The TEI@Galway – Towards A Digital
Scholarly Community in Ireland


The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Council held its 2008 meeting in Galway, hosted by the Moore Institute of the National University of Ireland, Galway. The invitation to the TEI to meet in Galway arose from the recognition that a significant number of Digital Humanities projects had emerged in Ireland in recent years. It also recognised that in spite of this there had been few opportunities for Irish researchers to meet and learn from each other’s digital experiences, or to benefit from the presence and advice of international experts and organisations like the wider TEI community. The Galway TEI meeting thus provided an occasion for a symposium on the emergence of a digital humanities community on Ireland – an event we called TEI@Galway. The symposium was attended by members of the TEI Council, as well as various scholars active in digital scholarship in Ireland and elsewhere (see programme appended to this introduction).


This issue of the Jahrbuch für Computerphilologie is based on the papers and discussions that arose on that day. Some of the papers delivered at the symposium are not represented here, while some of the articles below are re-workings of the original presentations. All of the essays collected here, however, fulfil the original intention of the TEI@Galway meeting; that is, to bring together scholars from Ireland and abroad to present and discuss their experience as TEI users.


Susan Schreibman is the founding director of the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) in Dublin. Her keynote talk »The Text Encoding Initiative. An Interchange Format Once Again« was the starting point for the symposium, and her contribution might be seen as striking the keystone for this volume: after all, the term ›interchange‹ denotes not only a technical issue for TEI users, but also encapsulates the ideal activity of the Digital Humanities community – that is, the sharing and exchange of knowledge and experience among researchers and teams from different projects and different institutions.


Justin Tonra’s electronic edition of the 19th-century Irish poet and songwriter Thomas Moore is an example of one of the new Irish digital projects. In his essay »Textual Studies and the TEI: Encoding Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh«, he discusses practical and theoretical decisions a scholar has to undertake in creating a genetic hypermedia edition. He employs his own work on Moore’s book-length poem (published in 1817) and illustrates his encoding practice based on the TEI Guidelines as well as aspects of visualisation of complex genetic relations. Tonra’s research programme, the Thomas Moore Hypermedia Archive, is one of the major Digital Humanities research initiatives underway at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway.


Tim McLoughlin’s project is another one. As a Research Fellow in the Transfer of Expertise in Technologies of Editing (TEXTE) programme, a EU-funded research initiative at NUI Galway, McLoughlin’s task is to create a scholarly digital edition of the correspondence of the Irish painter James Barry (1741–1806). His contribution »Bridging the Gap« gives a personal insight into the challenges, problems and – to a certain extent – the frustration that a scholar encounters while using TEI-based encoding and digital methods for the first time.


As a colleague in the same research programme, Malte Rehbein replies to this thoughtful discourse on the difficulties of »bridging the gap«, moving away from paper-based editing towards digital work. In »The Transition from Classical to Digital Thinking: Reflections on Tim McLoughlin, James Barry and Collaborative Work«, he describes the working practice within the interdisciplinary Galway TEXTE programme and his own experience on collaborative work – shared between a »classical« editor and a »digital born« scholar.


Three papers in this volume are contributed by members of the TEI Technical Council. Laurent Romary’s »Questions and Answers for TEI Newcomers« might be regarded as an answer of a different kind to McLoughlin’s concerns about the steep learning curve of digital editing. Employing several case studies, Romary gives not only an overview over the basic principles of the TEI but also an illustrative report on the collaboration within the international TEI community, and advice on how this can assist the newcomer to get started with his or her own work.


Two further essays – Elena Pierazzo’s »Editorial Teamwork in a Digital Environment: The Edition of the Correspondence of Giacomo Puccini« and James Cumming’s »The William Godwin’s Diaries Project: Customising and Transforming TEI P5 XML for Project Work« – can be regarded as complementary to each other. Pierazzo, on the one hand, continues the discussion on collaborative work in a large-scale scholarly project such as the edition of Puccini’s correspondence. She emphasizes aspects of project management, workflow and teamwork in an international research enterprise with scholars not only scattered all over Europe, but with quite different technological and editorial experiences on different levels. Pierazzo also discusses theoretical and practical issues that arise from the design of the Puccini project as a hybrid edition (print and digital).


