I enjoyed marking up texts with TEI, and I think the two assignments we had (the Poe text and the Declaration of Independence exercise) indeed demonstrated how TEI can help us with texts in different but equally strong ways.
For the Poe assignment we focused mainly in semantic mark-up, which I think is a powerful way to analyze and deconstruct the text. Since I’m an English and CH major student, I do a lot with close reading. Usually when I read a text or write an analytical paper, I will at first look for patterns and motifs that appear multiple times. My Poe text is not a conventional murder/detective/crime story, and at least in my part, there are not many exciting plots. However, it is still a classical Poe text for its dark, mysterious atmosphere. Therefore, it occurred to me that it will be great if I can find out patterns that make the text Gothic, and this is exactly something TEI can do. So, I mainly focused on the colors in the text (black, white, blood-red etc.), the emotional feelings (such as fear, aghast, agony etc.) and physical feelings (trembling, thrill, slumber etc). They are important not only due to their repeated appearances but also because that according to the narrator, there are two categories of feelings: emotional and physical. Therefore, the markup of emotions and sensations in the text echoes how Poe manipulates feelings to depict terror. In addition, there are also many words associated with death, and even the word “death” has appeared in the text for several times. I don’t know which tag should I put death into, so I temporarily left death alone. However, I marked up places like “tomb” and “grave,” and also marked up the mythological place such as “Hades.” The associations and significations around these patterns are definitely worth investigating.
The most frequent tag/label I used for Poe text is “state” and “trait” because I didn’t see many places nor characters. This particular text seems to be focused on the individual emotions and sensations, and the paragraphs are mostly descriptions of the state of the narrator. Therefore, I didn’t employ many name tags or place tags in this assignment.
On the other hand, the Declaration of Independence assignment provides a window of how TEI can contribute to (meta)data management. When I read the assignment for the first time, I immediately thought how it could be used to manage the data for my research project. For this assignment, I basically elaborated the biography and paid particular attention to his network. It will be interesting to see how he was connected to different people and how his network, potentially, affected his political stand etc. Since Edward Rutledge did not move around that often, so I didn’t pay much attention to the place, or it will be really interesting to investigate his path and events. Therefore, the tag I used/liked most in this assignment is <listRelation> which can identify different types of relations and can include different people in the relations. One thing I don’t know how to manage is to add more detailed description of the related people. For example, Edward Rutledge’s father is a colonist of Scots-Irish descents which may have direct influence over Edward Rutledge. However, I don’t know how to indicate it in my TEI code.