“This type of data in the header” – Encoding, (re)use and standardization of metadata in the context of TEI and MEI

Authors: Ried, Dennis / Dörner, Sophia / Gubsch, Clemens / Saccomano, Mark

Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2023, 4:15pm to 5:45pm

Location: Main Campus, L 1 <campus:stage>



In the field of digital humanities working with TEI or MEI or both a section specifically for metadata is available: the header. Metadata is a wide field but always present, however, this does not mean that metadata is always encoded. In recent years, the use of digital technologies has become more and more important in digital humanities research, e.g., by creating applications to enhance research in traditional humanities. One of the challenges in the field of digital humanities is the management of metadata. This type of data is important for organizing and interpreting digital resources. The challenges arise from the requirements and the opportunities of metadata in this context. Metadata should help to identify the resources, should be research data on a high level, could be processable (well-structured metadata) which promotes findability, reusability (e.g., analysis), or simply the identification of the resource.

The idea for this panel was born in a meeting of the MEI Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group. In monthly meetings, the group works on documentation and improvements concerning metadata in MEI. The rich structure of the MEI-Header, especially the section for source descriptions, is heavily based upon TEI but also provides support for additional information that TEI does not, for example, elements that allow representation according to the FRBR conceptual reference model. But it is not all about the differences between TEI and MEI. Regardless of any difference between the two standards, the problems we encounter concerning metadata in the digital humanities are often similar but are rarely addressed in an interdisciplinary manner.

  • Who is the expected target audience of the encoded metadata? (e.g., libraries/digital archives, data analysis, search engines)
  • Where and how could we share the metadata? (e.g., correspSearch, metadata exchange format, restAPI?)
  • Perspectives and models for sharing and integrating the different standards? (e.g., transformation MEI-metadata to TEI-metadata and vice versa)
  • What are the challenges in the creation and management of metadata?
  • Should we aim for more standardization, e.g., by providing best practice recommendations?
  • Is the creation of (more) structured metadata a desirable goal?

Metadata plays a critical role in the field of digital humanities as it facilitates organization, distribution and interpretation of digital resources. The management and standardization of metadata is essential for efficient and effective research as well as interoperability. This panel will reflect on the differences and similarities of handling metadata in the scope of TEI and MEI. Bringing together researchers from both communities is a much-needed corrective to this issue.

Structure of the panel

The panel will be an open round table introduced by short talks. The spotlight talks should initialize the discussion on certain topics. After giving additional input by the (4–5) panelists the discussion should be opened directly, so the audience can participate early. This is very important because the group of panelists is not as international as it could be and the panel will profit from perspectives and insights coming from outside.

The expected outcome of this panel is to bring together members of both the TEI and MEI communities who face the same or similar challenges in their respective domains. It is meant as an opportunity to get in contact, discuss or organize further work on this topic in an interdisciplinary context.

The following people have stated their active participation (context in brackets):

  • Margrethe Støkken Bue (MEI, Library)
  • Peter Stadler (TEI, Research Software Engeneering)
  • Magdalena Tuska/Wolfgang Meier (TEI, Research Software Engeneering)
  • Barbara Wiermann (Library)
  • Mark Saccomano (MEI)
  • Nikolaos Beer (MEI/TEI, Research Software Engeneering)

Contribution Type