Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 33, Issue 1–2, pp 103–112 | Cite as

Textual Variation and Version Control in the TEI

  • David Smith


Projects that attempt to encode variorum texts with the Text Encoding Initiative's Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange will likely encounter situations where the text varies in its structure, as well as in its content. Although encoding textual variants at a separate level using a version control system may be attractive, the advantages in encoding text and variants in the same format are considerable. This paper proposes solutions to three problems that require more than the standard TEI textual critical elements: transposition, variation of meta-data, and insertion of incomplete structures.

SGML textual criticism versus control 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnard, D. T., L. Burnard, J.-P. Gaspart, L. A. Price, C. Sperberg-McQueen and G. B. Varile. “Hierarchical Encoding of Text: Technical Problems and SGML Solutions”. Computers and the Humanities, 29 (1995a), 211–231.Google Scholar
  2. Barnard, D. T., G. Clarke and N. Duncan. Tree-to-tree Correction for Document Trees. Technical Report 95–372, Department of Computing and Information Science, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, 1995b.Google Scholar
  3. Cederqvist, P. Version Management with CVS. Signum Support AB, CVS version 1.10 edition., 1998.Google Scholar
  4. Chawathe, S. and H. Garcia-Molina. “Meaningful Change Detection in Structured Data”. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data. Arizona: Tucson, 1997, pp. 26–37.Google Scholar
  5. Chawathe, S. S., S. Abiteboul, and J. Widom. “Representing and Querying Changes in Semistructured Data”. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Data Engineering. Los Alamitos, 1998, pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  6. Cover, R. C. and P. M. Robinson. “Encoding Textual Criticism”. Computers and the Humanities, 29, (1995), 123–136.Google Scholar
  7. Neuwirth, C. M., R. Chandhok, D. S. Kaufer, P. Erion, J. Morris and D. Miller. “Flexible Diff-ing in a Collaborative Writing System”. In Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. Toronto, Canada, 1992, pp. 147–154.Google Scholar
  8. Renear, A., E. Mylonas and D. Durand. Research in Humanities Computing 4. Chapt. Refining Our Notion of What Text Really Is: The Problem of Overlapping Hierarchies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 263–280.Google Scholar
  9. Robinson, P. The Transcription of Primary Textual Sources Using SGML. No. 6 in Office for Humanities Communication Publications. Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1994.Google Scholar
  10. Sperberg-McQueen, C. and L. Burnard. Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange. Chicago and Oxford: The Text Encoding Initiative, 1994.Google Scholar
  11. Tichy, W. F. RCS — A System for Version Control. Technical report, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Perseus ProjectTufts UniversityMedfordUSA (e-mail

Personalised recommendations