Ch. 17. Diplomas

Version 4.0 beta

by Odd Einar Haugen and Nina Stensaker

The text of this chapter is a work in progress. It should not be quoted or referred to.

17.1 Introduction

This chapter deals with the encoding of diplomas, i.e. the large corpus of short, mostly legal documents from ca. 1200 and onwards. The term diploma is commonly used in the Nordic countries for these documents, and it is this term we will use here. Diplomas are often referred to as charters in English and Urkunden in German, but these terms are not regarded as being strictly equivalent. In a Nordic context, however, the term “diploma” is well understood, and there will hardly be any doubt as to its meaning or the corpus it refers to.

Often only a page long, diplomas are unique in the sense that they almost always are issued with an exact date and location. Compared with the corpus of codices, they contain a high degree of names of persons and places. For this reason, diplomas are an important source for onomasts and historians, but also for language historians and linguists in general.

We recommend that in spite of their brevity, each diploma should be encoded as a single and individual document. In general, they are well preserved, although there are examples of fragmented diplomas as well as palimpsests. In size, they are comparable to many fragments of codices, but unlike fragments, diplomas usually carry a complete text. The average length of Norwegian diplomas in the period 1200–1350 is no more than 230 words (Haugen 2018, p. 243).

Please note that this chapter only deals with Norwegian diplomas. At a later stage we hope to include other Nordic diplomas in this chapter.

A general introduction to Norwegian diplomas is found in Hamre 1972, and, more consicely, in Jørgensen 2013, pp. 252–261. It is also worth looking into Agerholt 1929–1932.

A test catalogue for diplomas have been set up as part of the Medieval Nordic Text Archive.

Finally, please note that this chapter at times may look rather complex, so it can be helpful to download the two example files in ch. 17.6 below (at least for those who are familiar with reading “raw” XML documents). They will show what the recommendations below mean in practice.

17.2 Header

Due to the huge number of charters and their overall brevity, we recommend a fairly simple header. Below, it has been exemplified with two Norwegian diplomas: one from Aga (26 May 1293), which as been encoded from scratch, and another from Bergen (6 February 1309), which has been converted from files made during the Documentation project in Oslo and recently updated according to the recommendations in this chapter. We will refer to them as the Aga and the Bergen diploma hereafter.

The diploma header is in most respects identical to the manuscript header discussed in ch. 14 and exemplified in app. E. The present chapter will focus on the header of a typical diploma rather than a manuscript (codex).

17.2.1 Introduction

All diplomas are examples of a single-text source, as exemplified in ch. 14.7 above. The header has four major parts:

Elements Contents
<fileDesc> A file description
<encodingDesc> An encoding description
<profileDesc> A text profile
<revisionDesc> A revision history

This chapter will discuss the recommended amount of information for each of the four parts. The first of these, the file description is the largest of the four, so for practical reasons we will divide it into two subchapters, ch. 17.2.2 covering the title, editor, extent and publication of the diploma, and ch. 17.2.3 covering the contents of the diploma.

17.2.2 The file description: title, edition, extent and publication

The file description is a mandatory part of the header, cf. the TEI P5 Guidelines, ch. 2.2. We begin by discussing the meta-level information on the file history, described in following four elements:

Elements & attributes Explanation
<titleStmt> Information on the title, editor and other people who have been responsible for the edition.
<editionStmt> A description of the edition (i.e. version), typically by means of a number.
<extent> The size of the file, preferably specified in words.
<publicationStmt> A statement of the publication, i.e. the publisher of the text, reference number, date of publication, and availability.

The file description contains a number of elements, several of which were discussed in ch. 12 above (<name>, <persName>, <forename>, <surname> and <addName>).

