Forme work (metawork): general

line number meta work forme work press figure catchword page number running header/footer signatures (in text collation)
fw mw

Encoding various types of forme work (including page numbers, line numbers, catchwords, press figures, signatures, and a few other features) using the mw element

The TEI treats all of the material that is associated with a page break using a single element, fw, or forme work (referring to the printer’s forme). This includes page numbers, running headers and footers, catchwords, signatures, press figures, and volume numbers printed at the bottom of the page. To distinguish among these features, the type attribute is used, with a controlled list of values representing the features of interest.

The WWP finds it useful to extend this definition slightly, to include other printed features that result directly from the constraints of the page margins and the physicality of the printed document, rather than forming part of the main flow of text. These include line and column numbers, column headings, and repeated headings for lists that arise because of page or column breaks. To distinguish this element from the TEI original, the WWP uses the element name mw (for meta work, referring to the meta-textual relationship between the main text block and these features of the page). The DTD distributed with this Guide includes this element and the suggested values for the type attribute described below.

All of these features are potentially significant to scholars who have a detailed interest in the particulars of the printed text, and specifically in the unregularized information that actually appeared on the page. However, for projects whose emphasis is on the text’s content, with only peripheral interest in things like pagination, it may be sufficient to represent the pagination and signatures in idealized form (using pb and milestone), and it may be completely unnecessary to transcribe minutiae such as catchwords or press figures. In this case, the fw element is not needed.

Note that the fw element is intended for material being transcribed from the source text, so it should not be used to encode page numbers, line numbers, or other information that is being inserted as part of the output process. These should be generated with a stylesheet.

If the forme work is of general interest, and you wish to capture it without separating it out into its individual components, you can encode the entire running header and footer using fw type="header" and fw type="footer". This encoding groups together whatever appears in those spaces—page number, chapter title, catchwords, signatures, and so forth—without distinction. If you are interested in some of the contents of the running header or footer but not others, or if you want to represent each component individually, then a more specific encoding is necessary. Each part of the forme work should be encoded as a separate fw element, with an appropriate type attribute. We list below the most common features and suggested values for the type attribute.

Page numbers: These are the numbers which indicate the sequence of pages or of leaves within the book. Most of the texts in this period have numbered pages; in some older texts, the leaf (the sheet of paper whose front and back are two separate pages) is the unit of numbering. In these cases the number will only occur on the recto of the page. Page and leaf numbers are encoded as fw type="pageNum". For most purposes, it is only important to transcribe the page number itself, not the delimiters (such as parentheses) that may surround it. If you do want to transcribe the delimiters, it is probably better to encode them as renditional information using the rend attribute on fw, rather than transcribing them directly as content, since this will allow you better control over their appearance and suppression in subsequent output.

Line numbers: These are numbers printed in the margin which indicate the running count of lines (commonly in poetry, less frequently in drama, almost never in prose). Line numbering is fairly easy to generate automatically, so if the line numbering is regular and correct it may make more sense to ignore whatever line numbering appears in the source text and simply generate it yourself if needed. However, if you do choose to transcribe it, using fw will make it easier to control its display and also to suppress it in contexts where it is not wanted: for instance, during searches. Line numbers are encoded with fw type="lineNum". See the entry on line numbers for more detail.

Catchwords: These are words printed at the bottom right corner of the page and repeat the first word of the following page. Their function is to help the binder check that the pages have been assembled in the correct order. Catchwords are encoded using fw type="catch". For more information, see the entry on catchwords.

Signatures or gathering marks: These are the letters printed at the bottom of the page which indicate the order in which the signatures should be bound together in the completed book. The printed signatures (as they appear on the page) are encoded using fw type="sig"; if you want to represent an idealized signature in standard bibliographic form (e.g. A4r) you should use the milestone element. For most purposes it is only important to transcribe the informational content of the signature, not the delimiters surrounding it. However, there are cases where the delimiter serves to distinguish one signature from another (otherwise identical) signature appearing elsewhere in the volume: for instance, A and A* may in some cases represent two different sequences of pages. See the entry on signatures for more detail.

Press figures: These are numbers or other symbols printed at the bottom of the page to identify the pressman who had printed the forme. They differ from signatures in that they do not form part of a sequence, and they typically do not include letters (to avoid confusion with signatures). They are encoded as fw type="pressFig".

Volume numbers: These are volume numbers printed at the bottom of the page, usually right near the signature or gathering mark, and almost always in the form Vol. I, etc. These are encoded with fw type="vol". They should not be confused with volume information appearing on the title page, which should be encoded with titlePart type="vol".

Headings at page or column breaks in tables and lists: These are headings which repeat the main heading for a column in a list or table, occasioned by a page or column break in the middle of the list. So for instance in a list of expenses, with headings Date, Item, and Price, if the list continues after the page break these headings will often be repeated. We recommend encoding these repeated headings with fw type="listHead", to allow them to be distinguished from the main headings for the list and to avoid having to break the list artificially at the page or column break. Each heading is encoded within a separate fw.

Chapter and book titles: The running header often contains the book title or the title of the current chapter or section; more rarely, it may contain a much more fine-grained title indicating the contents o the current page or subsection of the document. We do not recommend encoding these titles if they simply reflect the book or chapter title, since these tend to be the same on every page and are not typically of interest. If for some reason they are considered important (or if they are unique for each page), they should be encoded as fw type="title".

The WWP does not encode the book or chapter title where it appears in the running head or footer, any ornamentation appearing in the running head or footer, or delimiters surrounding page numbers, signatures, etc.