Cummings, on the other hand, describes a complex, large-scale project of a similar kind but focuses his report on technical aspects. He gives an overview of the use of new TEI P5 features and advanced XSLT2 processing and analyses the setup of some fundamental elements of the Godwin editorial framework: the ODD schema and the prosopographic encoding. Cummings picks up aspects of collaborative work, too, and rounds off Romary’s introduction for newcomers by introducing TEI training.


That Ireland already is a host for a broad variety of digital projects is clearly demonstrated by Pádraic Moran in his report on »Irish Glossaries and other Digital Resources for Early Irish Studies«. Beginning with the long-running Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT) project, he gives an overview of key resources for early Irish studies and discusses the impact of their availability on research, their advantages in comparison with printed resources and outlines what is needed in the future.


Franz Fischer, Fellow at the Royal Irish Academy, presents one such project in greater detail. »The Pluralistic Approach – The First Scholarly Edition of William of Auxerre’s Treatise on Liturgy« is a contribution from two points of view: it describes technical issues and encoding challenges of a digital edition based on the TEI Guidelines, as well as embedding his pluralistic approach in a wider discussion on textual and editorial theory in the digital framework.


The An Foras Feasa institute at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth has emerged as another major Irish Digital Humanities research centre. One of their recently-completed projects is the »Digital Edition of a Spanish 18th-Century Account Book« which is discussed in a two-part paper here. In »Part 1 – User Driven Digitisation«, inter-disciplinary co-authors John Keating, Aja Teehan, Damien Gallagher and Thomas O’Connor give an in-depth insight into the digitisation process of this 18th-century manuscript. Apart from its technical description, this contribution also discusses the design principles employed by the project from the point of view of user and usage, interestingly following on from the earlier discussion between McLoughlin and Rehbein. »Part 2 – Formalisation and Encoding« is a more practical contribution. Here, Aja Teehan and John Keating outline their innovative approach from a software engineering perspective, analyse encoding requirements and production workflow, and justifying their decision to use their own customised XML schema. As a salutary reminder of the limits as well as utility of the TEI Guidelines, their discussion of the reasons why the TEI might not be suitable to encode certain kinds of function-based document is a thought conclusion to this volume.


»TEI@Galway« Conference Programme (2 April 2008)


09:30 Welcome


Nicholas Canny (Director of the Moore Institute, Galway)


09:35 Keynote speech


Susan Schreibman (Director of the Digital Humanities Observatory, Dublin)


10:15 Session »TEI based editions« (Chair: Arianna Ciula, London)


James Cummings (Oxford), »The Godwin project«


Franz Fischer (Köln), »The pluralistic approach – William of Auxerre’s treatise on liturgy«


Elena Pierazzo (London), »Editorial teamwork in a digital environment: the edition of the correspondence of Giacomo Puccini«


12:00 Workshop »Getting started with the TEI«


Lou Burnard (Oxford), »TEI: What it is and Where it’s Been«


Laurent Romary (Berlin), »How to start with the TEI«


12:30 Session »Thoughts on TEI« (Chair: Elena Pierazzo, London)


Paul Caton (Galway), »TEI projects and Common Knowledge«


Federico Meschini (Leicester), »TEI and Scholarly Editions«


John Walsh, Michelle Dalmau (Indiana), »Document-Centric Framework for Navigating Texts Online«


14:15 Workshop »Going on with the TEI«


Sebastian Rahtz (Oxford), »The TEI P5 milestone«


Peter Boot (The Hague), »Linking the transcription to the digitised manuscript«


Tone Merete Bruvik (Bergen), »Overlapping structures in P5«


15:00 Session »Irish TEI projects« (Chair: Francesca Benatti, Galway)


Pádraic Moran (Cambridge), »Digital methodologies for early Irish glossaries«


Justin Tonra (Galway), »Encoding Lalla Rookh: The Thomas Moore Hypermedia Archive«


Beatrix Färber, Peter Flynn (Cork), »Encoding for life, the universe, and everything: some experiences of the CELT project with the TEI«


16:45 Concluding Round Table discussion (Moderation: Sean Ryder, Galway)