17.2.2.1 Title statement

In the <titleStmt>, the <title> element gives the title of the document. The title is divided into three major parts, divided by colons:

  • The number in Diplomatarium Norvegicum (DN), first the volume and then the number of the diploma, i.e. DN 4:6 (for volume 4, number 6).
  • The archive signature of the diploma, i.e. ubb-dipl-0002 (for the Aga diploma).
  • States that the present text is a digital edition.

<title>DN 4:6 : ubb-dipl-0002 : A digital edition</title>

In addition to the title, the <titleStmt> must also list the editor(s) and other contributors to the edition. We recommend that one or more people (or institutions) are identified as the main editor(s) of the text in the <editor> element. In the case of the Aga diploma, which has been transcribed and encoded from scratch, there is a single editor:


<editor>
  <name>
    <persName>
      <forename>Nina</forename>
      <surname>Stensaker</surname>
    </persName>
    <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName>
  </name>
</editor>

Multiple main editors should either be listed either in alphabetical order, if equally responsible, or in order of importance concerning the editing work.

Institutions as well as individuals may be listed as editors. If an institution is regarded as the editor, that should be specified by the attribute @role:


<editor role="institution">
  <orgName>Språksamlingane</orgName>
</editor>

The institution “Språksamlingane” is now located at the University of Bergen, but was until 2016 part of the University of Oslo. We suggest that the collective work performed at the University of Oslo and now at the University of Bergen is attributed to the institution “Språksamlingane” (or, in English, “The language collections”).

After having stated the editor(s) of the file, one or more <respStmt> elements should specify the main tasks done by each editor. In the case of the Aga diploma, there are three responsibility statements. This is information which in a typical printed edition would be given in the preface, or even on the title page:


<editor> 
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Nina</forename> 
      <surname>Stensaker</surname> 
    </persName> 
    <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name> 
</editor>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Transcription and annotation by</resp>
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Nina</forename> 
      <surname>Stensaker</surname> 
     </persName> 
     <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>menotaBlitz.plx program written by</resp>
  <name>
    <persName>
      <forename>Robert K.</forename> 
      <surname>Paulsen</surname>
    </persName> 
    <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Project overview</resp>
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Odd Einar</forename> 
      <surname>Haugen</surname>
    </persName> 
   <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>

In the case of a text which has been developed through several stages (possibly at more than one institution), the <editor> and the <respStmt> elements will by necessity be longer. This is the case for the Bergen diploma, which was transcribed by people working at Gammelnorsk Ordboksverk in Oslo, converted to XML by the Dokumentasjonsprosjekt, also in Oslo, and finally converted to full, Menotic XML in Bergen. This can be recorded as follows:


<editor role="institution">
  <orgName>Språksamlingane</orgName>
</editor>               
<respStmt>
  <resp>Transcription</resp>
  <name>Many persons employed by Gammelnorsk ordboksverk, 
      <orgName type="affiliation">University of Oslo</orgName>
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Digitasation and conversion to electronic form</resp>
  <name>
      <orgName type="affiliation">The Documentation Project</orgName>
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Conversion to Menotic XML</resp>
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Christian-Emil</forename> 
      <surname>Ore</surname>
    </persName> 
   <orgName type="affiliation">University of Oslo</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Reorganisation and revising of the XML file</resp>
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Odd Einar</forename> 
      <surname>Haugen</surname>
    </persName> 
   <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>
<respStmt>
  <resp>Project overview</resp>
  <name> 
    <persName> 
      <forename>Odd Einar</forename> 
      <surname>Haugen</surname>
    </persName> 
   <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> 
  </name>
</respStmt>

17.2.2.2 Edition statement

The <editionStmt> should be used to specify whether the present text is a new or a revised edition of the digital text as described in the title statement above. Here, “edition” is to be understood as “version”. The version number should be given in the @n attribute with the usual number system, i.e. ‘1.0’, ‘1.0.1’, ‘1.1’, etc. The date of the version should be given in the format year-month-day in the @when attribute, e.g. ‘2020-01-12’.

