Primary vs. secondary characters

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Primary vs. secondary characters

Elisa Beshero-Bondar
Dear TEI list,
A student project team here at Pitt-Greensburg is working on encoding a pile of fan-contributed scripts for the animated TV series Rick and Morty, which I hear is a pretty amazing show that I ought to have been watching these past few years. More to the point of my post, my students are working on analyzing the characters as they interact with one another in the script, and they'll be extracting information from their markup via XQuery to help them visualize a social network of "primary" vs. "secondary" characters (by which they mean to indicate characters who don't take a primary leading role in an episode). Since a character who is primary in some episodes might be secondary in others, they want to mark this information up locally in their script files rather than formalize it in their separate personography listing. 

We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:

<sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>

The team decided they wanted an attribute on the speaker element here to indicate the "level" of speaker--primary or secondary. They also decided they'd only want to use it the first time that speaker is mentioned in the script. They really wanted to use @level for this, for which of course the TEI has no precedent. (We use @level on <title> elements to indicate levels of publication, but I don't know of any other uses of it.) My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it? 

We decided to customize the <sp> and <persName> elements to give them an optional attribute @level, and give it a closed value list fitting their project, but I think I'm committing a heresy in so doing (@level was never intended for this). I've been skimming through the elements and classes associated with teidata.enumerated  a little uncertain of what's best. We thought of @role, but that seemed too specialized, and really what the team wants is a way to differentiate levels in a hierarchy of importance. I'm curious to hear some recommendations, and I'll pass them along to the project team!

Thanks,
Elisa

--
Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail:[hidden email]
Development site: http://newtfire.org
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Martin Mueller

Without giving this much thought, I’m inclined to think that there will be quite a few cases where in a given scene or work two characters are equal. Hamlet clearly dominates Hamlet, but Iago has a few more words than Othello. In the Comedy of Errors it is not without interest that Adriana dominates the word count—very much unlike here Plautine precursor.

 

You can measure ‘presence’ in terms of words spoken or pictures seen, this game is not like elections, where you have to declare a winner.  So you might want to rethink the rules of this game in terms of a spectrum that range from primary to multilateral.  Whether this can be encoded with tolerable consistency is another question.

 

From: "TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list" <[hidden email]> on behalf of Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]>
Reply-To: Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 7:56 PM
To: "TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Primary vs. secondary characters

 

A student project team here at Pitt-Greensburg is working on encoding a pile of fan-contributed scripts for the animated TV series Rick and Morty, which I hear is a pretty amazing show that I ought to have been watching these past few years. More to the point of my post, my students are working on analyzing the characters as they interact with one another in the script, and they'll be extracting information from their markup via XQuery to help them visualize a social network of "primary" vs. "secondary" characters (by which they mean to indicate characters who don't take a primary leading role in an episode). Since a character who is primary in some episodes might be secondary in others, they want to mark this information up locally in their script files rather than formalize it in their separate personography listing. 

 

We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:

 

<sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>

 

The team decided they wanted an attribute on the speaker element here to indicate the "level" of speaker--primary or secondary. They also decided they'd only want to use it the first time that speaker is mentioned in the script. They really wanted to use @level for this, for which of course the TEI has no precedent. (We use @level on <title> elements to indicate levels of publication, but I don't know of any other uses of it.) My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it? 

 

We decided to customize the <sp> and <persName> elements to give them an optional attribute @level, and give it a closed value list fitting their project, but I think I'm committing a heresy in so doing (@level was never intended for this). I've been skimming through the elements and classes associated with teidata.enumerated  a little uncertain of what's best. We thought of @role, but that seemed too specialized, and really what the team wants is a way to differentiate levels in a hierarchy of importance. I'm curious to hear some recommendations, and I'll pass them along to the project team!

