SGML: HTI American Verse Project

SGML: HTI American Verse Project

Date:    Fri, 16 Feb 1996 18:59:10 -0500 (EST)
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Subject: 9.550 American Verse Project
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               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 550.
    Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
        Information at

  [1]   From:                          (55)
        Subject: UM HTI announces American Verse Project

UM HTI American Verse:

The University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative, along with the
University of Michigan Press, is proud to announce the release of a
new textual resource, the American Verse Project.  American Verse
is a growing collection of texts encoded in SGML using the TEI
Guidelines.  The collection is made accessible in SGML, dynamically
rendered HTML, and as a searchable database.  As with all of the other
Humanities Text Initiative resources, simple word and phrase searches
are supported, as well as proximity searches, and searches for verses
or paragraphs containing two or three words/phrases.  The project uses
an unusual model for rights for a project involving a university press:
no restrictions or costs are placed individual and research use of the
materials practical restrictions and cost; the texts are available
for sale to other publishers and agencies who wish to provide access to
the texts from their own system.  We will continue to expand the
collection as time and resources allow and hope to add ten more volumes
in the next month.

We are particularly interested in comments from readers of this list
on one particular feature of the collection.  In addition to the modes
of searching noted above, we have implemented a mode we have called
(pardon our audacity) TEILink.  *Based on* the extended pointer syntax
as implemented with xptr and xref (p. 406 of the Guidelines), the
mechanism takes DOC, FROM, and TO parameters, and returns the area
defined by the span between the FROM and TO in the DOC containing
a given ID.  What is especially unusual here is that we're implementing
the feature through CGI on the Web, where these parameters are
encoded in one long URL or POST block.  Despite the fact that the
roughly twenty volumes in the collection are in single file, it is
possible to point to and retrieve a single poem, stanza, line, or
range of lines.  To demonstrate this, we have included Harriet Monroe's
essay on Millay's Renascence, marking up the essay first in SGML,
and then in HTML with embedded URLs.  A brief description of the
mechanism, along with our rationale, is included in the project.  Briefly,
though, the notion is that it would be possible for us to assemble
a collection which we would guarantee would be permanent and
relatively fixed (changes would be noted in the teiHeader), and that
individuals could cite and substantiate notions using this independently
maintained collection.

A brief note about the HTI (  The HTI has
its beginnings in 1989, when the University of Michigan began working
with networked access to collections in SGML through a project called
UMLibText.  The project has pioneered mechanisms for sophisticated
access to SGML-encoded collections through the web and has assisted
many institutions with establishing these mechanisms.  Under the
auspices of the HTI, several text encoding projects are underway, including
a Middle English prose project, several editorial projects, a planning
project for the electronic Middle English Dictionary, a Mellon-funded
journal conversion project, as well as the American Verse project.  The
HTI is responsible for online collections in SGML at the University
of Michigan, and provides research and deployment support for SGML
in the University's NSF/NASA/ARPA-funded Digital Library Initiative.
In conjunction with this latter effort, the HTI is working with publishers
such as McGraw-Hill, Grolier, and Elsevier to build prototype systems
for access to reference works and journals in SGML.

John Price-Wilkin
Head, Humanities Text Initiative