A complete edition statement may be as simple as this:


<editionStmt>
  <edition n="2.0">Version 2.0 <date when="2020-01-06">6 January 2020</date> </edition>
</editionStmt>

17.2.2.3 Extent

The <extent> element specifies the size of the file. The exact number of words should be given in the @n attribute as well as in plain text within the element, e.g.:


<extent n="339">339 words</extent>

In a Menota XML file, each word will be contained in a <w> element, so the number of words can simply be regarded as equal to the number of <w> elements in the file.

17.2.2.4 Publication statement

The <publisher> element specifies the body (publisher, archive) which has made the text available, e.g. the Medieval Nordic Text Archive (Menota).

The <idno> is a unique identification of the text. For texts in the Menota archive the @type attribute value will be ‘Menota’, and the contents of the element will be an acquisition number, diploma texts beginning with “Ms D 1”. Note that this information will be supplied by Menota, if the text is being deposited in this archive.

The <availability> element specifies the accessibility of the text. We recommend adding a @status attribute with one of the three values: ‘free’, ‘restricted’ or ‘unknown’ (cf. the TEI P5 Guidelines, ch. 2.2.5).

Further specifications can be added in a <p> element. Almost all texts in the Menota archive are now available under an open CC license, and this should be stated in a <license> element with link to the Creative Commons website. Details on the transferral of this license should be added in a <p> element. A complete publication statement may thus look like this:


<publicationStmt>
  <distributor>Medieval Nordic Text Archive</distributor>
    <idno type="Menota">Ms D 2</idno>
    <date when="2019-10-15">15 October 2019</date>
  <availability status="free">
    <licence target="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">
        CC-BY-SA 4.0</licence>
      <p>Licence accepted by the editor Nina Stensaker in a meeting 
        with Odd Einar Haugen, 07 Oct 2019.</p>
  </availability>
</publicationStmt> 

17.2.3 The file description: identification, contents, physical form and history of the source

The next part of the file description to be discussed here is the <sourceDesc>, which describes the source material (cf. the TEI P5 Guidelines, ch. 2.2.7). It is a child of <fileDesc>, and in the case of a digital edition, the source is the diploma carrying the transcribed text. Therefore, the source is usually described using the element <msDesc> (manuscript description), which is located within <sourceDesc>.

The <msDesc> element is the framing element into which the manuscript description is put. The description needs not consist of more than the basic information necessary to identify the source, i.e. its location, both geographical and institutional, and its shelfmark or other identifying numbers or names.

Within <msDesc> the following five elements are available, of which only the first is required:

Elements & attributes Explanation
<msIdentifier> Groups information that uniquely identifies the diploma, i.e. its location, holding institution and shelfmark.
<msContents> Contains an itemised list of the intellectual content of the diploma, either as a series of paragraphs or as a series of structured manuscript items.
<physDesc> Groups information concerning all physical aspects of the diploma, its material, size, format, script, decoration, marginalia etc.
<history> Provides information on the history of the diploma, its origin, provenance and acquisition by its holding institution.
<additional> Groups other information about the diploma, in particular, administrative information relating to its availability, custodial history, surrogates etc.

17.2.3.1 Diploma identifier

The only mandatory element within <msDesc> is <msIdentifier>, i.e. the diploma identifier. For <msIdentifier>, a number of sub-elements is available, among others, <country>, <region>, <settlement> (the TEI term for what most people will call city), <institution>, <repository>, <collection>, <msName> (name to be used in the archive, e.g. “1293-05-26 Aga”) and <idno> (an identifying number, here used for the number in Diplomatarium Norvegicum, e.g. DN 4:6.). For the diplomas we strongly recommend that at least the elements <country>, <settlement>, <repository>, <idno> and <msName> are included, since they provide what is, by common consent, the minimum amount of information necessary to identify a diploma.

