Encoding destination in correspondence

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Encoding destination in correspondence

Gretchen Gueguen
I was wondering if and how anyone working on a collection of letters has
captured information in the header about where the letter was sent?

In the collection of correspondence that I am working on the two
correspondents moved several times and significant events are tied to
their residence in these different areas. We would like to find a way to
capture this in the header so that users may search on where the letter
was sent, but are unsure of how to do so. We've looked at the new
manuscript chapter of P5 and will probably use the <origPlace> in the
<history> set to capture where the letter was written, but don't seem to
see a way to incorporate where it was sent.

Any thoughts, ideas, or examples would be most appreciated.

thanks,

Gretchen Gueguen
Digitial Collections and Research
University of Maryland

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Jarom McDonald
Have you thought about using the <provenance> element? The P5 describes
it as:

contain[ing] any descriptive or other information concerning a single
identifiable episode during the history of a manuscript or manuscript
part, after its creation but before its acquisition.

If you take "acquisition" to mean acquisition by the repository where it
is currently held, then the receipt of a letter by the recipient is
certainly part of the provenance.

Jarom McDonald
Project Manager, Dickinson Electronic Archives

Gretchen Gueguen wrote:

> I was wondering if and how anyone working on a collection of letters has
> captured information in the header about where the letter was sent?
>
> In the collection of correspondence that I am working on the two
> correspondents moved several times and significant events are tied to
> their residence in these different areas. We would like to find a way to
> capture this in the header so that users may search on where the letter
> was sent, but are unsure of how to do so. We've looked at the new
> manuscript chapter of P5 and will probably use the <origPlace> in the
> <history> set to capture where the letter was written, but don't seem to
> see a way to incorporate where it was sent.
>
> Any thoughts, ideas, or examples would be most appreciated.
>
> thanks,
>
> Gretchen Gueguen
> Digitial Collections and Research
> University of Maryland

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Daniel O'Donnell-2
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
I believe there is a modified TEI dtd for correspondence developed by
the Centrum voor teksteditie in Gent. Perhaps Edward Vanhoutte is
on-line and could say what they have done for this problem?
-dan

Jarom McDonald wrote:

> Have you thought about using the <provenance> element? The P5 describes
> it as:
>
> contain[ing] any descriptive or other information concerning a single
> identifiable episode during the history of a manuscript or manuscript
> part, after its creation but before its acquisition.
>
> If you take "acquisition" to mean acquisition by the repository where it
> is currently held, then the receipt of a letter by the recipient is
> certainly part of the provenance.
>
> Jarom McDonald
> Project Manager, Dickinson Electronic Archives
>
> Gretchen Gueguen wrote:
>
>>I was wondering if and how anyone working on a collection of letters has
>>captured information in the header about where the letter was sent?
>>
>>In the collection of correspondence that I am working on the two
>>correspondents moved several times and significant events are tied to
>>their residence in these different areas. We would like to find a way to
>>capture this in the header so that users may search on where the letter
>>was sent, but are unsure of how to do so. We've looked at the new
>>manuscript chapter of P5 and will probably use the <origPlace> in the
>><history> set to capture where the letter was written, but don't seem to
>>see a way to incorporate where it was sent.
>>
>>Any thoughts, ideas, or examples would be most appreciated.
>>
>>thanks,
>>
>>Gretchen Gueguen
>>Digitial Collections and Research
>>University of Maryland

--
Daniel Paul O'Donnell, PhD
Associate Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
Tel. (403) 329-2377
Fax. (403) 382-7191
E-mail <[hidden email]>
Home Page <http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel.odonnell/>
The Digital Medievalist Project: <http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/>

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Bert Van Elsacker
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
For their DALF-project (Digital Archive of Letters in Flanders), the
CTB developed extensive guidelines and a customized DTD (a
modification of TEI) for encoding letters. You can read all about it
at http://www.kantl.be/ctb/project/dalf/index.htm

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

ron.vandenbranden
Administrator
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
Hi,

