Markup Schemes

Markup Schemes

5. Other markup schemes

As its name promises, TEI is designed for encoding texts. But there might well be other things you need to mark up. Or you might not like TEI.

EAD (Encoded Archival Description) is a markup schema for encoding metadata for archives, or finding aids generally. It would be a natural choice if you were creating a catalogue to a collection of manuscripts or other objects.

A clear example of the kinds of things that can be encoded in EAD is the online calendar to the Bodleian Library’s Carte Papers – the papers of James Butler, Duke of Ormond:

 Carte Calendar screenshot

See here for full guidelines for EAD.


DocBook is an XML format for books and papers, developed for use in publishing. It has more of a commercial focus, whereas TEI is more academically-orientated. Many of the early members of the development group were computer companies or computer book publishers, so DocBook is particularly good for technical writing. We still recommend TEI, for marking up historical texts, but for information about DocBook see, for example, this site.

Most specialist humanities uses are covered by TEI. However if your work includes music then there are various encoding formats, such as MusicXML or the Music Encoding Initiative. For mathematics you could use MathML.