The Text Encoding Initiative Special Interest Group on Libraries (TEI Libraries SIG) formed in 1999 in response to a need to codify library-specific text encoding best practices based on the TEI, which grew out of a Digital Library Federation (DLF) sponsored initiative, the TEI Task Force. Since 1999, the DLF has supported the development and ongoing evolution of encoding best practices for libraries as well as TEI standards development. Members of the DLF Task Force and TEI Libraries SIG have considerable overlap and have been working to meet common goals including the creation of:

  • best practices that encourage the consistent and predictable encoding of TEI documents
  • tools for libraries to use in the creation and publication of TEI documents

More recently, in 2008, the TEI Libraries SIG and DLF TEI Task Force partnered once again to overhaul the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries (formerly known as the TEI Text Encoding in Libraries Guidelines for Best Encoding Practices). The revised Best Practices contain updated versions of the widely adopted encoding ‘levels’ – from fully automated conversion to content analysis and scholarly encoding. They also contain a substantially revised section on the TEI Header, designed to support interoperability between text collections and the use of complementary metadata schemas such as MARC and MODS.

The new Best Practices also reflect an organizational shift. Originally authored by the DLF-sponsored TEI Task Force, the current revision work is a partnership between members of the Task Force and the TEI Libraries SIG. As a result of this partnership, responsibility for the maintenance of the Best Practices and accompanying technical specifications (i.e., schemas, MARC-to-TEI Header crosswalks, etc.) will migrate under the purview of the TEI Consortium, allowing closer work with the TEI Consortium as a whole, and a stronger basis for advocating for the needs of libraries in future TEI releases.

Along with the Best Practices work of recent years, the TEI Libraries SIG is actively exploring: the relationship and intersection of other metadata standards such as MODS, METS, and MARC with the TEI; outsourcing opportunities by way of the AccessTEI program , a digitization and encoding benefit from members of the TEI Consortium; TEI migration issues; and many more issues as they are raised by the community.

To learn more about the TEI Libraries SIG, visit:

We are always looking for new SIG members and are often recruiting members to participate in various Working Group initiatives. Consider signing up for the TEILIB-L listserv or contacting the SIG conveners, Michelle Dalmau, mdalmau (at) @indiana (dot) edu and Kevin Hawkins, kevin.s.hawkins (at) ultraslavonic (dot) info, if you would like to learn more.