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1. Before you start

You have had a brief introduction to using the TEI for transcription of primary sources in exercise 3 when you produced a file with a manuscript description of a (slightly vandalized) poem In FlandersFields. In this exercise we will revisit this text, this time transcribing the poem along with all of its vandalised sections. Begin by opening the file you saved at the end of exercise 3 (if you have lost it, there is a suitable file on your USB key in the file spoilers/exercise-3.xml), and save a copy of it as exercise-6.xml.

2. Transcribing the poem

We have supplied page images of the original manuscript in your booklet and on your USB key. The original poem text is available on p. ?? and the ‘vandalized’ version is on p. ??.

I would suggest a multi-pass methodology where you first transcribe the original poem and then return and add more markup to indicate the bizarre changes that have been made to it.

  1. Delete the <p> element that we left inside the <body> element in order to make our document valid.
  2. Replace this with a <div> element with a <head> inside which contains something like 'John McCrae's In Flanders Fields'. You may wish to wrap the name of the poem in a <title> element.
  3. Inside the <div> but after the <head> put in <lg> (line-group) elements with <l> (line) elements for each stanza and line of the poem as you transcribe it.
  4. Mine looks something like:
    <body>
     <div>
      <head>John McCrae's <title>In Flanders Fields</title>
      </head>
      <lg>
       <l>In Flanders fields the poppies blow</l>
       <l>Between the crosses, row on row,</l>
       <l>That mark our place; and in the sky</l>
       <l>The larks, still bravely singing, fly</l>
       <l>Scarce heard amid the guns below.</l>
      </lg>
    <!-- More linegroups here -->
     </div>
    </body>
  5. Remember to save your work.

3. Closing the the poem

  1. At the end of the poem we have a signature, title, and date. These can be viewed as forming a 'closer' section and the TEI has an element called just this. After the final <lg> but before the closing <div> tag. insert a <closer> element.
  2. Inside this <closer> element put a <signed> element with the text 'John McCrae' inside it. If you want you can use the @rend attribute on <signed> to indicate that this was originally aligned to the 'right'.
  3. After the <signed> element put a <dateline> element with a <title> of 'Punch' and a <date> of 'Dec 8 1915'.
  4. Mine looks something like:
    <closer>
     <signed rend="right">John McCrae</signed>
     <dateline rend="left">
      <title>Punch</title>
      <date>Dec 8 1915</date>
     </dateline>
    </closer>
  5. Your file should be valid... double check this before saving it.

4. Transcribing the modifications: stanza 1

  1. Our version of the poem has various modifications to it which we want to transcribe. For example in the first line there are two substitutions, where 'poppies' is deleted and 'flowers' added and 'blow' is deleted and 'grow' added. We could code these separately with <add> and <del> by themselves, but since we can tell that these are individual acts of substitution we wrap these elements in the <subst> element as well.
  2. Using <subst> surrounding <add> and <del> do all the changes in the first stanza. (Though notice that the deletion of a comma in one place is not a substitution.)
  3. Mine looks something like:
    <lg>
     <l>In Flanders fields the <subst>
       <del>poppies</del>
       <add>flowers</add>
      </subst>
      <subst>
       <del>blow</del>
       <add>grow</add>
      </subst>
     </l>
     <l>Between the <subst>
       <del>crosses</del>
       <add>graves</add>
      </subst>, row on row,</l>
     <l>That mark our place<subst>
       <del>;</del>
       <add>:</add>
      </subst> and in the sky</l>
     <l>The <subst>
       <del>larks</del>
       <add>birds</add>
      </subst>
      <del>,</del> still bravely <subst>
       <del>s</del>
       <add>w</add>
      </subst>inging, fly</l>
     <l>Scarce heard amid the guns <subst>
       <del>below</del>
       <add>aglow</add>
      </subst>.</l>
    </lg>
  4. Remember to save your file when valid!

