Encoding the Edge: Manuscript Marginalia and the TEI

Laura Estill


<additions>, <label>, <head>, <note>: with over five hundred elements, why can’t I find the one I need? By tracing the different TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) elements and attributes available to describe and record marginalia, this paper reveals how the placement and purpose of early modern marginalia require careful consideration by digital editors. Each element that an encoder might consider using for in-text marginalia, and the customization that proscribes that use, carries different semantic weight. This essay considers the options for encoding marginalia using TEI, details practices of existing projects, and then turns to manuscripts written by Archbishop William Sancroft (1617-1693) as test cases. Ultimately, encoding marginalia is a data-modeling question that asks us to rethink the nature and function of our texts and paratexts, questioning where one ends and the other begins.

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