 

Thanks,

Elisa

 

--

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail:
[hidden email]
Development site: 
http://newtfire.org

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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Stuart A. Yeates
Does this actually need to be encoded manually? If you're already encoding the speaker of each word/<p>, you can go though after the fact and calculate how many words each person said in each episode. From that you should be able to calculate the relative prominence of each relatively straight-forwardly...

cheers
stuart
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Martin Mueller


That's been my experience with capturing the number of speeches and spoken words in several hundred early modern plays. It's a very primitive measure, but it's easy to calculate, and it works surprisingly well.. But if the resulting numbers are very close, "primary" and "secondary" cease to be useful categories.

 

 

From: "Stuart A. Yeates" <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:42 PM
To: Martin Mueller <[hidden email]>
Cc: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

 

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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Elisa Beshero-Bondar
Dear Stuart and Martin,
We're somewhere in between both of your positions. Multiple characters might be considered "primary", and multiple might be considered "secondary" in a given TV episode. (When the team wishes to encode that value only once it is for each character in the episode. They're simply not using a castlist on each episode. Multiple characters might be seen as equivalently "primary" as in, sharing the spotlight.) Could this be calculated by string-length of speech? Sure, but this could miss some characters in the animation who are important in a primary way but aren't speaking much, or appearing only in the stage directions. There are some complexities to the Rick and Morty show that involve characters enhancing themselves across dimensions (in which the screen is split, or so the students tell me) and the same character speaks in different parallel universes in a state of divided persona that they are deeming a third value of @level: "dimensional". I'm not questioning it. But this seems useful data for them to be able to extract, and I think the distinction between a dimensional vs. a primary or secondary level may be a matter of human interpretation rather than calculation in this instance. 

Of course I can suggest the string-length querying to them, since it may be useful for them to determine who speaks the most, and which characters turn up to be the most spoken about (a standard sort of DH question for performance texts, narratives, and other sorts of writings to do with the social interactions). Even so, they may want to process the texts to make such a calculation and still output something of the results of such queries in an attribute, and my question stands, whether the adaptation of @level to this purpose seems heretical, and whether there are perhaps better ways I may have missed.

It strikes me in writing this out that this sort of encoding is beyond the pale of standard values and interchangeability, and that perhaps defining a custom attribute may be the best path. 

Cheers,
Elisa


On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:48 PM, Martin Mueller <[hidden email]> wrote:


That's been my experience with capturing the number of speeches and spoken words in several hundred early modern plays. It's a very primitive measure, but it's easy to calculate, and it works surprisingly well.. But if the resulting numbers are very close, "primary" and "secondary" cease to be useful categories.

 

 

From: "Stuart A. Yeates" <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:42 PM
To: Martin Mueller <[hidden email]>
Cc: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

 




--
Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail:[hidden email]
Development site: http://newtfire.org
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Lou Burnard-6
Q1: Is primariness or secondariness (let's call it primacy) a property of a speaker, of the way a speaker is indicated, or of a speech?
A : you say that a character can be primary in one scene and secondary in another. So it is not a property of the speaker but of the speech. Does the way the speaker is indicated in the source indicate their primacy? My guess is not, so if you want to indicate it by an attribute, that attribute belongs to the <sp> element, not the <speaker>

Q2: Is primacy something you can automatically calculate (e.g. by word count, or by counting who else is on stage at the time)? If so it may not be necessary to encode it at all. I suspect this isn't the case however. If it involves human judgment and analysis,  you have the usual gallimaufry of TEI analytic mechanisms at your disposal: predefine possible values in a <category> and use @ana to point to them would be my choice but ymmv : you could add a child <desc> to the <sp> in your ODD and put all sorts of prose hoo hah into it. You could use (argh) @type on <sp> with or without a predefined list of values. You could invent your own attribute, as you suggest (but I wouldn't recommend @level for this purpose)

