One question that we frequently get about TILE is how it relates to TEI. TEI is the Text Encoding Initiative, the de facto standard (or, more properly, a set of flexible guidelines) for humanities text encoding. The most recent version to TEI, P5, includes guidelines for incorporating images into text editions: linking the TEI document to image files representing the document (either its source or, for a TEI document containing annotations, the object of those annotations), noting specific areas of interest on the images, and linking the areas of interest to sections of the TEI document corresponding to them (either transcribed text appearing in the images, or annotations on the images).
So, how does TILE relate to TEI? Although the directors of the TILE project have long been involved with the TEI Consortium and are active users of TEI, and although the TEI community is one of the major intended audiences of TILE, TILE is not a TEI tool as such. It does not rely on TEI for its internal design and, unlike the Image Markup Tool (http://tapor.uvic.ca/~mholmes/image_markup/), which has as its output a single TEI-conformant document type, TILE is being designed to enable output in a variety of formats. Given the needs of the TILE partner projects, initially TILE will provide output in TEI (any flavour, including the EpiDoc customization), using facsimile or SVG for the image-linking mechanism, and in the IMT flavour of TEI, as well as in METS. However, when complete, TILE will be flexible enough to provide any output that can be defined using the TILE API – including output not in XML.
One result of this flexibility is that, again unlike the IMT, TILE will not be “plug and play”, and processing of the output will be the responsibility of projects using the software. This will require a bit of work on the part of users. On the other hand, as a modular set of tools, TILE will be able to be incorporated into other digital editing software suites that would otherwise have to design their own text-image linking functionality or go without. We hope that the flexibility of output makes TILE attractive for the developers of other software, and that the variety of text-linking functionality is supplies will make it equally attractive to editors and other end-users.
In a future blog post, we’ll discuss TILE functionality in detail.