As Don and Bert pointed out (thanks!), the DALF project has developed a
customisation of the TEI markup scheme for the encoding of
correspondence materials. At the project website
(http://www.kantl.be/ctb/project/dalf/index.htm), you can find
* a customised DTD:
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/project/dalf/dalfdoc/DTDfiles.html
* accompanying documentation: http://www.kantl.be/ctb/project/dalf/index.htm

A major part of this modification involved the extension of the TEI
header with elements for letter-specific metadata. The most important
ones are:

* <letIdentifier>: information concerning the identification of the
letter within its holding institution (country, settlement, repository,
collection, identification number)
* <letHeading>: a structured description of bibliographical information
of a letter (author(s), addressee(s), place, date of writing)
* <physDesc>: a description of the physical appearance of the letter
(formal typology, dimensions, materials used, aspects of layout)
* <envOcc>: occurrence of envelope

... with further header provisions for detailed records of the contents,
history, subdivisions and additional information, and text elements for
the encoding of letter-specific textual phenomena (postscript, print
fragments, calculations,...).

Your specific problem could be addressed in the DALF model using the
<placeLet> element inside <letHeading>
(http://www.kantl.be/ctb/project/dalf/dalfdoc/DALFheader.html#letHeading).

Ron

--
Ron Van den Branden
Wetenschappelijk attaché
Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie (CTB)
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde (KANTL)
Koningstraat 18 / b-9000 Gent / Belgium
e-mail : [hidden email]
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/staff/ron.htm

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Edward Vanhoutte-3
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
For the DALF project which was mentioned by Dan & Bert, we made a
modification of and extension to the TEI guidelines in order to let us
encode large corpora of correspondence material in a precise way. For the
documentation of the letter in the header, we added the <letDesc> element
that is added to the standard TEI <sourceDesc> element. It is a mandatory
element in DALF that groups together all letter-specific metadata for a DALF
document such as:

- <letIdentifier>: Contains information concerning the identification of the
letter within its holding institution.
- <letHeading>: Contains a structured description of bibliographical
information of a letter.
- <physDesc>: Contains a description of the physical appearance of the
letter.
- <envOcc />: Contains an indication of the presence or absence of an
envelope.
- <letContents>: Contains a description of the intellectual contents of the
letter.
- <history>: Contains a description of the history of the letter.
- <additional>: Groups additional information about the letter.
- <letPart>: Contains metadata about distinct parts of a letter.
- <note>: Contains additional information about the letter that is not
covered by any other of the previous elements. This is a standard TEI
element (see http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/ref-NOTE.html).

Some of these elements are mandatory, others are optional. A minimal DALF-
header looks like:

teiHeader>
   <fileDesc>
      <titleStmt>...</titleStmt>
      <publicationStmt>...</publicationStmt>
      <sourceDesc>
         <letDesc>
            <letIdentifier>...</letIdentifier>
            <letHeading>...</letHeading>
            <physDesc>...</physDesc>
            <envOcc occ="..." />
            ...
         </letDesc>
      </sourceDesc>
   </fileDesc>
</teiHeader>

The specific question concerning the place of writing is addressed in the
<letHeading> element, which consists of following elements (in this order):

- <author>: Identifies an/the author of the letter.
- <addressee>: Identifies a/the person to whom the letter was addressed.
- <respStmt>: Identifies a person who is responsible for some aspect of the
contents. This is a standard TEI element (see http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/ref-
RESP.html).
- <placeLet>: Identifies the place where the letter was written.
- <dateLet>: Identifies the date when the letter was written.
- <note>: Contains additional remarks that are not covered by any other of
the previous elements. This is a standard TEI element (see http://www.tei-c.
org/P4X/ref-NOTE.html).

The elements <author> and <addressee> are mandatory and must occur at least
once. The <respStmt> element is optional and may as well occur more than
once. Both <dateLet> and <placeLet> are mandatory, and must occur exactly
once.