socratically yours

Lou


On 16/03/18 02:59, Elisa Beshero-Bondar wrote:
Dear Stuart and Martin,
We're somewhere in between both of your positions. Multiple characters might be considered "primary", and multiple might be considered "secondary" in a given TV episode. (When the team wishes to encode that value only once it is for each character in the episode. They're simply not using a castlist on each episode. Multiple characters might be seen as equivalently "primary" as in, sharing the spotlight.) Could this be calculated by string-length of speech? Sure, but this could miss some characters in the animation who are important in a primary way but aren't speaking much, or appearing only in the stage directions. There are some complexities to the Rick and Morty show that involve characters enhancing themselves across dimensions (in which the screen is split, or so the students tell me) and the same character speaks in different parallel universes in a state of divided persona that they are deeming a third value of @level: "dimensional". I'm not questioning it. But this seems useful data for them to be able to extract, and I think the distinction between a dimensional vs. a primary or secondary level may be a matter of human interpretation rather than calculation in this instance. 

Of course I can suggest the string-length querying to them, since it may be useful for them to determine who speaks the most, and which characters turn up to be the most spoken about (a standard sort of DH question for performance texts, narratives, and other sorts of writings to do with the social interactions). Even so, they may want to process the texts to make such a calculation and still output something of the results of such queries in an attribute, and my question stands, whether the adaptation of @level to this purpose seems heretical, and whether there are perhaps better ways I may have missed.

It strikes me in writing this out that this sort of encoding is beyond the pale of standard values and interchangeability, and that perhaps defining a custom attribute may be the best path. 

Cheers,
Elisa


On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:48 PM, Martin Mueller <[hidden email]> wrote:


That's been my experience with capturing the number of speeches and spoken words in several hundred early modern plays. It's a very primitive measure, but it's easy to calculate, and it works surprisingly well.. But if the resulting numbers are very close, "primary" and "secondary" cease to be useful categories.

 

 

From: "Stuart A. Yeates" <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:42 PM
To: Martin Mueller <[hidden email]>
Cc: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

 




--
Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail:[hidden email]
Development site: http://newtfire.org


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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Ondine LeBlanc
In reply to this post by Elisa Beshero-Bondar

Random thought: would how much a character is spoken *about* in a given episode have bearing on that character’s status?

 

I’m thinking, for example, of one of my recent Netflix binges: the first season of Jessica Jones. The villain barely appears in the first several episodes, certainly has very few lines if at all, but he is the subject of much if not most of the discussion among other characters.

 

From: TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Elisa Beshero-Bondar
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:59 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

 

Dear Stuart and Martin,

We're somewhere in between both of your positions. Multiple characters might be considered "primary", and multiple might be considered "secondary" in a given TV episode. (When the team wishes to encode that value only once it is for each character in the episode. They're simply not using a castlist on each episode. Multiple characters might be seen as equivalently "primary" as in, sharing the spotlight.) Could this be calculated by string-length of speech? Sure, but this could miss some characters in the animation who are important in a primary way but aren't speaking much, or appearing only in the stage directions. There are some complexities to the Rick and Morty show that involve characters enhancing themselves across dimensions (in which the screen is split, or so the students tell me) and the same character speaks in different parallel universes in a state of divided persona that they are deeming a third value of @level: "dimensional". I'm not questioning it. But this seems useful data for them to be able to extract, and I think the distinction between a dimensional vs. a primary or secondary level may be a matter of human interpretation rather than calculation in this instance. 

 

Of course I can suggest the string-length querying to them, since it may be useful for them to determine who speaks the most, and which characters turn up to be the most spoken about (a standard sort of DH question for performance texts, narratives, and other sorts of writings to do with the social interactions). Even so, they may want to process the texts to make such a calculation and still output something of the results of such queries in an attribute, and my question stands, whether the adaptation of @level to this purpose seems heretical, and whether there are perhaps better ways I may have missed.

 

It strikes me in writing this out that this sort of encoding is beyond the pale of standard values and interchangeability, and that perhaps defining a custom attribute may be the best path. 

 

Cheers,

Elisa

 

 

On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:48 PM, Martin Mueller <[hidden email]> wrote:


That's been my experience with capturing the number of speeches and spoken words in several hundred early modern plays. It's a very primitive measure, but it's easy to calculate, and it works surprisingly well.. But if the resulting numbers are very close, "primary" and "secondary" cease to be useful categories.

