Open Scriptures logo: an open BibleOpen Scriptures

Platform for the development of open scriptural linked data and its applications. More…

Stand-off Markup in OSIS

I have been researching stand-off markup, and discussing (and discussing) on osis-users about its applicability as a normalized way in OSIS to represent scripture in a single consistent XML structure. I was initially introduced to stand-off markup by Efraim Feinstein of the Open Siddur project and then further by James Tauber (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). I just came across the following quote in TEI P5: Non-hierarchical Structures:

It has been noted that stand-off markup has several advantages over embedded annotations. In particular, it is possible to produce annotations of a text even when the source document is read-only. Furthermore, annotation files can be distributed without distributing the source text. Further advantages mentioned in the literature are that discontinuous segments of text can be combined in a single annotation, that independent parallel coders can produce independent annotations, and that different annotation files can contain different layers of information. Lastly, it has also been noted that this approach is elegant.

But there are also several drawbacks. First, new stand-off annotated layers require a separate interpretation, and the layers — although separate — depend on each other. Moreover, although all of the information of the multiple hierarchies is included, the information may be difficult to access using generic methods.

In the current OSIS schema, one structure (e.g. verse, quote, or paragraph) has to be chosen as primary, leaving the others to be represented with milestoned elements (actually, only verses can currently be chosen as primary); stand-off markup would allow overlapping hierarchies of verses, quotes, and paragraphs to all be on equal footing without having to choose one as primary. Is this good for OSIS? Please join in on the discussions at osis-users!


Comments are closed.