Version 1.0 (20 May 2003)


When a Nordic network for the electronic processing of medieval manuscripts was set up in Copenhagen in June 1994, the idea of drafting a handbook on text encoding soon came up. During the early days of this network it was soon decided that XML (Extensible Markup Language) seemed to be the best supported and most flexible encoding scheme, and furthermore that the encoding should conform to the recommendations of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI P3). A text group was established, with Guðvarður Már Gunnlaugsson (Reykjavík), Odd Einar Haugen (Bergen), Karl G. Johansson (Göteborg) and Jonna Louis-Jensen (Copenhagen) as members; soon afterwards Rune Kyrkjebø (Bergen) and Matthew J. Driscoll (Copenhagen) joined the group. This network was financed by the Nordic Academy for Advanced Study (NorFA) for a period of three years.

During the period of the network's activities, 1995-1998, text encoding was discussed on a number of meetings, within the network's text group and with other people in the TEI community. Although several chapters were drafted during this period, no complete handbook was finished. Due to lack of funding after the completion of the network, the work came to a virtual standstill in 1999 and early 2000.

However, in the academic year 2000-2001 a group of scholars came together at the Centre for Advanced study in Oslo. As part of the project Editing medieval manuscripts a complete electronic handbook was published in June 2001. This was edited by Odd Einar Haugen, Rune Kyrkjebø and Karl G. Johansson and entitled Håndbok for koding av nordiske middelaldertekster. It also included contributions by Tone Merete Bruvik, Jon Gunnar Jørgensen, Jonna Louis-Jensen and Espen Ore.

A few months after the publication of this handbook, the Medieval Nordic Text Archive (Menota) was established at a meeting in Oslo, 10 September 2001. At this meeting, Matthew J. Driscoll joined the editors, and this four man strong committee began work on a revised, English version of the handbook. This handbook was intended to set up guidelines for the encoding of texts in the Medieval Nordic Text Archive, so the title The Menota handbook seemed rather obvious.

Although the major part of the handbook has been written by the four undersigned editors, and all parts of the book have been discussed at editorial meetings among the editors, some parts have been authored by other colleagues. We therefore find it appropriate to include a list of main contributors for each part of the handbook:

Ch. 1: Matthew J. Driscoll
Ch. 2: Odd Einar Haugen
Ch. 3: Odd Einar Haugen
Ch. 4: Matthew J. Driscoll and Rune Kyrkjebø
Ch. 5: Odd Einar Haugen with assistance from Rune Kyrkjebø
Ch. 6: Odd Einar Haugen with assistance from Rune Kyrkjebø
Ch. 7: Karl G. Johansson
Ch. 8: Karl G. Johansson with assistance from Odd Einar Haugen
Ch. 9: Jonna Louis-Jensen, Jon Gunnar Jørgensen and Karl G. Johansson
Ch. 10: Matthew J. Driscoll

Character list: Odd Einar Haugen
Fonts: Odd Einar Haugen
XML editors: Vemund Olstad
Document Type Definition: Espen Ore and Tone Merete Bruvik
Menota header: Rune Kyrkjebø and Odd Einar Haugen
Conversion tools: Johan Utne Poppe and Odd Einar Haugen

We have had the opportunity to discuss matters of text encoding with a large number of people over the years. It is difficult to give credit to each and everyone, and with the risk of leaving out worthy contributors, we would like to name (in alphabetical order) and thank the following:

Deborah W. Anderson (Berkely), Michael Beddow (Leeds), Lou Burnard (Oxford), Yvonne Cederholm (Göteborg), Claus Huitfeldt (Bergen), Charles Michael Sperberg-McQueen (Chicago), Christian-Emil Ore (Oslo), Peter Robinson (Leicester), Daniel Ridings (Göteborg), Manfred Thaller (Köln), and Andrea de Leeuw van Weenen (Leiden).

We are painfully aware that some names may have been left out, and would like to apologize for any omissions. It is also highly likely that more than one of our advisers may disagree with some of the recommendations in this handbook. There can, however, be no doubt that our work would have been infinitely more cumbersome and tortuous had it not been for all the help and advice we have received over these years.

This is version 1.0 of the handbook, and certainly not the last. Earlier drafts have been deleted as soon as new drafts have been published on the server. From version 1.0, however, we intend to archive each version, so that users may refer to any version of the handbook.


Matthew J. Driscoll (Copenhagen)

Odd Einar Haugen (Bergen)

Karl G. Johansson (Oslo)

Rune Kyrkjebø (Bergen)


Preliminary version created 7 May 2003. Version 1.0 published 20 May 2003.