Epigraphs [016]


Encoding of epigraphs with either <epigraph> or <div type="epigraph"> depending on their structural location.


The WWP allows two ways of encoding epigraphs: either by using the TEI element <epigraph> or by using <div type="epigraph">. We use <epigraph> by preference, except where the epigraph is separated from the rest of the text in a way which makes it necessary to use <div> instead: for instance, where the epigraph is on a separate page preceding the main body of the text, so that it clearly should be encoded as the first <div> element within <body>.

The WWP considers an epigraph as a quotation or passage of text which is intended to illuminate, comment on, or otherwise adorn the text with which it is associated. It may be either verse, drama, or prose, and it may or may not be accompanied by a citation indicating its identity. It may appear either at the beginning or ending of a section of the document, or on a title page. The WWP differs from the TEI in allowing epigraphs to appear at the end as well as at the beginning of a section of text, because we have encountered cases of this sort in our collection.

If the text inside an epigraph is a quotation, it should be encoded with <quote> (with internal tagging as appropriate [need to specify whether internal <p> is required.]). Any bibliographical citation should be encoded with <bibl>.

If the text inside the epigraph is known for certain not to be a quotation from another source, --that is, it originates with this epigraph--then it should be encoded with <p> alone.

The epigraph should be considered part of the section which it prefaces, and the <epigraph> or <div type="epigraph"> element should thus fall within the larger element (<div>, <front>, <body>, etc.) with which it is associated.

If an epigraph is associated with a poem, it should appear within the outermost <div type="poem.xxx">, not nested inside the first interior <lg> element, since the epigraph is not part of the verse structure of the poem itself, but is part of the conceptual unit of the poem.

If an epigraph falls on a title page, it will be encoded as <epigraph> within <titleBlock>. If an epigraph occurs on a page by itself immediately before the main text of the book, or at the top of the first page of text, it should be encoded as a <div type="epigraph"> directly within <body>. If it is separated from the main text by some section of the front matter, it should be encoded within <front>. If it falls at the beginning of some <div> within <body>, it should be encoded as <epigraph> within that <div>.

To determine whether an epigraph applies to the entire text or simply to the first <div> (and hence whether it should be encoded as a separate <div> within <body> or as a <div> embedded within the first main textual division) the encoder should use clues such as whether other sections of the body also have epigraphs, and whether the epigraph falls on a page by itself or at the top of the first page of text.

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