[Humanist] 27.935 an Encoder Predilection Profiling Tool at WWP

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Apr 2 11:43:51 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 935.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 11:36:41 +0000
        From: "Flanders, Julia" <j.flanders at neu.edu>
        Subject: Encoder Predilection Profiling Tool now available from the Women Writers Project

Dear all,

The Women Writers Project is pleased to share a new analytical instrument which we hope will be useful to other members of the TEI community. Please try out the Encoder Predilection Profiling Tool (EPPT):


The EPPT supports an assessment of the profilee on the following four metrics:

1. Source-oriented vs data-oriented encoding tendencies

2. Normative vs. descriptive encoding tendencies

3. General-purpose vs. project-specific encoding tendencies

4. Research-driven vs. function-driven encoding tendencies

It generates an overall four-letter code that can be used to categorize individuals and locate them on a matrix of profiles. Our informal research thus far suggests that these profiles provide a valuable understanding of the deep motivations, preferences, anxieties, and drives that influence encoding decisions. For an encoding language as subtle and rich as the TEI, these factors play a much more decisive part in the encoding outcomes than would be the case in simpler languages like HTML or EAD. Understanding the different fundamental types of encoders is one important step towards a greater understanding of how text encoding operates as a representational system.

The WWP anticipates that this tool could be very helpful in screening applicants for TEI workshops, helping to ensure that applicants end up in a workshop that matches their encoder profile and also determining what pedagogical approaches, case studies, and other components will be most effective for a given set of workshop participants. One could also use the instrument to help counsel participants in developing project strategy that takes account of (and if necessary compensates for) their tendencies in a particular direction. At the WWP, we’ve also found this instrument helpful in profiling incoming WWP encoders and staff, to gauge their aptitude in particular areas of the TEI and assign them to specific work areas as appropriate.

A further analytical step that we have not yet undertaken is to characterize each individual profile in the resulting matrix, but this may be an exercise that others in the community will find appealing.

We hope that others may also find this a useful tool and we welcome feedback.

With best wishes for a happy April,


Julia Flanders
Director, Women Writers Project
Director, Digital Scholarship Group
Northeastern University

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