How to cite this paper

Cayless, Hugh A. “Introduction to Cultural Heritage Markup.” Presented at Symposium on Cultural Heritage Markup, Washington, DC, August 10, 2015. In Proceedings of the Symposium on Cultural Heritage Markup. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 16 (2015).

Symposium on Cultural Heritage Markup
August 10, 2015

Balisage Paper: Introduction to Cultural Heritage Markup

Hugh A. Cayless

Duke University

Hugh Cayless ( has been doing DH markup and programming with a focus on Ancient Studies for over 15 years. He is the senior DH developer at the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3) and has published and presented on various topics relating to DH, Markup, and cultural heritage. Hugh is one of the founding members of the EpiDoc collaborative (, which publishes standards for representing ancient texts in TEI XML. He has been a member of the TEI Technical Council since 2013, and was recently elected Council Chair.


Cultural heritage materials are remarkable for their complexity and heterogenity. This often means that when you’ve solved one problem, you’ve solved one problem. Arrayed against this difficulty, we have a nice big pile of tools and technologies with an alphabet soup of names like XML, TEI, RDF, OAIS, SIP, DIP, XIP, AIP, and BIBFRAME, coupled with a variety of programming languages or storage and publishing systems. All of our papers today address in some way the question of how you deal with messy, complex, human data using the available toolsets and how those toolsets have to be adapted to cope with our data. How do you avoid having your solution dictated by the tools available? How do you know when you’re doing it right? Our speakers are all trying, in various ways, to reconfigure their tools or push past those tools’ limitations, and they are going to tell us how they’re doing it.