Note that the <idno> element for diplomas differs form the use of manuscripts. For the diplomas the <idno> element provides the number in Diplomatarium Norvegicum, while the element is used for the the shelfmark of a manuscript, see ch. 14.3.1 above. The <msName> element contains any form of unstructured alternative name used for a manuscript, such as a nickname. For the diplomas the first <msName> is used for a uniform title, starting with the date and then the place, e.g. 1293-05-26 Aga. Occasionally a diploma can have several such names, in which case multiple <msName> elements are used, or perhaps rather several forms of the name, typically in a different language. The latter can be distinguished from each other by means of the @xml:lang attribute which is available on all TEI elements.

The <msIdentifier> element may contain an <altIdentifier> element, which contains an alternative, structured identifier of a diploma, such as a catalogue number or former shelfmark. The <altIdentifier> must contain the <idno> element. In the case of the Aga diploma, the alternative catalogue number would be "ubb-diplom-0002".

A <msIdentifier> for the Aga diploma may look like this:


<msIdentifier>
  <country key="NO">Norway</country>
  <settlement>Bergen</settlement>
  <repository>Manuscripts and Rare Books Collection, The University of Bergen Library</repository>
  <idno>DN 4:6</idno>
  <altIdentifier><idno>ubb-diplom-0002</idno></altIdentifier>
  <msName>1293-05-26 Aga</msName>
  <msName type="nickname" xml:lang="nor">Aga-diplomet</msName>
</msIdentifier>

The @key attribute to the <country> element can take values such as ‘IS’ for Iceland, ‘NO’ for Norway, and so on according to the ISO 3166-1 alpha 2 standard.

17.2.3.2 Intellectual contents

A detailed description of a diploma’s intellectual contents is put in the <msContents> element, which is the next major sub-element of the <msDesc> element. The <msContents> element consists of one or more <msItem> elements.

The <msItem> element in the diploma header differs from many manuscript headers since a diploma usually is just a single item (see ch. 14.3.2 above for examples of more complex structures). We recommend that a <msItem> element for a diploma contain two attributes: @class and @defective.

The @class attribute has several possible values, first of all ‘origBrev’ (original diploma) and ‘vidisse’ (attested copy). There may be further values, such as ‘gjenpart’ and ‘avskrift’, according to the Diplomatarium Norvegicum. This taxonomy has to be discussed.

The @defective attribute has four possible values: ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘unkown’ and ‘unspecified’. These values provide the means of distinguishing between texts which are fragmentary and those which are not. The Aga diploma is rather unique since it is a chirograph, and only one part has survived. However, since the two parts must be assumed to be identical there is no loss of text in the diploma. The value in this case will thus be ‘false’, i.e. that it is not defective. The same goes for the Bergen diploma.

The <title> element provides important information regarding the letter classification (“brevtype”) given in Regesta Norvegica (RN). For volumes 1–7 a spesificed list of letter classifications are used (see the list here). We recommend that the categories in RN are used for the encoding of diplomas. If a charter is not in the RN this element can be left out. The @type attribute is given the value ‘uniform’, since these categories are provided by an authority such as Regesta Norvegica.

A <msContents> element for the Aga diploma may look like this:


<msContents>
  <msItem class="origBrev" defective="false">
    <title type="uniform" resp="RN">Kunngjering</title>
  </msItem>
</msContents>

17.2.3.3 Codicological features

The next major element in the <msDesc> element is a physical description, <physDesc>. The first element within <physDesc> is <objectDesc>, which relates specifically to the text-bearing object and contains two further sub-elements, <supportDesc> and <layoutDesc>.

The element <supportDesc> can contain various aspects relating to the physical object, or carrier, on which the text is inscribed, such as <support>, describing whether the text is written on parchment, paper etc., <extent> detailing the number and size of leaves, and <condition>, for a description of the current physical state of the diploma.

This is the <objectDesc> for the Aga diploma:


<objectDesc form="charter">
  <supportDesc>
    <support> <p><material>Parchment</material>.</p> </support>
    <extent>1 leaf; ca 155 mm (height) by 240 mm (width).</extent>
    <condition>Very good.</condition>
  </supportDesc>
</objectDesc> 

Note that the <support> element does not require a <p> element, nor is the <material> element necessary, but it is very welcome for search purposes.

The second group of elements within a structured physical description concerns aspects of the writing, illumination or the like, including additions made in later hands. Possible elements are: <handDesc>, usually containing a <handNote> element.

The <handDesc> element is intended for a description of the scribal hand of the diploma. This may simply be encoded as one <p> element, but it is possible to set up a series of <handNote> elements. The <handNote> element can contain three attributes: @scope, @script and @scribe.

The @scope attribute specifies how widely this hand is used in a manuscript, but since diplomas are short, the value will mainly be ‘sole’. However, the values ‘major’ and ‘minor’ are also possible.

The @script attribute characterises the particular script or writing style used by this hand, i.e. ‘gothic’.

The @scribe attribute gives a name or other identifier for the scribe believed to be responsible for this hand. For many diplomas, the values will be ‘unknown’. The encoding for a diploma may be as simple as this:


<handDesc hands="1">
  <handNote scope="sole" script="hybrida" scribe="unknown">
     Written in a <term type="script">gothic hybrid</term> by
     a single unidentified scribe.</handNote>
</handDesc> 

Note that the <term> element is not necessary, but very welcome for search purposes.

The third group of elements within a structured physical description concerns the seals or similar items related to the object described, either as a series of paragraphs, <p>, or as a series of <seal> elements. The encoding may look lik this:


<sealDesc>
  <seal>
    <p>Four seals missing, only the strips left.</p>
  </seal>
</sealDesc> 

17.2.3.4 The history of the diploma

The <history> element contains information on the history of the diploma. Available within it are three sub-elements: <origin>, for information on when, where and potentially for whom the diploma was written; <provenance>, in which any evidence of ownership and use is provided; and <acquisition>, which describes when and how the diploma was acquired by its current owner or holding institution. Each of these elements may contain one or more paragraphs which may contain more specialised elements. Alternatively, as with the other major elements in a manuscript description, the <history> element may itself consist of one or more paragraphs, <p>, in which the history of the diploma is summarised.

The encoding can be made simple like this:


<history>
  <origin> 
    <origPlace ref="https://stadnamn.kartverket.no/fakta/66299">Aga, 
      Ullensvang, Vestland fylke</origPlace> 
    <date>1293-05-26</date>
  </origin>
</history> 

Note that the <origPlace> can use the @ref attribute for geograpich location, see ch. 15 above. This attribute is optional.

Note also that the date can be quite specific, as in the encoding above, or it can be a year or an even longer period of time. It is also possible to use the attributes: @notBefore and @notAfter to circle in a possible date.

Information regarding the provenance and acquisition of a diploma are frequently more difficult to obtain, if at all available.

17.2.4 The encoding description

The <encodingDesc> documents the relationship between the digital edition and the source it is based upon. It is an optional part of the header, but we recommend that it contains information on the standard of encoding and level of quality. It should have two sub-elements: a <projectDesc> and an <editorialDecl>.

The <projectDesc> can state the standard of the encoding in prose, e.g. “This text has been encoded according to the standard set out in The Menota Handbook, version 3.0, at https://menota.org/handbook.xml”.

The <editorialDecl> uses the <correction> element with the @status attribute to specify the level of quality control. Attribute values (according to TEI) are ‘high’, ‘medium’, ‘low’ and ‘unknown’. The TEI P5 Guidelines, ch. 2.3.3 offer these definitions for the possible values:

  • high: the text has been thoroughly checked and proofread
  • medium: the text has been checked at least once
  • low: the text has not been checked
  • unknown: the correction status of the text is unknown

Once the @status attribute is given a value, the <correction> element may be empty. However, if desired, further specification can be given in prose within a <p> element.

Next within the <editorialDecl> element, a <normalization> element with a Menota-specific @me:level attribute is used to specify the level on which the text is encoded. The prototypical levels are ‘facs’, ‘dipl’ and ‘norm’, but other levels can also be used in the transcription, e.g. a ‘pal’ level for a very close paleographical transcription. Also here, a description in prose may be added in a <p> element. Note that more than one level may be specified, simply separating the values by whitespaces:


<editorialDecl>
  <normalization me:level="facs dipl norm">
    <p>This text has been encoded on three levels: facsimile, diplomatic and normalised.</p>	 
  </normalization>
</editorialDecl>

Finally within the <editorialDecl> element, an <interpretation> element is used to specify the amount of lexical and grammatical information in the encoded text. We suggest two attributes, @me:lemmatized and @me:morphAnalyzed, both with the values: ‘completely’, ‘partly’ and ‘none’. An additional description in prose may be added in a <p> element. A lemmatised text will have lemmata (i.e. dictionary entries) added in the @lemma attribute of the <w> element, while a morphologically analysed text will have grammatical forms specified in the @me:msa attribute of the same element. See ch. 5.3 above for a general overview and ch. 11 above for details on this lexical and morphological encoding.

A complete <encodingDesc> may look like this:


<encodingDesc>
  <projectDesc>
    <p>This encoding follows the standard set out in <title>The Menota Handbook</title> 
      (version 3.0), at <ref target="http://www.menota.org/handbook"> 
      http://www.menota.org/handbook</ref> as of <date>2019-12-12</date>.</p>
     <p>The encoded text has numbered pagebeginnings and linebeginnings according 
       to the diploma.</p>
  </projectDesc>
  <editorialDecl>
    <correction status="high">
      <p>This text has been transcribed directly from photographic colour 
        facsimiles of the diploma.</p>
    </correction>
    <normalization me:level="facs dipl norm">
      <p>This text has been encoded on all three focal levels: facsimile, 
        diplomatic and normalised.</p>
    </normalization>
    <interpretation me:lemmatized="completely" me:morphAnalyzed="completely">
      <p>The whole text has been lemmatised and morphologically analysed.</p>
    </interpretation>
  </editorialDecl>
</encodingDesc> 

17.2.5 The profile description

The <profileDesc> is an optional part of the header, but we strongly recommend that the language(s) used in the source are listed here within the element <langUsage>. This element contains one or more <language> elements with a @ident attribute each. The value of @ident should be a three-letter code, where possible based on the international standard ISO 639-2.

A <profileDesc> may look like this:


<profileDesc>
  <langUsage>
    <language ident="onw">Old Norwegian</language>
    <language ident="lat">Latin</language>
  </langUsage>
</profileDesc>

The languages defined here will be used in the actual encoding of the text. If, for example, a diploma is wholly in Old Norwegian, this should be specified as an attribute to the <body> element. See ch. 17.3.2 below.

17.2.6 The revision description

Even if this is an optional part of the header, it is essential that all changes to the file are recorded. Each change is described within a separate <change> element. Within it, the <date> is given first, then the <name> of the revisor (preferably with affiliation), and, finally, a description in prose of the actual change.

A short series of <change> elements may look like this:


<revisionDesc>
  <change> <date>2020-01-10</date> <name> <persName>Odd Einar Haugen</persName> 
    <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> </name>: 
    Minor changes to the transcription and additions to the header.
  </change>
  <change> <date>2020-01-07</date> <name> <persName>Nina Stensaker</persName> 
    <orgName type="affiliation">University of Bergen</orgName> </name>: 
    Minor changes to the transcription after a proofreading.
  </change>
</revisionDesc>

17.3 Text

While the encoding of codices and fragments of codices usually will have a single <body> element within the overarching <text> element, we suggest that the particular needs of diploma encoding can be served by adding a <front> and a <back> element, as shown in ch. 3.2 above:

Elements Contents
<TEI> The TEI document begins here,
<teiHeader> . . . </teiHeader> the header goes here,
<text> the text itself begins here,
<front> . . . </front> any front matter goes here,
<body> . . . </body> the main body of the text goes here,
<back> . . . </back> any back matter goes here,
</text> the text ends here,
</TEI> the TEI document ends here.

