Digital Editing and the Medieval Manuscript Roll

Markup Conventions

University of Pennsylvania, 30 – 31st March 2018


These are the markup conventions for MS Roll 1563, decided by the editorial team.




  • Damage: Damages description should go in the catalogue so it is still searchable. Zones that are unclear in the transcription should be marked <unclear></unclear>. You can specify the reason and certainty (high/medium/low) as an attribute-value pair.
    • Example:<unclear reason=”illegible” cert=”high”></unclear>

If part of the text is too damaged to read but a transcription that has been supplied, it should be marked <supplied></supplied> and given the relevant attribute-value pair for source, either “Catalogue” or “highResImage”. Other damage should be described in the catalogue.

  • Example: <damage><supplied source=”highResImage”></supplied></damage>.


  • Language: Latin and Middle English will be specified in the catalogue entry. Additionally, each time the language changes between Middle English and Latin within the transcription, we will use the self-closing tag <shift xml:lang=”enm”/> with an attribute value of either Middle English (“enm”) or Latin (“la”).
    • For Middle English, this will look like:  <shift xml:lang=”enm”/>
    • For Latin, this will look like: <shift xml:lang=”la”/>
    • Remember that this is a self-closing tag! 


  • Decoration(s): Highlights such as initials, colors etc. should be marked <hi></hi>. Colors should be specified with the attribute-value pair rend=”color” and height using n=”heightinlinesofcapital”. Pen work and its lenght should go in the catalogue to avoid the nesting problem.
    • Example: <hi rend=”red” n=”3″></hi> for a red capital three lines high


  • Breaks: Membrane breaks should be marked using the self-closing tag <milestone/> at the beginning of the column/membrane, with two attribute-value pairs (the first one indicating the type and the second indicating the number of the section that is ending). The <note></note> tag should be used to specify that the membrane break crosses through a line of text.
    • Example: <milestone type=”membrane” n=”1″ /> <note type=”material”> line of text crossing the membrane break</note> <lb/>

Line breaks should be marked using the self-closing tag <lb/>.


Sections: Every separate section of the text should be marked as <div></div>. Each div will have a unique XML identifier attribute “xml:id” with the values yourname1, yourname2, etc. Smaller sections within each <div></div> should be marked using the anonymous block tag <ab></ab> (and not paragraph). Line breaks should be marked using the self-closing tag <lb/>. You can add attribute-value pairs to the anonymous block. We will differentiate prose and verse. Do not have text outside of an <ab></ab> within a <div></div>.

  • Example: <div xml:id=”alex1″><ab type =”verse”>text</ab></div>

<div xml:id=”alex2″><ab type=”prose”>text</ab></div>

  • We will not markup ligatures, however this will be specified in the catalogue where the script is described.


  • Reference: References such as proper names outside the Trinity should be marked with the referencing string tag <rs type=”name”></rs>. Names should be regularized using <choice></choice> with a differentiation between the original and the regularized name.
    • Example: <rs type=”name”>Gina</rs>
    • <rs type=”name”>


  • Content: the different sections of the text should be specified in the catalogue.


  • Transcription: Abbreviations should be marked <ex></ex> around the actual letters you add. (We will not use <choice></choice>)
    • Example: celor<ex>um</ex>

Tironian notes: tironian et should be marked with an & this way: &amp; (in the editorial process, it will be changed back to the tironian et with the Unicode, to preserve the original decision).




To link your section to the <facsimile>, you need to complete two steps:

Step 1: Surface and Zone

add a <zone> next to the <surface> tag inside <facsimile> up between your <TEIHeader> closing and the opening <text> tag.

Make sure to include coordinates in your surface tag. Example: <surface ulx=”0″ uly=”0″ lrx=”3232″ lry=”4152″ xml:id=”first”> (If you are working on the first fragment your xml:id will be “first” If you are working on the second fragment your xml:id will be “second”).

Give your <zone> a unique xml:id following this formula: “[yourname]1Zone”



ulx=”1200″ ← this is the upper left X pixel

uly=”5220″ ← this is the upper left Y pixel

lrx=”1950″ ← this is the lower right X pixel

lry=”5880″> ← this is the lower right Y pixel


GIMP will handily give you pixel coordinates where you hover your cursor. Zoom in for more accuracy.

Step 2: Link

add a <link/> underneath your <div> in the <text> part of the document. Note that this is a closed tag.  Use hashtags to link the <div> of the text/image and its <zone> in the facsimile.

Example : <link target=”#Anya1 #Anya1Zone” />

And you’re done linking your <div> to your zone!


Pixel numbers for our image:

<surface type=”dorse”