Report of the TEI Council activities to the Members Meeting 2006


Executive summary

The TEI Council is in charge of overseeing the technical development of the TEI Guidelines. As in the past, during the current year, all energy was devoted to develop P5, slated to become the next major revision of the Guidelines. As has become the rule for a while now, the Council took on more and more tasks by itself and only a part of the work has been done by workgroups or task-forces. The Council held a very intense two-day face-to-face meeting with all its members in Kyoto, which was held in conjunction with a TEI outreach event "TEI Day in Kyoto 2006", to which Council members contributed the major portion of papers and posters.

As usual, the Council also conducted its regular business through telephone conferences, a mailing list and through an IRC channel.

The highlights of the TEI development work in the period since the previous Members meeting can be summarized as follows:
Personography Activity
A new ad hoc task force was formed under the supervision of Matthew Driscoll to extend the TEI Guidelines where necessary to allow for the description of people and there activities.
TEI Workgroups quick update
The Workgroup on Stand-Off markup, chaired by David Durand and the Joint ISO-TEI activity on Feature Structures, chaired by Kiyong Lee.completed its tasks in early 2006. The Council expressed its thanks to the chairs and members of these workgroups and is now busy integrating the results into the Guidelines.
Review of the Guidelines
In continuing the review process started last year, the Council now looked at all the chapters and elements or attributes defined therein to determine how the definition should be changed in light of the new class system.

Information about the status of P5, how to use it and much more is available at the P5 section of the TEI website.

There has been a change in membership of the Council in late April, Alejandro Bia stepped down because of other pressing duties; his place was taken over by Amit Kumar. Many thanks to Alejandro for his efforts at the TEI Council and also to Amit for his willingness to stand in in the middle of everything.

Work of the Council

This has been a particularily busy year for the council, although the main goal, that is delivering P5 version 1.0 has not been met. We do have reason to hope that with the major roadblocks out of the way, it will not take another year to meet that goal.

While the big architectural changes did place in the previous year, this year was characterized by trying to adjust the many pieces that turned up and needed attention. I will enumerate a few, but there have been a lot more, as will be obvious to anybody looking at the minutes of our meetings or even the email list archive.

John Walsh looked into how the various elements used for bibliographic data ( <bibl> , <biblFull> , <biblStruct> and <biblItem> could be streamlined to make the whole easier to understand and use.

Dot Porter and Conal Tuohy spend a lot of time to look at how a TEI text should link to a image representation of the text or portions of it, a draft of this document (which has bot been finalized) is available

There was also an intense discussion about how TEI conformance should be understood in light of the new customization mechanism, but no conclusion has been reached yet.

Another working document edited by David Birnbaum for the Council looked at what kind of guiding principles should inform the long-term strategy for further development of the TEI Guidelines, weighting the need for adoption to new developments against the need for stability. The document is now available as TCW09: Backward Compatibility and the Maintenance of the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. This is still in draft stage and comments are welcome.

Status of the Workgroups and Activities overseen by the Council

Collaboration of the TEI Council and the W3C ITS working group

Sebastian Rahtz is still actively involved with the W3C workgroup on internationalization of tag sets, which is chaired by Richard Ishida. The workgroup is using the TEI ODD system to develop the specification, with a hand-crafted ODD processor producing documentation in a format suitable to the W3C. More information at the website of the WG.

Workgroup on Physical Bibliography

The workgroup is still actively developing specifications suitable for the physical description of bibliographic items. A first working draft has been produced (available from the WG's website), but the discussion is continuing and changes to the current draft are likely.


The personography task force was charged in January 2006. In the following months, some preliminary work has been done, which was followed by a face to face meeting in late April. The first report was presented at the "TEI Day in Kyoto" and subsequently discussed by the Council. Most of the results have already been incorporated into the Guidelines, but there are some open issues, which will require another meeting to be scheduled.