BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

Aggregated blogs on Romantic Studies – please click through to read full posts.

The Problem of Metamarks

By harper1387

This semester we’re looking at some of the unique features of the Bake marginalia, and some of the challenges of representing them accurately with TEI elements. One element we’re considering is . But what exactly is a metamark?

This is how it’s described on the main website, which is frequently repeated elsewhere online:

contains or describes any kind of graphic or written signal within a document the function of which is to determine how it should be read rather than forming part of the actual content of the document.

Note the extreme ambiguity of this description, e.g. about what the ‘it’ actually means. The metamark is a graphic or signal which is supposed to determine how it should be read — ‘it’, meaning of course not the metamark but the document, in which you find the metamark. Not that this brief description gives any indication as to what limits or bounds that ‘document’ or what kind of scope it has for telling the reader how this document (the paragraph, the page, the chapter?) should be read.

And what are we to make of the comment that this mark is not ‘part of the actual content’? Consider what kind of graphics we’re talking about …read more