The WWP uses the element <mcr> (“meaningful change in rendition”, which was created by the WWP and largely replaces our use of <rs>) to encode words and phrases which fulfill all of the following criteria:
--the entire word or phrase is renditionally distinct (using italics, all caps, or small caps, but not initial capitalization)
--their renditional distinction is “meaningful”, in the sense that it is neither a printer’s error (e.g. wrong-font letters) nor a merely decorative shift (e.g. shifts in capitalization and italicization from line to line on title pages)
--they cannot be encoded with any more specific element (e.g. <name> and its kin, <mentioned>, <emph>, etc.)
The range of use for this element is thus fairly broad, since it can cover the words and phrases which seem vaguely emphatic (owing to their rendition) but which don’t strictly speaking seem to require <emph>. <emph> should still be used for words and phrases which are clearly italicized *because* they are given a rhetorical emphasis, but in cases of doubt <mcr> is never incorrect.
Similarly, <mcr> can be used for all the italicized nouns and adjectives (and, less commonly, other parts of speech) which appear in early texts. Unlike <rs>, which it replaces, <mcr> is not solely for nouns and noun phrases; it can be used for any word or phrase regardless of part of speech. However, where a more specific element (<persName>, <name>, etc.) is appropriate, it shouldalways be used in preference to <mcr>.