Neil and I were apart of the Editorial Staff regarding TEI markup standards and revision. Our goal was to refine the markup in a way that focused on the clarity, consistency, and effectiveness of the tags themselves. For example, we found a limited use of the tag <roleName> surrounding terms like “Capt” or “Gen”. However, when it transferred to the extract file, it did not include the context of whom it was referring to, and it was not used consistently throughout the journal, therefore it proved to be neither clear nor consistent so we dropped its use. Instead, we kept the role titles within the <persName> tag. Yet, even so, we still found variation in spelling of certain names as well as a general ambiguity as to who each person referenced was. Therefore, we collected all the extract data under the tag persName, organized it, and researched civil war records to determine whom Linn was referring to. Then, we created TEI ID tags, such as #CGS for Captain George Shorkley, to include more information like birth, death, full name, and position on the names that were most referenced. This helped us find true spelling for names as well as provide a clearer and more in-depth understanding of the context Linn was writing about.
Going through the text further, we found insufficient use of tags like <name type=”event”>, used to describe weather or meals, and the <trait> tag, so we decided to remove them given their inconsistency and general inapplicability to the rest of our project. We also decided to add a tag that we saw wasn’t being used, <orgName>, to describe army groups or other organizations, which otherwise were mislabeled under <persName>.
We found the need to add specificity to certain tags as well, such as what we did with the TEI ID tags, but instead using “n” within the tag. For example, to specify certain places, like Roanoke, we used <placeName n=”Roanoke Island”> to clarify. Also, we decided to add use of n=”pers” and n=”weather” under the <state> tag, to clarify between the descriptions of emotional or descriptive state, and the state of the weather. Finally, for objects, we used <objectType n=“boat”> to indicate which were ships or boats.
Individually, after we made a decision of our overall goal and set the TEI standards, we split up the work accordingly. Neil would individually revise the TEI markup detail throughout the document, while I wrote the statement explaining our decisions and goal as the staff. Then I took the data from the persName extract to determine the identities and correct spelling of those mentioned using Civil War databases, and then I created and defined the TEI ID tags that Neil then applied to the document. Together we discussed whether certain terms should be included under certain tags and we each double checked spelling and formatting of the document when we finished.
This is a screenshot of the excel sheet that I used to organize all the data I collected of each identity from different Civil War databases.
After determining which of the names were used most frequently, I created and defined TEI IDs for each, including information like their title, full name, birth, and death.
I found this project to be a culminating experience, where the whole class worked together to finalize not only a topic that has been the focus of a large portion of this semester, but also by having each of us use skills learned throughout the semester. My favorite part, however, was knowing that all of our work will go toward something larger than the class itself, a unique history that hasn’t been touched by any other institution but ourselves. This unparalleled history is the key feature of this project and I am so grateful to be apart of the process.