5. Transcribing the modifications: stanza 2

  1. The second stanza is more of the same, but includes a nested substitution! Do the same kind of thing as in the first stanza.
  2. Note that the very first change it is arguable that the full-stop is not deleted, and only the ascender of the exclamation mark added. For now we'll pretend that the full-stop is deleted and replaced with an exclamation mark.
  3. Mine looks something like:
    <lg>
     <l>We are the Dead<subst>
       <del>.</del>
       <add>!</add>
      </subst>
      <subst>
       <del>Short days ago</del>
       <add>Ere <subst>
         <del>finally </del>
         <add>we were</add>
        </subst>laid</add>
      </subst>
     </l>
     <l>We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset <subst>
       <del>glow</del>
       <add>fade</add>
      </subst>,</l>
     <l>Loved<del>,</del> and were loved, and now we lie</l>
     <l>In Flanders fields.</l>
    </lg>

6. Transcribing the modifications: stanza 3

  1. The third stanza introduces even more complexity by having some of the additions spelled incorrectly! Surely we will want to indicate that these were apparent errors in the original and not our poor transcription!
  2. In transcribing the first line, notice that the word 'fight' is substituted for 'quarrel' and then 'quarell' (incorrectly spelled) is substituted for fight. This will need to be a nested <subst> as in the last stanza, but then we will use <choice> with a <sic> and <corr> elements to provide the correction.
  3. Just at the start of the third line there is a marginal addition. Use <add> to contain this inside the line, but give a @place attribute of 'margin'. You could also characterize the type of addition, with the@type attribute, as 'note' if you want. Why do we not use a <note> element for this?
  4. In the final line one of the substitutions has a spelling mistake ('blowe' for 'blow')...remember to provide the correction as you did in the first line.
  5. Mine looks something like:
    <lg>
     <l>Take up our <subst>
       <del>quarrel</del>
       <add>
        <subst>
         <del>fight</del>
         <add>
          <choice>
           <sic>quarell</sic>
           <corr>quarrel</corr>
          </choice>
         </add>
        </subst>
       </add>
      </subst> with the foe:</l>
     <l>To you from failing hands we throw</l>
     <l>
      <add place="margintype="note">Is 'torch' really the right
         metaphor?</add>The torch; <subst>
       <del>be</del>
       <add>is</add>
      </subst> yours to hold <subst>
       <del>it</del>
       <add>up</add>
      </subst> high.</l>
     <l>If ye break faith with us who die</l>
     <l>We shall not sleep, though <subst>
       <del>poppies</del>
       <add>flowers</add>
      </subst>
      <subst>
       <del>grow</del>
       <add>
        <choice>
         <sic>blowe</sic>
         <corr>blow</corr>
        </choice>
       </add>
      </subst>
     </l>
     <l>In Flanders fields.</l>
    </lg>
  6. Congratulations! When you have finished and your document is valid, remember to save it!

7. Other things to try or think about

If you have finished and want to try some more things you could consider the following:
  • We gave a @place of 'margin' on the <add> which was a marginal note. But we've not given a @place on all the other <add> elements.
  • We have not used the @hand attribute on additions and deletions to point to the <handNote> elements. Nor have we indicated on these which is @scope of 'major' and which is 'minor'.
  • Think about the ways in which you would display the <subst> and <choice> elements. How would you deal with displaying the nested substitutions and choices so that it was immediately evident to the reader?
  • We put the poem in a <div> element because we might put other information relating to the poem in <divs> following this. For example, a description gleaned from wikipedia. Feel free to do this if you like!
  • This kind of transcription makes numerous compromises to represent the marks made on the manuscript. The workshop on Genetic Editing looks at even more sophisticated methods to record such details, which are currently under consideration for inclusion in a future release of the TEI Guidelines. These proposals for Genetic Editing are available in your booklet if you wish to read them.


TEI@Oxford. Date: 2010-07
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