 

 

From: "Stuart A. Yeates" <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:42 PM
To: Martin Mueller <[hidden email]>
Cc: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

 



 

--

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail:[hidden email]
Development site: 
http://newtfire.org

--
Yankees in the West is on display at the MHS Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM through 6 April, 2018. More information is available at www.masshist.org..

Ondine LeBlanc, Worthington C. Ford Editor of Publications
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-646-0524, Fax: 617-859-0074
Email: [hidden email]
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
In reply to this post by Elisa Beshero-Bondar
> On Mar 15, 2018, at 6:56 PM, Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> ...
> We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:
>
> <sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>
>
> ... My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it?

The answers so far seem focused not on how to encode the analysis you
describe, but on commenting on that analysis, suggesting ways to make
it better, asking whether it makes sense in the first place, and
wondering whether you could do without it.  So perhaps there is room
for a response that tries to answer the question as asked.

As you describe it, the primary/secondary distinction is not a
property of characters per se but of a character in an episode, or
equivalently of (character, episode) pairs.  (For that reason,
encoding it as an attribute on the first speaker element for the
character, or on the first speech element for that character, feels
wrong-headed to me: it is not a property of that particular speech, or
that particular speaker attribution, as opposed to others.  But the
mechanism you describe does achieve the goal of ensuring that the
information is encoded once for each (character, episode) pair.  Full
marks to your students for seeing that necessity.)

One natural place to encode information about a character in a
particular script is in the cast list.  The project’s decision not to
include cast lists thus makes this problem look harder than it needs
to be; if that decision is not firmly grounded, perhaps it could be
revisited.

Another natural place would be particDesc.

A third place, which will feel natural to some observers and probably
not to others, would be in a separate free-standing document, which
one could regard as offering a kind of stand-off annotation.  (Those
with experience in relational modeling will recognize an analogy to
the relational tables used to model n:m relations among entities.)

And of course you could also add a structure to the personography
entry for each character specifying (a) which episodes the character
appears in and (b) their prominence in the episode.

I hope this helps.


********************************************
C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Black Mesa Technologies LLC
[hidden email]
http://www.blackmesatech.com
********************************************
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Martin Mueller
This makes a lot of sense to me and squares with an experience that may be relative to Elisa's project. Remembering dimly from my schoolboy years in Germany that Schiller said somewhere that there were only two dozen (or so) dramatic situations I had a group of students in a summer internship crate  a taxonomy of properties and behaviours in Early Modern plays. The idea was to create "dynamic cast lists"--something along the lines of Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.  This was priority 3 on some grant where we barely finished priority 3, and nothing has come of it so far.  On the plus side, the students enjoyed the work, were quite good at it, and learned something from it.



On 3/16/18, 12:15 PM, "TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list on behalf of C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <[hidden email] on behalf of [hidden email]> wrote:

    > On Mar 15, 2018, at 6:56 PM, Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]> wrote:
    >
    > ...
    > We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:
    >
    > <sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>
    >
    > ... My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it?
   
    The answers so far seem focused not on how to encode the analysis you
    describe, but on commenting on that analysis, suggesting ways to make
    it better, asking whether it makes sense in the first place, and
    wondering whether you could do without it.  So perhaps there is room
    for a response that tries to answer the question as asked.
   
    As you describe it, the primary/secondary distinction is not a
    property of characters per se but of a character in an episode, or
    equivalently of (character, episode) pairs.  (For that reason,
    encoding it as an attribute on the first speaker element for the
    character, or on the first speech element for that character, feels
    wrong-headed to me: it is not a property of that particular speech, or
    that particular speaker attribution, as opposed to others.  But the
    mechanism you describe does achieve the goal of ensuring that the
    information is encoded once for each (character, episode) pair.  Full
    marks to your students for seeing that necessity.)
   
    One natural place to encode information about a character in a
    particular script is in the cast list.  The project’s decision not to
    include cast lists thus makes this problem look harder than it needs
    to be; if that decision is not firmly grounded, perhaps it could be
    revisited.
   
