this sort of information in plain text using a new set of Unicode
    characters is doomed to failure. As I said previously if you are storing
    information about the state of a text in the text itself, you need to be able to
    record more than the fact that there is some unspecified damage to a certain
    quadrant of a character. Using markup such as that defined by TEI enables the
    storage of a wealth of information beyond that achievable in plain text, and is
    certainly the approach I would use for recording texts in digital format if I
    was working on a large project such as the Vindolanda Tablets or the Bactrian
    documents from Northern Afghanistan ... which I've just been reading about (see for a good overview).


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