TEI: Scholarly Publishing SIG

Kenneth Reed29 June 2009David R. SewelleditedTEI – The Text Encoding Initiative

Born digital

Created document based on K Reed’s SIG proposal.


The TEI Special Interest Group on Scholarly Publishing, approved and created in June 2009, focuses on the use of TEI in original scholarly publication, as the medium of authorship and archival format from which print, Web, ebook, and other formats may be derived.

Convener: The convener of the SIG is Daniel O’Donnell of the University of Lethbridge.

Wiki: the SIG maintains a Wiki page as a resource for discussion, documentation, and ongoing work.

Email list:TEI-PUB-SIG at Brown U.


The first objective of this SIG is to establish TEI P5 as an archival format for monographs and academic trade books, as well as for scholarly journal articles. This would entail exploring a specific customization or possibly a set of customizations that could be used for book and journal publishing, and will look to TEI Tite or another customization to fit this role. The use of a single source archival XML file would not only fulfill preservation needs but would also facilitate the creation of multiple electronic book and journal article formats, and as such would allow for publishing in any medium.

Additionally, the SIG will consider best practices for XML workflows within publishing. For example, when should TEI encoding enter the traditional publishing process: during the process of authorship and editing; directly after a book is finalized for print; or at a late stage, supplied by the typesetter or other vendor? Smaller and even medium-sized presses continue to do some in-house typesetting, and handling XML in the composition process will require attention. Best practices regarding transformations of the XML—into HTML for online presentation, into PDF files, and into electronic book formats, such as ePub, will also be investigated.

Finally, the development of Schematron rules in order to check the quality of the XML will be explored. Since the types of content being discussed are of similar structure, and since presses will be looking for some of the same problems, this process would be better suited to community-based discussion.


Many university presses and other scholarly publishers are facing the challenge of adopting XML as part of their traditional workflows, and for the most part the work is being done in isolation. Since the obstacles are fairly common across the board, a community-driven approach is the ideal way for presses to face these problems and to develop solutions.

Adopting a standard customization following the model of TEI Tite would level the playing field for all the participating presses, and allow for other workflow issues to be discussed within the same context. Many presses have not yet chosen an XML schema for an XML-based workflow, and the simple creation of this SIG would allow a space for them to witness progress among their peers and would hopefully increase the adoption rate of TEI as the scholarly publishing schema of choice.


The SIG will concentrate its acitivites on developing best practices around the adoption of a TEI-based XML workflow. Some of these best practices will be applicable to workflows based on other XML schemas, but the primary goals will center on TEI.

The primary work objectives are listed below:

  • Adoption of a standard TEI customization or customizations
    • TEI Tite as a model?
    • Other customizations?
  • XML workflow for print publication
    • MS Word .dot style template
    • Born-TEI workflows
  • Conversions to other Formats
    • Stylesheets
    • Other tools
  • Schematron rules

The SIG held a working meeting at the 2009 members meeting and conference in Ann Arbor. The minutes are available here.