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New Non-Profit Group To Promote Text-Encoding Standard For Online Research

March 6, 2001-- The University of Virginia and three other schools have created a new non-profit corporation to develop and sustain the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), an international, interdisciplinary standard to help libraries, museums, publishers, and scholars present literary and linguistic texts in digital form for online research and teaching.

The new TEI Consortium, which is led by U.Va., Oxford University in England, Brown University in Rhode Island and the University of Bergen, Norway, is seeking new membership participation from its user community, especially individual scholars, research libraries and scholarly publishers.

John Unsworth, chair of the group's board and director of the U.Va. Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, says electronic texts created with the TEI encoding standard can convey a wide range of content and structure, including footnotes and critical material. He added that these documents can then avoid the rapid obsolescence that software application-specific file formats often suffer.

Libraries already widely use the TEI. For example, the full-text resources in the American Memory collection of the Library of Congress conform to the standard. Consortium members include universities and colleges, research libraries, academic and other non-profit publishers and scholarly societies. They help determine the priorities and directions for the consortium’s work.

"Infrastructure requires standards, and digital infrastructure is no exception," Unsworth said. "The business of all humanities institutions is to balance preserving cultural heritage with adapting to cultural change. Standards efforts, such as the TEI, help counter the rapid evolution that characterizes information technology."

From 1987 to 2000, three scholarly societies (the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Computational Linguistics, and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing) sponsored the TEI’s work and funded it by grants from federal, private, and international sources. Unsworth said the new consortium will reduce the initiative’s reliance on grant funding and will provide formal representation for the growing community of TEI users and developers.

Full details of the opportunities for participation in the TEI Consortium and dues are available on the TEI-C Web site at http://www.tei-c.org/Consortium/memship.html. General inquiries about the consortium may be sent by email to info@tei-c.org. Inquiries specifically about membership should be sent to membership@tei-c.org.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6854

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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