Best Practices for TEI in Libraries

A guide for mass digitization, automated workflows, and promotion of interoperability with XML using the TEI

Durable URLs:

Best Practices for TEI in Libraries (version 3.0, published October 2011) is the third version of a document formerly known as TEI Text Encoding in Libraries: Guidelines for Best Encoding Practices, which has been updated to comply with the Text Encoding Initiative’s Guidelines for Text Encoding and Interchange (P5). These guidelines were originally created for use in large, library-based digitization projects but are useful as a way of approaching digitization and encoding as a whole. This version of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries was created by the TEI in Libraries: Guidelines for Best Practices Working Group.

There are many different library text digitization projects, serving a variety of purposes. With this in mind, these Best Practices are meant to be as inclusive as possible by specifying five encoding levels. These levels are meant to allow for a range of practice, from wholly automated text creation and encoding, to encoding that requires expert content knowledge, analysis, and editing. The encoding levels are not strictly cumulative: while higher levels tend to build upon lower levels by including more elements, higher levels are not supersets because some elements used at lower levels are not used at higher levels—often because more specific elements replace generic elements.

The Best Practices are maintained in a set of ODD files and are constructed as a TEI customization. The ODD files allow you to produce prose documentation and schemas in various formats. These ODDs are currently stored in a GitHub repository, where ongoing revision will take place, but they might be moved into another repository with other code maintained by the TEI Consortium in the future.

Users might also be interested in Thutmose II, an XSLT stylesheet for translating MARCXML records into TEI headers according to the Best Practices.

Please use the GitHub issue tracker to submit bug reports and feature requests.

best-practices-tei-libraries at