As I became familiar with TEI through the exercises (Poe and Declaration of Independence), I discovered that TEI does make the texts to be clearer to me and help me understand the subject a lot better. As a Computer Science major, I did not like reading, especially close reading. Most of the time I found close reading a big headache. However, text is a very important source for analyzing other people’s work, “we have access to a work only through its texts, which serve as the basis for our readings and interpretations (Rasmussen 122)”. The TEI markup process made the reading process a totally different experience for me. For the Poe markup assignment, as I was paying close attention to the different semantic categories of the phrases used in a text, I also got a deep understanding of the tone of the segment, which I don’t think I can gain as naturally without the usage of TEI. In my markup, I used state tags to distinguish different mood of the character as he was being tortured, and assigned different types of states (sensation, action, and also despair because of the amount of despair mood that the author used for the character). Then, I used traits tags for the adjectives that I found particularly important in understanding the threatening and bloody tone of the text. In addition, I also made markups for objects, places, person names, etc. By using TEI, I have achieved all three levels of reading as described by Rasmussen — “the level of manipulation, focused on the handling of texts and on their actual acquisition; next the level of comprehension, directed at reading as an understanding of the linguistic text itself; and finally the level of interpretation, in which connections are drawn between the text and other texts that explain it (Rasmussen 128).”
(My Poe markup assignment)
The Declaration of Independence exercise was very different, but showed a different perspective of the usage of TEI — data storing, management, and sharing. By researching adding information about a signer of Declaration of Independence, I have completed the process of collecting, storing, managing, and sharing data. My data were collected from the Wikipedia page of the person, stored in the XML file, managed by the tags around each piece of data, and shared to the rest of the class by merging on GitHub. TEI is not only a clean way to store and manage data, but also makes the sharing and collaborating process much easier.
(My Declaration of Independence exercise)
Jingya, I completely agree with you. Close reading can be very tedious, but it is such an important tool when it comes to analyzing text. I also felt like I got a deeper understanding of the tone of Poe’s piece by using TEI markup. I enjoyed doing both the Poe and Declaration of Independence assignments because it showed different perspectives of the usage of TEI, and they both proved to be incredibly helpful for different reasons. By the time I finished both assignments, I also felt like I had achieved all three levels of reading that Rasmussen discussed.