TEI 2017 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada November 11 - 15

XML Tues Nov 14, 14:10–15:30

TEI/XML Methodological Examination on Unit Conversion not Based on the Metric System (poster)

Naoki Kokaze* Naoki Kokaze is a second-year ,Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo, specializing in modern British history. He is interested in international relations among East Asia, and British naval and diplomatic strategy. He also conducts research on digital humanities, especially focusing on text encoding of historical sources with the National Museum of Japanese History, digitizing Engi-shiki, a Japanese ancient administrative source from the tenth century., Kiyonori Nagasaki* Kiyonori Nagasaki, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Digital Humanities in Tokyo. His main research interest is in the development of digital frameworks for collaboration in Buddhist studies. He is also engaging in an investigation into the significance of digital methodology in Humanities and in the promotion of DH activities in Japan. He has been participating in a number of Digital Humanities projects conducted at several institutions in Japan and abroad, such as the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, the National Diet Library, the National Museum of Ethnology, the National Institute of Japanese Language and Linguistics, the University of Tsukuba, and the University of Hamburg. His activities also include postgraduate education in DH at the University of Tokyo, as well as administrative tasks at several scholarly societies including the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies., Makoto Goto* Makoto Goto, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the National Museum of Japanese History. His research interests are primarily Japanese ancient history and digital humanities research. Recently, he conducted a study, wherein data from many ancient Japanese documents were organically combined to create a knowledge database, including the Shoso-in document. He served as the Chair of the Special Interest Group of Computers and Humanities under the auspices of the Information Processing Society of Japan from 2009 to 2010., Yuta Hashimoto* Yuta Hashimoto, is an Assistant Professor at the National Museum of Japanese History, National Institutes for the Humanities. He majored in history of mathematics and mathematics education before entering the doctoral course, and focusing his research on digital humanities. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Literature, but has also worked as an IT engineer for a while, hence his interest in computer programming. He especially works with Ruby and JavaScript (CoffeeScript), and occasionally with Java, Python, EmacsLisp, etc., Masahiro Shimoda* Masahiro Shimoda, Ph.D., is a Professor and Director of Digital Humanities Initiative, at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Department of Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies/ Digital Humanities Initiative/ Center for Evolving Humanities. He specializes in the history of formation of the Buddhist scriptures, which elucidates the production and passing down process of the scriptures of the traditional Indian Buddhism. In particular, he mainly focuses on the development process of early Buddhism into Mahayana Buddhism, from the viewpoint of thought and social history. Regarding education, as the head of the Center for evolving Humanities, established in 2013, he introduces an overview of the “Digital Humanities” (http://dh.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/) to serve as a core subject, contributing to the education of University of Tokyo., and A. Charles Muller* A. Charles Muller, Ph.D., is a Professor, The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Center for Evolving Humanities. He specializes in Korean Buddhism and East Asian Yogâcāra, having published numerous books and articles on these topics. He is one of the earliest and most prolific developers of online research resources for the field of Buddhist Studies, being the founder and managing editor of the online Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, the CJKV-English Dictionary (www.acmuller.net), and the H-Buddhism Scholars Information Network, along with having digitized and published numerous reference works.

1This presentation deals with a TEI/XML technical problem that occurred in the process of text markup, as part of the collaborative research project with the National Museum of Japanese History. The object of the markup is an ancient Japanese ancient historical source called Engi-shiki (Torao, 1995), which was compiled as an administrative manual in the tenth century. When it comes to marking up the Engi-shiki, we apply the methodology “Transactionography,” first developed by Kathryn Tomasek and Syd Bauman (Tomasek and Bauman, 2013).
2The technical problem is the quantity attribute in the measure element.
3In the current default schema, we can only use numbers based on metric notation when storing the value of the quantity of a measure.
4However, the Engi-shiki contains many units that require complicated conversion, such as kin 斤 (equivalent to 16 ryō 両), ryō 両 (10 momme 匁 or 24 shu 銖), and momme 匁 (10 bun 分), which measured weight. Of course, it is possible to substitute the value of quantity by re-converting it to the metric system based on a certain interpretation, but then, we would be forced to store a value different from the original text data in the tag. A unit conversion based only on a certain interpretation will cause a problem that the development of discussion should be hindered, such as comparison with other possible interpretations. Also, the equivalences of these units to metric system units is approximate and subject to change during various historical periods. Therefore, in this presentation, we would like to report about the possibilities of making use of the existing attributes related to the measure element, such as @n attribute.
5It should also be useful to discuss better solutions through comparison with other markup cases involving participants. For example, historians of the British Isles cannot but deal with a similar problem when it comes to marking up currencies, such as pounds, shilling and pence. Or those tagging feet and inches would have the same problem as ours: viz., whether or not we should standardize numerical values in the original texts, based on the international equalization system which seems to have a Eurocentric bias that can make it difficult to express the original data measured in “native” units around the world.


  • Tomasek, Kathryn, and Syd Bauman. 2013. “Encoding Financial Records for Historical Research.” Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, 6. http://jtei.revues.org/895. 10.4000/jtei.895.
  • Torao, Toshiya. 1995. Engi-shiki no Kenkyū (A Study on the Engi-shiki). Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan.