Division-Based Annotations and Alignments (<TAN-A-div>)

TAN-A-div is the format for macroscopic, division-based alignment, and is dedicated to aligning any number of versions of any number of works on the basis of <div>s, or even smaller, ad hoc segments in the sources invoked.

A TAN-A-div file allow you to make general claims about a work, or a particular version of a work.

The root element of a TAN division-based alignment file is <TAN-A-div>.

TAN-A-div's <head> has one or more <source>s.

Any concepts that will be mentioned in the <claim>s need to be supplied in <definitions>.

The <body> of a TAN-A-div file takes, in addition to the customary optional attributes (see @in-progress and the section called “Edit Stamp”), @claimant, @object, @subject, or @verb, stipulating the default values for any claims to come.

The rest of the body consists of <claim>s whose model is inspired by the Resource Description Framework (RDF; see the section called “Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Linked Open Data”). RDF depends upon a simple data model, where each datum consists of three items termed a subject, a predicate, and an object. The first and third are thought of as nodes, and the second as a connector between the nodes.


A connector, our preferred term, is frequently elsewhere called an edge, but that term elicits a metaphor that is confusing and misleading. A cylinder, for example, has two edges, but they don't connect anything. Furthermore, "edge" implies that what's really of interest is the void beyond the surface of a three-dimensional object.

TAN was designed to serve scholars, who normally find RDF-like sentences unsatisfactory. They lack context or qualifiers. It is unclear who made them, or when, or if they were uttered with any doubt or nuance. Sometimes we wish to claim a bare negation, e.g., "Aristotle was not the author of De mundo"—an assertion not possible to express in RDF.

A TAN <claim> adds some of this nuance and complexity to RDF. Every claim must be assigned to a claimant (and claims can be recursive, e.g., X claims that Y claims that Z claims that...). The RDF terminology subject + predicate + object is adjusted by TAN RDF to subject + verb + object. A <claim> may be be restricted to a particular date or place, or it may be tempered by certainty and modified with adverbs. If the object is data, the data type can be restricted to a specific type and lexical form. Despite being somewhat more complex than RDF, TAN-c syntax is more human readable.

<claim> may be used for a variety of things, e.g.,:

  • to list quotations and allusions;

  • to indicate which passages deal with what general subjects and topics;

  • to connect commentary or notes from one source with another;

  • to indicate where other scripta have different readings (apparatus criticus).

These assertions are made in <claim>s whose <subject> or <object> points to passages of text. Any textual <subject> or <object> may take @work or @src. The former takes a single reference to a <source>, but adopts the reference as a proxy to make a claim applicable to all versions of the same work. @src restricts the claim to specific versions, not to the work as a whole.