Correspondence Encoding Guidelines

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A note on the guidelines

The encoding practices detailed here are intended to correspond with the editorial practices outlined in Correspondence: Statement of Editorial Policy.

Introduction to the WWA Encoding Guidelines

Whitman_Encoding_Guidelines#Introduction

Characteristics of every WWA xml file

Whitman_Encoding_Guidelines#Global

Template and sample files

Below is a template for all xml files for the correspondence. You can also download the template in xml here.

Several sample files are available also available:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
    <!DOCTYPE TEI.2 PUBLIC "-//UVA::IATH//DTD whitman.dtd (Whitman Archive)//EN" "whitman.dtd">
    <TEI.2 id="loc.00563" type="doc"> 
    <teiHeader>
    <fileDesc>
    <titleStmt>
    <title level="m" type="main">Letter from Thayer & Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 7 March 1860</title> 
    <title level="m" type="sub">a machine readable transcription</title>
    <author>Thayer & Eldridge</author> 
    <editor>Ted Genoways</editor> 
    <respStmt>
    <resp>Transcription and encoding</resp>
    <name>The Walt Whitman Archive Staff</name>
    </respStmt>
    <sponsor>Center for Digital Research in the Humanities</sponsor>
    <sponsor>University of Iowa</sponsor>
    <sponsor>University of Nebraska-Lincoln</sponsor>
    <funder>The National Endowment for the Humanities</funder>
    <funder>The United States Department of Education</funder>
    </titleStmt>
    <editionStmt>
    <edition>
    <date>2008</date>
    </edition>
    </editionStmt>
    <publicationStmt>
    <idno>loc.00563</idno>
    <distributor>The Walt Whitman Archive</distributor>
    <address>
    <addrLine>Center for Digital Research in the Humanities</addrLine>
    <addrLine>319 Love Library</addrLine>
    <addrLine>University of Nebraska-Lincoln</addrLine>
    <addrLine>P.O. Box 884100</addrLine>
    <addrLine>Lincoln, NE 68588-4100</addrLine>
    <addrLine>kprice@unlnotes.unl.edu</addrLine>
    <addrLine>Ed-Folsom@uiowa.edu</addrLine>
    <addrLine>bbarney2@unlnotes.unl.edu</addrLine>
    </address>
    <availability><p>Copyright © 2008 by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, all rights reserved. Items in the Archive may be shared in accordance with the Fair  
    Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium, requires express written consent from the editors and advance notification
    of the publisher, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. Permission to reproduce the graphic images in this archive has been granted by the owners of the originals for
    this publication only.</p>
    </availability>
    </publicationStmt>
    <sourceDesc>
    <bibl>
    <title>Letter manuscript from Thayer & Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 7 March 1860</title> 
    <note type="project">The manuscript of this letter, dated <date value="1860-03-07">March 7, 1860</date>, is held in the Feinberg Collection at the Library of Congress.</note> 
    </bibl>
    </sourceDesc>
    </fileDesc>
    <profileDesc>
    <particDesc>
    <person role="sender">
    <persName key="Thayer and Eldridge">Thayer and Eldridge</persName>
    </person>
    <person role="recipient">
    <persName key="Whitman, Walt">Walt Whitman</persName>
    </person>
    </particDesc>
    </profileDesc>
    <revisionDesc>
    <change>
    <date>2008-07-21</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Liz Lorang</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>updated TEI header</item>
    </change>
    <change>
    <date>2008-04-01</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Kathryn Kruger</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>checked and proofed</item>
    </change>
    <change>
    <date>2007-06-05</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Nick Krauter</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>Transcribed, Encoded</item>
    </change>
    </revisionDesc>
    </teiHeader>
    <text type="letter">
    <body>
    <div1 type="letter">
    <opener> 
    <dateline> 
    <name type="place">Boston</name>
    <date value="1860-03-07">March 7, 1860</date>
    </dateline>
    <name type="person">Walt Whitman</name>
    <name type="place">Brooklyn, N.Y.</name>
    </opener>
    <p>Dear Sir  When we wrote you last week that our Mr. Thayer would be in NYork on Saturday and see you, he was in another section of Country and
    anticipated being in York without fail on the day we stated, on his way home, but circumstances have prevented his coming that way at all.</p>
    <p>We would therefore say that we will agree to give you the amount you wish per week for four or five weeks, and shall expect to see you at our place on
    Monday or Tuesday of next week, when we shall be able to attend to your work & put it through</p>
    <closer rend="right">
    <salute>Yours Truly</salute>
    <signed>Thayer & Eldridge</signed>
    </closer>
    </div1>
    </body>
    </text>
    </TEI.2>

Adding and revising annotations/footnotes to correspondence files

There are three steps to adding or revising editorial notes in correspondence files:

  • adding the encoding for the footnote referent in the body of the letter transcription
  • adding the encoding and the content of the editorial note to the document
  • updating the revision description in the TEI header to reflect the changes made to the document

Within each of these steps are a number of sub-steps, which are outlined below.

