XML-TEI document encoding, structuring, rendering and transformation

The vast majority of humanities research data is marked-up and stored as XML-TEI documents. We can say that TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) has become the de-facto standard technology within the digital humanities.

This workshop aims at introducing the attendees to the practical aspects of encoding XML documents marked-up according to the TEI guidelines, and then making use of these documents by applying other technolgies like Xpath, CSS, XSLT, and Xquery.

This workshop consists of a mix of talks and hands-on sessions, and the teaching approach is problem-based learning by means of exercises of increasing complexity.

It will be divided into two parts, lasting a week each, which can be taken independently.

  • Week 1: will provide a gentle basic introduction to the production of digital text documents using XML and the TEI encoding scheme. It also deals with designing and validating document structures. This is a theoretical-practical, introductory-level course.
  • Week 2: will move beyond encoding and will introduce Xpath, CSS, XSLT and XQuery. XML-TEI document rendering and transformation, deals with producing nice renderings by means of CSS stylesheets and XSLT transformations, and selecting/quering specific data using Xpath and Xquery. This is a hands-on, medium-level course.

Since its creation, TEI development has been driven by the needs of a large user community. The introduction to the features of TEI during the workshop will give participants a starting point to develop their own TEI-based projects.

Syllabus of week 1: Introduction to XML-TEI text encoding


  • Introduction
  • Ways of representing documents electronically
  • Markup basics (SGML/XML)


  • Text markup using XML and TEI
  • High level tags
  • Low level tags
  • Markup of different literary styles
  • Special-purpose tagsets


  • Controlling document structure (DTDs and Schemas)

Syllabus of week 2: XML-TEI document rendering and transformation


  • The XML family of technologies
  • Namespaces


  • CSS sylesheets applied to XML and HTML documents


  • Selecting nodes with Xpath
  • XSLT transformations
  • Visual modelling of document structures

OTHER ISSUES (if time allows)