Annotation editor released with new TEI Publisher 7.1.0

Answering the secret dream of many TEI users, the new TEI Publisher version 7.1.0 incorporates a — beautifully simple to use, yet powerful — way to enrich existing TEI documents. Just select a text passage, click on a button and within seconds — and without a pointy bracket in sight! — mark it as one of many supported annotation types. A place or person? Sure, and with built-in connectors for external authority files, too. Critical apparatus entries? We got you! Dates, corrections, regularizations and even quick fixes for typos in your transcription.

As usual, everything is customizable and extendable, so if you want a particular kind of annotation we do not support out of the box, it’s not difficult to add your own or tinker existing ones. Read more in the documentation.

The good news doesn’t end there: you can now use the TEI formula element with TeX notation for math. See the component’s demo page which presents some elaborate formulae or visit Publisher’s Demo collection which now sports shiny new examples: Euler’s Algebra for a wee help with your quadratic equations or The Italienische Madrigal by Alfred (not Albert!) Einstein, with musical scores encoded with MEI. It is nicely rendered with Verovio library through a dedicated pb-mei component and you can even listen to the piece to cheer up. And you can now set Publisher’s interface even to simplified or traditional Chinese.

TEI Publisher 7.1.0 is available as an application package on top of the eXist XML Database. Install it into a recent eXist (5.0.0 or newer) by going to the dashboard and selecting TEI Publisher from the package manager.

For more information refer to the documentation or visit the homepage to play around with it.

It’s not for the first time that our special thanks go to the Office of the Historian of the United States Department of State – this time for funding the major portion of the annotation editor. The Math support has been kindly funded by Bernoulli-Euler Zentrum in Basel.

Cross search

With a growing number of editions realized with the TEI Publisher it is a logical next step to wish for a search service which can run queries across multiple corpora at the same time.

Usually the problem to solve would be the great diversity of encoding across projects, even if they all use TEI as a vocabulary of choice. Even commonly represented information, like the language of the source document, can be stored in various locations in a TEI document. Lucene-based fields and facets, introduced in eXist-db 5.0 provide a mechanism to smoothly abstract away these encoding differences – we can just define, say, a language facet and it’s the collection index configuration’s role to take care of specifying where exactly to grab data from.

The next potential issue would be actually running the queries across corpora, particularly with the decentralized infrastructure where editions are hosted on diverse servers. The answer here is to define an API which individual editions need to expose, so that the aggregate search engine can just poll all its registered ‘members’, regardless of their location or how they implement the search internally.

cross-search results
Cross-search results page

The cross-search prototype is exactly such a search engine. With a simple configuration one can register all ‘member’ editions. Only requirement for the editions themselves is that they expose the api/search/document API endpoint, which is a matter of simple customization for all TEI Publisher 7 applications which support Open API specifications out of the box. The api/search/document endpoint must accept a number of parameters defined in the specification. For this prototype the title, author and lang(uage) fields as well as genre, language and corpus facets were assumed.

We are very happy to report that our prototype works really well as a proof of concept with the eclectic collection of documents from TEI Publisher demo apps, all originating with vastly different projects with diverse encoding styles. Next, we intend to extend this idea into a general portal for archives and libraries and we would welcome collaboration from such institutions.

Our sincere thanks go to the Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung des DIPF / Research Library for the History of Education at DIPF for supporting this project.