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TEI P4 Online and in Print

New XML Edition Of Text Encoding Guidelines Published


The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Consortium ( announces publication of a new, updated version of their Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, known as P4. The Consortium, now in its second year, is an international non-profit corporation set up to maintain and develop the TEI system, which has become the de facto standard for scholarly work with digital text since its first publication in 1994.

The launch of a fully XML-compliant version of the TEI Guidelines is a significant advance, placing the TEI firmly in the mainstream of current digital library and World Wide Web developments. The new edition has been available online for a few months, and will continue to be so, but the print edition now available from the University of Virginia Press (URL) marks a new milestone in the history of this long standing exercise in scholarly communication and international co-operation.

In simple terms, the TEI Guidelines define a language for describing how texts are constructed and propose names for their components. By defining a standard set of names the Guidelines make it possible for different computer representations of texts to be combined into vast databases, and they also provide a common language for scholars wishing to work collaboratively. There are many such standard vocabularies in the industrial world -- in banking, in aircraft maintenance, or in chemical modelling, for example. The TEI's achievement has been to try to do the same thing for textual and linguistic data -- both for those working with the written culture of the past and for those studying the development of language itself.

Membership in the TEI Consortium has climbed steadily during its first year of operation, standing at 56 members worldwide in May 2002, ranging from small university research projects to major academic libraries and institutions. The consortium offers a range of membership benefits including participation in TEI elections, special access to training, consultation on grant proposals, and free or discounted copies of the TEI Guidelines. The Consortium is actively recruiting and welcomes inquiries at

The Consortium is now planning its second annual members' meeting, to be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago on October 11 and 12, 2002. At the annual meeting members have the opportunity to learn about new developments and future plans for the TEI Guidelines, share research with other TEI members, and attend special training sessions. The annual meeting is also the venue for elections to the TEI Board of Directors, which oversees the TEI's strategic and fiscal planning, and the TEI Council, which governs the technical work of the TEI. Members attend the meeting at no charge; non-members pay a nominal fee of $US50.

Detailed information on P4 and the TEI Consortium is available from the web site at The Editors of the Guidelines are Lou Burnard (University of Oxford,, tel +44 1865 273 221) and Syd Bauman (Brown University,, +1 401 863 3835).

Notes To Editors

1. Copies of P4 may be ordered from the University of Virginia Press (or via the TEI website at at a cost of $US90. Consortium members will receive a free copy, and may order additional copies at the discounted members' price of $US60. Subscribers may also order discounted copies. Individual chapters of the Guidelines are available free of charge in PDF format to members and subscribers from the TEI web site.

2. The TEI Consortium has executive offices in Bergen, Norway, and is hosted at four university sites worldwide: the University of Bergen, Brown University, Oxford University, and the University of Virginia. The Consortium is managed by a Board of Directors, and its technical work is overseen by an elected Council. Work is typically carried out by small groups of interested experts worldwide, and there are two editors, one based in North America, and one in Europe.

3. The TEI began work in 1988, under the sponsorship of three leading professional associations in the field of literary and linguistic applications of computing, and with the aid of substantial funding from the US National Endowment for the Humanities, the European Union's Language Engineering Directorate, the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, and the Mellon Foundation.

4. With the assistance of nearly 200 technical and academic experts worldwide, the TEI has formulated recommendations for the efficient representation in computer readable form of almost every kind of textual resource, independently of language, culture, or computer system. Originally these recommendations were expressed using a computer standard called SGML; more recently, the TEI has converted to using XML, the new language of the web.

5. The TEI has had a major impact in several areas: in the development of the digital library, in the development of language engineering, and in the development of the web. Many of those responsible for the development of XML, including one of the editors of that standard, are also closely identified with the development of the TEI.

6. As digital communication becomes the norm, there is a growing need for standards which are less ephemeral than today's computer systems. By defining standards for interchange of textual data independent of today's computer systems, the TEI guarantees a future for the digital heritage we are building up all around us. Hence its slogan: "yesterday's information tomorrow".

Online source:

PR Posting:
Date:      Mon, 17 Jun 2002 14:39:00 -0400
From:      John Unsworth <jmu2m@VIRGINIA.EDU>
Subject:   TEI P4 press release

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) - XML for TEI Lite."

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