For encoding the many renditionally distinct words and phrases inthe textbase, there are a number of different elements to choose from. The following rough decision tree is a guide to the criteria for making this choice. For more detail on each of the following categories, see the separate entries on each one. Note that these decisions apply only to phrase-level highlighting; if an entire chunk-level element (such as a title, an epigraph, a signature, etc.) is renditionally distinct, the rendition should be captured on that element instead.
1. Is the word or phrase a name of any sort? That is, does it provide a unique reference to some particular person, place, or thing? (See also the separate entries on different types of names.) If it is a name, encode it with one of the tags used for names (<name>, <persName>, <placeName>, <orgName>). (NOTE: we also encode names which are not renditionally distinct. See the entries on names for a full discussion.)
2. If the word or phrase is not a name, is it one of the following:
-a technical term: use <term>
-a term being used sarcastically or with ironic distance: use <socalled>
-a word mentioned but not used (“is station spelled correctly here?”): use <mentioned>
3. If the word is none of the above, is it being given rhetorical emphasis? If so, use <emph>.
4. If the word is none of the above, consider using <mcr>. This element should be used for renditionally distinct words/phrases which refer to some person, place, thing, group, or phenomenon, without using a unique reference that would justify the use of <name>, <persName>, etc. It is the broadest category listed here, and can be used almost as a last resort when there is no more specific element which seems appropriate. It is particularly useful in texts which italicize a great many nouns simply as a rhetorical tic.
5. If the word or phrase is in a foreign language, and there is no other element which can account for its renditional distinction, use <foreign>. If any other element can be used, the language should be recorded on the lang= attribute of whatever element is used.
6. If the renditional distinctness is not motivated by the meaning of the text, but by the typographical design (particularly on a display page such as a title page or advertisement), it should be encoded using <hi>. Renditional errors (such as a letter in the wrong font) should also be encoded using <hi>. The use of <hi> to encode a letter, word, or phrase indicates that the renditional highlighting of this feature is not motivated by the linguistic or rhetorical meaning of the text, but only by issues of display or by sheer accident. Thus for instance <hi> can be used to indicate renditional shifts within long names (Sir Roger de Coverley ) or on title pages.