The two fundamental tags for adding and encoding footnotes are <ref /> and <note>. Both tags also carry several attributes, which provide more information about each <ref /> and each <note>. Every instance of <ref /> and <note> should include an id, target, and n attribute. <note> also has two additional attributes, type and resp.


Step 1: adding the encoding for the referent (superscript numeral, asterisk, etc.) that appears in the text as an indication of a footnote or endnote

If you are working with a letter and want to add a footnote on Pfaffs for the following sentence

       I called in at Pfaffs two evenings in succession but did not find you on hand.

you would first add the encoding for the indication of the footnote at the end of the sentence and then create the text of the footnote at the end of the document (step 2).

For the above example, the addition of the <ref /> tag, with its various attributes looks like this:

        I called in at Pfaffs two evenings in succession but did not find you on hand.<ref target="n1" id="r1" n="1" />

<ref /> is a self-closing, or empty, tag, which means that it does not contain any content (there is no text between the opening tag and the closing tag). On <ref />,

  • the target attribute and its value (in this example, the value is "n1") indicates the relationship of the <ref /> to a particular <note>. Here, target="n1" is shorthand for "The target note of this ref has an id of 'n1.'" We are able to match up the value of a <ref />'s target with a note that has a corresponding id, which creates the link (both hyper and intellectual) between the <ref /> and <note>. The value of target will almost always be unique throughout a document, but it is not required to be. The duplication of a value for target would indicate that more than one <ref /> points to the same <note>.
  • the id attribute and its value assigns a unique id to the <ref />. The value of id must be unique throughout a document. For <ref />s, the value of id should begin with an "r," as in the above example, id="r1."
  • the n attribute and its value associates a number with the note. In its most casual usage, the value of "n" indicates the footnote number and can be used for display purposes. The value of n will almost always be unique throughout the <ref />s, but the value of n will get repeated in the <note>s. (More below.)

The encoding of a second referent in the same letter, for the sentence, "Write to me as soon as you can make it convenient. Care of Man- Ex Co. 140 Chamber St., New York," would look like the following:

        Write to me as soon as you can make it convenient. Care of Man- Ex Co. 140 Chamber St., New York.<ref target="n2" id="r2" n="2" />

In most cases, the values of target, id, and n should line up nicely so that, as in the above examples, all values in ex. 1 include a 1 and all values in ex. 2 include a 2.

Step 2: adding the encoding of, as well as the content of, the editorial notes/footnotes.

Editorial notes get encoded as back matter in the correspondence files. At the point that you are adding footnotes, most correspondence xml files will not yet have a section for back matter. You will need to add the encoding for back matter before you add the text and encoding of the notes. If there is no encoding in the file for back matter, the end of the file will look something like this

     . . . .Your affectionate son</p>
    <closer rend="right"><signed>Walt.</signed></closer>
    </div1>
    </body>
    </text>
    </TEI.2>


To accommodate back matter, you must add the <back></back> set of tags after </body>. In addition, within <back></back>, you will add <div1 type="notes">:

    . . . . Your affectionate sone</p>
    <closer rend="right"><signed>Walt.</signed></closer>
    </div1>
    </body>
    <back>
    <div1 type="notes">
    </div1>
    </back>
    </text>
    </TEI.2>


You will then add the encoding and the content of the notes within the <div1 type="notes"></div1> tags:

    . . . . Your affectionate sone</p>
    <closer rend="right"><signed>Walt.</signed></closer>
    </div1>
    </body>
    <back>
    <div1 type="notes">
    <note type="editorial" target="r1" id="n1" n="1" resp="wwa">Pfaff's [rest of the content of the note].</note>
    <note type="editorial" target="r2" id="n2" n="2" resp="wwa">140 Chamber street [rest of the content of the note].</note>
    </div1>
    </back>
    </text>
    </TEI.2>

As with <ref />, each <note> requires several attributes:

  • the type attribute and its value identifies the kind of note. For footnotes in the correspondence, all will have the value "editorial." In other circumstances, the value of type can be "authorial" or "project."
  • the target attribute and its value (in this example, the value is "r1") indicates the relationship of the <note> to a particular <ref />. Here, target="r1" is shorthand for "The target ref of this note has an id of "r1." We are able to match up the value of a <note>'s target with a <ref /> that has a corresponding id, which creates the link (both hyper and intellectual) between the <note> and <ref />. The value of target will almost always be unique throughout a document, but it is not required to be. The duplication of a value for target would indicate that more than one <note> points to the same <ref />.
  • the id attribute and its value assigns a unique id to the <note>. The value of id must be unique throughout a document. For <note>s, the value of id should begin with an "n," as in the above examples, id="n1" and id="n2."
  • the n attribute and its value associates a number with the note. In its most casual usage, the value of "n" indicates the footnote number and can be used for display purposes. The value of "n" for each note should be different, and the value should correspond to the value of "n" on the corresponding <ref />, for example: <ref target="n1" id="r1" n="1" /> and <note type="editorial" target="r1" id="n1" n="1"></note>.
  • the resp attribute and its value identifies the author of the note's content. The value may be "wwa," indicating that the note has been authored by the Whitman Archive (as in the above example); the last name of the editor of the print volume, in the case of notes taken from a print volume where the Archive has not made any changes to the content of the note; or "revised" if the Whitman Archive has revised the note from a print volume of correspondence, the value of "resp" is "revised."


Step 3: updating the revision description

It is also necessary to update the revision description or <revisionDesc> in the TEI header any time you modify a file. That means any time you add or revise an editorial note for the correspondence, you must update the revision description. The revision description in the header should like something like this:

    <revisionDesc>
    <change>
    <date>2008-07-21</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Liz Lorang</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>updated TEI header</item>
    </change>
    <change>
    <date>2008-04-01</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Kathryn Kruger</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>checked and proofed</item>
    </change>
    <change>
    <date>2007-06-05</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>Nick Krauter</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>Transcribed, Encoded</item>
    </change>
    </revisionDesc>

Immediately following <revisionDesc> tag, insert the following:

    <change>
    <date>[date change made to the file]</date>
    <respStmt>
    <name>[your name]</name>
    </respStmt>
    <item>[brief summary of changes made to the file]</item>
    </change>

Replace the brackets and bracketed text with the relevant information.


Formatting and style of footnotes to correspondence

The suggested stylistic and format changes for the text of the footnotes, which are based on the encoding practices for the Miller correspondence, include:

  • updating the bibliographic information on multi-volume works such as Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden to reflect the current state of affairs ("4 vols." was changed to "9 vols." and the span of years was updated, too)
  • replacing Roman numerals (e.g. numbers of journal issues) with Arabic numbers to reflect current conventions of citation
  • replacing the comma separating volume numbers and page numbers with a colon (e.g. "Correspondence, 1:37" instead of "Correspondence, 1, 37") to avoid making it look as though both numbers referred to pages
  • where Miller's footnotes say "see 17" as a cross-reference to another letter, inserting a link to the corresponding letter if we are displaying it (e.g. "see Whitman’s letter from 1 October 1861"), and just a reference to the title of the letter in quotation marks if it is outside of our scope (e.g. "Letter from Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 5 May 1867," (Correspondence, 1: 327-329).)


The changes to the "About the Text" section are limited to:

  • commenting out the bibliographic record of when and where the individual letter was reprinted in the “About the Text” section (e.g. "Complete Text: .... ")


Another problem that we have encountered, which is due to the fact that we pulled the text for the letters from the Miller volume from the Primary Source Media CD Rom, is that there is often a full bibliographic record included automatically whenever the names of Horace Traubel, Gay Wilson Allen, etc. are mentioned in the footnotes.

For example: "After Walt Whitman handed the draft of this letter to Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906-1996), 9 vols., on May 7, 1888, the latter wrote: 'I read the letter. I must have shown I was much moved. W. said gently: 'I see that you understand it. Well, I understand it, too. I know what you feel in reading it because I know what I felt in writing it. When such emotions are honest they are easily passed along.' I asked W.: 'Do you go back to those days?' 'I do not need to. I have never left them. They are here, now, while we are talking together—real, terrible, beautiful days!' ' (I, 115)."

So far, we have simply moved "With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906-1996), 9 vols." to the end of the quote, in front of the volume and page number indicated in parentheses.