The decisions I made while encoding my text was to decide what need specific attributes. I had to go through the entire letter and look pay close attention to what was underlined or quoted to accurately transcribe the document. I also had to remember to break up the lines and paragraphs which was tedious, but important. In addition, these decisions change depending on the type of text you encode. For example, if I had to encode a poem, that would look completely different than encoding a letter. Poems have different aspects that have to be attributed differently. Words may need to be italicized or certain sentences might look choppier than when encoding a letter. Also, encoding a novel would look completely different than both. I would imagine that encoding Only Revolutions would be an extremely different task due to the different colors occurring on the page, the upside down text, and the smaller versus larger text that would require different attribution tags than encoding a simple letter.
In addition, I found Liu’s article Ways of Reading helpful while encoding the letter. When Liu states, “Debates about the meaning and nature of text persist and have been sharpened by the anxieties, challenges, and opportunities of realizing textuality in digital forms. Some of these debates exist because it is assumed that there is a singular model of text that must necessarily form the theoretical basis of any attempts to represent and process texts in print or digital environments, and thus we argue about which model of text is most accurate, functional, reasonable, productive, or rigorous. Such dogged, even dogmatic, essentialism would be scorned in many other areas of the humanities, but its appearance in the digital humanities is surprisingly taken for granted” (3). In my opinion, Liu is stating that text can take so many different shapes and forms. We, as users, are so used to seeing a certain form of text causing anxiety. While I was using TEI, it caused me some anxiety because I was not used to seeing text in TEI form. I was unaware, until our discussion of TEI, that text could text such different forms. I also grew a deeper understanding of text forms and mediums while transcribing the letter. I believe Liu wants to do away with the narrow-minded thinking that text only come through forms of books or novels. He believes this is essentialist thinking, and I agree.
I also thought his definition of a facsimile was important to note. He states, “Facsimiles are natural expressions of a material model of text. They are most often visual and two-dimensional representations of documents…” (4). The letter was essentially a facsimile. It was interesting to actually work with a facsimile and see Liu’s definition of the facsimile come to life. I think it is important to understand Liu’s article to understand way transcribing is important. You can use it to transcribe certain documents for class or for your job. You can also use it to personalize documents, which I find fascinating.