The following example shows a minimal letter identifier for a letter written
by Streuvels to De Meyer in Ingooigem on 13 January 1941:

<letHeading>
   <author>Stijn Streuvels</author>
   <addressee>Maurice De Meyer</addressee>
   <placeLet>Ingooigem</placeLet>
   <dateLet>1945-01-13</dateLet>
</letHeading>

The DALF guidelines for the description and encoding of modern
correspondence material Version 1.0, together with the DTD's, some tools and
on-line publications are freely accessible from <http://www.kantl.be/ctb/
project/dalf/index.htm>.

Best,

Edward

================
Edward Vanhoutte
Coordinator
Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie - CTB (KANTL)
Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies
Associate Editor, Literary and Linguistic Computing
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde
Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature
Koningstraat 18 / b-9000 Gent / Belgium
tel: +32 9 265 93 51 / fax: +32 9 265 93 49
[hidden email]
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/vanhoutte/
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/staff/edward.htm

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Ellen Nessheim Wiger
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
At project Henrik Ibsen's Writings we have created a new element called
<letterinfo> into which we put information about sender, recipient, place
and date:

<letterinfo>
<sender>Henrik Ibsen</sender>
<recipient>Georg Brandes</recipient>
<origDate value="1866-04-25">25. april 1866</origDate>
<origPlace>Roma</origPlace>
</letterinfo>


Best wishes,
Ellen Nessheim Wiger
Henrik Ibsen's Writings


> I was wondering if and how anyone working on a collection of letters has
captured information in the header about where the letter was sent?
>
> In the collection of correspondence that I am working on the two
correspondents moved several times and significant events are tied to
their residence in these different areas. We would like to find a way to
capture this in the header so that users may search on where the letter
was sent, but are unsure of how to do so. We've looked at the new
manuscript chapter of P5 and will probably use the <origPlace> in the
<history> set to capture where the letter was written, but don't seem to
see a way to incorporate where it was sent.
>
> Any thoughts, ideas, or examples would be most appreciated.
>
> thanks,
>
> Gretchen Gueguen
> Digitial Collections and Research
> University of Maryland
>

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

Jarom McDonald
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
In the modified DTDs which have been mentioned (the DALF project, the
Henrik Ibsen project), are there elements that specifically designate
the place the letter was *sent*? Edward mentions that the DALF project
includes a <placeLet> tag for the place where the letter is written; is
that also allowed to be used for the place where it was sent? I'm also
curious about the <addressee> tag, but didn't say if that is limited to
a name only or if a location can be included in there. The project
documentation seems to imply that it is just the person to whom the
letter is addressed. Likewise for the <recipient> tag of the Ibsen's
<letterinfo> element.

The thing that we found attractive about the <provenance> tag is that it
is not semantically (as might be considered the case with <addressee> or
<recipient>) limited to a person/people, but can instead contain a prose
description of any number of stops of a given letter. Witness our use of
the <history> element for the Dickinson Electronic Archives:

<history>
   <origin notBefore="1862" notAfter="1868">
     <p>Written at the <name reg="Homestead">Homestead</name>,
     <origPlace reg="Amherst, Massachusetts">Amherst,
Massachusetts</origPlace>, in the
     <origDate notBefore="1862" notAfter="1868">mid-1860s</origDate>.
     </p>
   </origin>
   <provenance notBefore="1862" notAfter="1868">
     <p>Sent to <name reg="Dickinson, Susan Huntington Gilbert"
type="person">Susan Huntington
     Dickinson</name>, at the <name type="place"
reg="Evergreens">Evergreens</name>, <origPlace reg="Amherst,
Massachusetts">Amherst, Massachusetts</origPlace> in the <dateRange
from="1862" to="1868">mid-1860s</dateRange>.
     </p>
   </provenance>
  . . .
</history>

Theoretically, any number of <provenance> elements could be included, if
a letter was then forwarded on, or if it was given to an individual for
delivery to another, etc.

Having said this, there is nothing about the <history> element of P5,
including the <provenance> element, which is specifically created for
marking up correspondence, and hence I wholeheartedly believe that
projects such as DALF are necessary for creating a framework for the
unique challenges that correspondences pose (even things as simple as
DALF's <envelope> element make things much, much easier in markup than
trying to stick to strict TEI).

