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

XML Mon Nov 13, 15:20–16:50

Taking Note: how to represent graphics in TEI? (paper)

Martina Scholger* Martina Scholger is a research associate at the Centre for Information Modelling – Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Graz. She studied Art History and is currently preparing her dissertation on the potential of digital editions in the analysis and reconstruction of artistic association processes. In addition to teaching data modelling, text encoding and X-technologies, her work at the centre involves the conceptual design, development and implementation of numerous cooperation projects in the field of digital humanities (see http://gams.uni-graz.at). She has been a member of the Institute for Documentology and Scholarly Editing since 2014 and a member of the TEI Technical Council since 2016.

1Notes and notebooks by artists, writers and scientists are gaining prominence in digital scholarly editing, since they offer a valuable resource to grasp “the story behind the scenes” (Radecke 2013). Especially in art history, they can be used to trace the origin, genesis and execution of artistic ideas. Artists’ notebooks frequently contain pictorial representations like sketches and diagrams (Bauer and Ernst 2010). The artist switches between writing and drawing depending on the medium better suited for expressing the desired message: Text and image enter into a dialogue and become integrated elements of the work (Pfister 1993). Whereas the TEI is well-suited for the digital representation of the notebook’s text and authorial interventions, it is less appropriate for a detailed description of graphics and their genealogy, the formalization of complex interactions of text and sketches and the recording of alternations within a graphic. Sketches comprise different layers which have to be considered separately, like the formalized description of graphical components (e.g., type of drawing, projection), the transcription and encoding of textual functions inside or related to the sketches (e.g., label, description) and the interpretational layer (e.g., relations to other notebook entries and artworks).
2P.-M. de Biasi reflected on the transmission of the text-genetic model to other fields of “intellectual or artistic production” (Biasi 1997), primarily to architecture, sculpture and performing arts. Pursuing this approach, the question arises not only of how this model can be transferred to artistic sketches, but also of how to represent the development of sketches in digital form.
3This paper will present theoretical reflections on this topic and propose a practical implementation. The strong interconnection of text and image, of pictorial and scriptural representation, will be demonstrated using the digital scholarly edition of the notebooks by the Austrian artist Hartmut Skerbisch (1945–2009) (Scholger 2015) as well as comparative examples from other notebooks.


  • Bauer, Matthias, and Christoph Ernst. 2010. Diagrammatik. Bielefeld:: transkript.
  • Biasi, Pierre-Marc de. 1997. “Horizons for genetic studies.” Word Et Image. 124–134. 10.1080/02666286.1997.10434277.
  • Pfister, Manfred. 1993. “The dialogue of text and image: Antoni Tàpies and Anselm Kiefer.” Bild Und Text Im Dialog / Hrsg, edited by Von Klaus Dirscherl. 321–343. Passau: Rothe,.
  • Radecke, G. 2013. “Notizbuch-Editionen. Zum philologischen Konzept der Genetisch-kritischen und kommentierten Hybrid-Edition von Theodor Fontanes Notizbüchern.” In editio 27 (2013): 149–172. 10.1515/editio-2013-010.
  • Scholger, Martina. 2015. “Tracing the association processes of the Artist – The artwork as a commentary.” Hartmut Skerbisch. Life and Work. Present as Present, edited by Verein der Freunde von Hartmut Skerbisch: 305–319. Wien: Verlag für moderne Kunst.