    Another natural place would be particDesc.
   
    A third place, which will feel natural to some observers and probably
    not to others, would be in a separate free-standing document, which
    one could regard as offering a kind of stand-off annotation.  (Those
    with experience in relational modeling will recognize an analogy to
    the relational tables used to model n:m relations among entities.)
   
    And of course you could also add a structure to the personography
    entry for each character specifying (a) which episodes the character
    appears in and (b) their prominence in the episode.
   
    I hope this helps.
   
   
    ********************************************
    C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
    Black Mesa Technologies LLC
    [hidden email]
    https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.blackmesatech.com&d=DwIFaQ&c=yHlS04HhBraes5BQ9ueu5zKhE7rtNXt_d012z2PA6ws&r=rG8zxOdssqSzDRz4x1GLlmLOW60xyVXydxwnJZpkxbk&m=paWhEk0P2Ut3LpFF6xSYCe8CACZSoClpfmOX7L4fyYU&s=HINoY1oscw8P-Aod1rbn3CX6G-f6RfwOXoSSnpkcU6s&e=
    ********************************************
   

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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Piotr Bański
In reply to this post by C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Hello all,

This is mostly a re-hash of the thread with minimal extras.

It appears to me that the implicit model here has, minimally, a domain
(e.g., an episode) and a set of characters with some kind of
"prominence" feature, which is active either within the domain, or which
holds of domain+character pairings. The entire thread suggests to me
that a more universal approach would involve a hierarchy of domains (an
episode consists of interactions, and "prominence" may change between
one and the other, and there may be flashbacks to episodes/interactions
with their own "prominence" values that nevertheless do not affect the
prominence at the level of the entire episode).

(I'm sure I would be inclined to pick on, if not to gnaw at, the
definitions of "primary" vs. "secondary", so I'm conveniently putting
that aside and using Michael's "prominence".)

In terms of serialization, this could be done by taking Lou's idea to
encode the primaries and secondaries in attributes with multiple pointer
values within the serialization of each potential domain, where relevant
or applicable. This could extend to what Ondine has remarked on, namely
to situations in which you want to point outside the current cast. If a
new class of such two attributes would be too much to ask for, some of
Michael's proposals would offer a ready alternative (an extension of the
cast list to also mention the "absent ones" could probably be disputed,
but both the particDesc and standoff approaches would I think handle
that easily). I have to say, though, that I am not sure how Michael's
suggestion would handle the relative hierarchy of prominence... in the
sense that I mentioned above, where you have flashbacks or
scenes/interactions with different prominence that do not affect the
current episode's overall prominence structure -- that might be
difficult to express in the particDesc.

I've tried to push this towards generality, but I HTH in this particular
case as well.

Best wishes,

    Piotr


On 03/16/18 18:15, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen wrote:

>> On Mar 15, 2018, at 6:56 PM, Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> ...
>> We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:
>>
>> <sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>
>>
>> ... My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it?
> The answers so far seem focused not on how to encode the analysis you
> describe, but on commenting on that analysis, suggesting ways to make
> it better, asking whether it makes sense in the first place, and
> wondering whether you could do without it.  So perhaps there is room
> for a response that tries to answer the question as asked.
>
> As you describe it, the primary/secondary distinction is not a
> property of characters per se but of a character in an episode, or
> equivalently of (character, episode) pairs.  (For that reason,
> encoding it as an attribute on the first speaker element for the
> character, or on the first speech element for that character, feels
> wrong-headed to me: it is not a property of that particular speech, or
> that particular speaker attribution, as opposed to others.  But the
> mechanism you describe does achieve the goal of ensuring that the
> information is encoded once for each (character, episode) pair.  Full
> marks to your students for seeing that necessity.)
>
> One natural place to encode information about a character in a
> particular script is in the cast list.  The project’s decision not to
> include cast lists thus makes this problem look harder than it needs
> to be; if that decision is not firmly grounded, perhaps it could be
> revisited.
>
> Another natural place would be particDesc.
>
> A third place, which will feel natural to some observers and probably
> not to others, would be in a separate free-standing document, which
> one could regard as offering a kind of stand-off annotation.  (Those
> with experience in relational modeling will recognize an analogy to
> the relational tables used to model n:m relations among entities.)
>
> And of course you could also add a structure to the personography
> entry for each character specifying (a) which episodes the character
> appears in and (b) their prominence in the episode.
>
> I hope this helps.
>
>
> ********************************************
> C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
> Black Mesa Technologies LLC
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Re: Primary vs. secondary characters

Mylonas, Elli
In reply to this post by Martin Mueller
I had a similar question recently -  a class marking up poems in which they wanted to record information about people - we decided on particDesc as well. 

--elli

[Sent from my phone, please excuse typos or autocorrect]

On Mar 16, 2018 1:29 PM, "Martin Mueller" <[hidden email]> wrote:
This makes a lot of sense to me and squares with an experience that may be relative to Elisa's project. Remembering dimly from my schoolboy years in Germany that Schiller said somewhere that there were only two dozen (or so) dramatic situations I had a group of students in a summer internship crate  a taxonomy of properties and behaviours in Early Modern plays. The idea was to create "dynamic cast lists"--something along the lines of Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.  This was priority 3 on some grant where we barely finished priority 3, and nothing has come of it so far.  On the plus side, the students enjoyed the work, were quite good at it, and learned something from it.



On 3/16/18, 12:15 PM, "TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list on behalf of C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <[hidden email] on behalf of [hidden email]> wrote:

    > On Mar 15, 2018, at 6:56 PM, Elisa Beshero-Bondar <[hidden email]> wrote:
    >
    > ...
    > We were working on the ODD schema for their project today, and I was finding myself stumped to determine the best way to indicate that a given character in a script is primary or secondary. Their files do not begin with a cast list, but instead are simply encoded thus:
    >
    > <sp who="#speakerID"><speaker>name</speaker><p>talking here.</p></sp>
    >
    > ... My student (who's a pretty sharp Lit major) asked, "Surely people who code TEI projects have some way of indicating primary vs. secondary characters?" and my answer was, "Hmmm. I'm not sure...I wonder if other people I know do that?" So I'm turning to the list to inquire--if any of you have encoded literary projects in TEI (say of plays, novels, verse narratives, etc) with interpretive markup to distinguish primary vs. secondary characters, and if so, how you've done it?

    The answers so far seem focused not on how to encode the analysis you
    describe, but on commenting on that analysis, suggesting ways to make
    it better, asking whether it makes sense in the first place, and
    wondering whether you could do without it.  So perhaps there is room
    for a response that tries to answer the question as asked.

    As you describe it, the primary/secondary distinction is not a
    property of characters per se but of a character in an episode, or
    equivalently of (character, episode) pairs.  (For that reason,
    encoding it as an attribute on the first speaker element for the
    character, or on the first speech element for that character, feels
    wrong-headed to me: it is not a property of that particular speech, or
    that particular speaker attribution, as opposed to others.  But the
    mechanism you describe does achieve the goal of ensuring that the
    information is encoded once for each (character, episode) pair.  Full
    marks to your students for seeing that necessity.)

    One natural place to encode information about a character in a
    particular script is in the cast list.  The project’s decision not to
    include cast lists thus makes this problem look harder than it needs
    to be; if that decision is not firmly grounded, perhaps it could be
    revisited.

    Another natural place would be particDesc.

    A third place, which will feel natural to some observers and probably
    not to others, would be in a separate free-standing document, which
    one could regard as offering a kind of stand-off annotation.  (Those
    with experience in relational modeling will recognize an analogy to
    the relational tables used to model n:m relations among entities.)

    And of course you could also add a structure to the personography
    entry for each character specifying (a) which episodes the character
    appears in and (b) their prominence in the episode.

    I hope this helps.


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