Jarom McDonald
Project Manager, Dickinson Electronic Archives


Ellen Nessheim Wiger wrote:

> At project Henrik Ibsen's Writings we have created a new element called
> <letterinfo> into which we put information about sender, recipient, place
> and date:
>
> <letterinfo>
> <sender>Henrik Ibsen</sender>
> <recipient>Georg Brandes</recipient>
> <origDate value="1866-04-25">25. april 1866</origDate>
> <origPlace>Roma</origPlace>
> </letterinfo>
>
>
> Best wishes,
> Ellen Nessheim Wiger
> Henrik Ibsen's Writings
>
>
>
>>I was wondering if and how anyone working on a collection of letters has
>
> captured information in the header about where the letter was sent?
>
>>In the collection of correspondence that I am working on the two
>
> correspondents moved several times and significant events are tied to
> their residence in these different areas. We would like to find a way to
> capture this in the header so that users may search on where the letter
> was sent, but are unsure of how to do so. We've looked at the new
> manuscript chapter of P5 and will probably use the <origPlace> in the
> <history> set to capture where the letter was written, but don't seem to
> see a way to incorporate where it was sent.
>
>>Any thoughts, ideas, or examples would be most appreciated.
>>
>>thanks,
>>
>>Gretchen Gueguen
>>Digitial Collections and Research
>>University of Maryland
>>

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Re: Encoding destination in correspondence

ron.vandenbranden
Administrator
In reply to this post by Gretchen Gueguen
Hi Jarom,

On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:38:29 -0400, Jarom McDonald <[hidden email]> wrote:

>In the modified DTDs which have been mentioned (the DALF project, the
>Henrik Ibsen project), are there elements that specifically designate
>the place the letter was *sent*? Edward mentions that the DALF project
>includes a <placeLet> tag for the place where the letter is written; is
>that also allowed to be used for the place where it was sent?

With the DALF project, we did not envisage such a fine-grained distinction
between letter-writing and letter sending: the <placeLet> element is
normally reserved for the place of writing. Since the envelope will probably
be the place conveying particularities of postal information, the
<placeName> element inside the <postmark> on the <envelope> can be used to
transcribe it when it occurs. Alternatively, you could make use of the
optional <note> element inside <letHeading> to state the difference between
place of writing and place of sending.

>I'm also
>curious about the <addressee> tag, but didn't say if that is limited to
>a name only or if a location can be included in there. The project
>documentation seems to imply that it is just the person to whom the
>letter is addressed.

I don't agree. With the design of the <letHeading> element, we tried to
provide a means for reflecting abstractions about the communicative
situation of a letter. Especially the <author> and <addressee> elements
should identify the entities that can be identified with the communicative
roles of sender resp. recipient. No requirement for their personal status is
implied.

>Theoretically, any number of <provenance> elements could be included, if
>a letter was then forwarded on, or if it was given to an individual for
>delivery to another, etc.

That could be done in the <additional> DALF header element.

>
>Having said this, there is nothing about the <history> element of P5,
>including the <provenance> element, which is specifically created for
>marking up correspondence, and hence I wholeheartedly believe that
>projects such as DALF are necessary for creating a framework for the
>unique challenges that correspondences pose (even things as simple as
>DALF's <envelope> element make things much, much easier in markup than
>trying to stick to strict TEI).

That's wonderful! We're very happy with any input / discussion / opinions on
this matter. Ultimately, it would be great to reach a general way for the
encoding of letter-specific phenomena with TEI. For your interest, the
Sourceforge site of TEI has a feature request for letter modules in a
further incarnation of TEI:
http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=957617&group_id=106328&atid=644065

Ron

--
Ron Van den Branden
Wetenschappelijk attaché
Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie (CTB)
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde (KANTL)
Koningstraat 18 / b-9000 Gent / Belgium
e-mail : [hidden email]
http://www.kantl.be/ctb/staff/ron.htm