17.3.1 Front

The front matter may contain abstracts of the diploma, usually in a modern language.

Abstracts may be given within <div> elements with appropriate attributes and values.

Elements & attributes Explanation
<div> Contains a separate section of the front matters.
@type Indicates what type of section it is.
‘title’ A descriptive title of the diploma, usually organised into (a) Place, (b) Date, (c) Edition
@source Indicates which source the division contains.
‘DN’ An abstract from Diplomatarium Norvegicum.
‘RN’ An abstract from Regesta Norvegica.
‘editor’ An abstract written by the editor of the transcription.

The text of the abstracts may be inserted in full here, or it may be given by a link to an external online source.

17.3.2 Body

This is the actual text of the source. As a rule, the text will be rendered only on the diplomatic level, so there is no need for the <choice> element and the corresponding <me:facs>, <me:dipl> and <me:norm> levels. The header should specify the level of text representation, however.

This means that the typical diploma will have a rather simple encoding, much like the one exemplified in app I.

We do recommend that words are encoded in the <w> element, so that the text can be annotated for morphology. We also believe that the <name> element will be an important part of the <body> encoding.

Since the diplomas are written in several languages, particularly Norwegian and Latin, we strongly recommend that the language is specified. This can be done as an attribute to the <body> element, like this example of a diploma written in Old Norwegian:


<body xml:lang="onw">

If the diploma contains text in another language, e.g. Latin, these words (or divisions) can be singled out by the same type of attribute:


<w xml:lang="lat">Anno</w>
<w xml:lang="lat">Domini</w>

Note that the language codes used here must be defined in the <profileDesc> of the header, cf. ch. 17.2.5 above.

17.3.3 Back

The back matter may contain images of the diploma, other transcriptions and translations.

They may be given within <div> elements with appropriate attributes and values.

Elements & attributes Explanation
<div> Contains a separate section of the back matters.
@type Indicates what type of section it is.
‘image’ Photographic facsimile of the diploma.
‘transcription’ Pencil transcription made by scholars working at Gammelnorsk ordboksverk.
‘translation’ Translation of the diploma.

Translations of Norwegian diplomas were made by Finn Hødnebø 1960 for all diplomas up to 1300, and by Erik Simensen 2002 for the subsequent diplomas up to 1310 (both as part of Corpus Codicum Norvegicorum Medii Aevi). Sporadic translations are found in collections for certain areas, such as the one by Eyvind Fjeld Halvorsen and Magnus Rindal 2009 for Ringerike.

17.4 Persons

The encoding of personal names has been discussed in some detail in ch. 12.2 above and furthermore in ch. 15.4.5.

As described in ch. 12.2.5.1, names of persons can be specified in the <profileDesc> element of the header, so that each occurence in the text of the diploma can be encoded with a simple @xml:id referencing the name in the header. For example, Sigurðr lagmaðr in the Aga diploma might be specified like this in the <profileDesc> element:


<listPerson>
  <person xml:id="SigBryn" sex="1" role="owner">
    <persName xml:lang="nor">
      <forename>Sigurd</forename>
      <addName type="patronym">Brynjolvsson</addName>
    </persName>
      <birth notBefore="1235" notAfter="1235">1235</birth>
      <death when="1303">1303</death>
        <residence>
          <placeName>
            <settlement type="farm">Aga</settlement>
            <region type="parish">Ullensvang</region>
            <region type="county">Vestland fylke</region>
            <region type="compass">Western</region>
            <country key="NO">Norway</country>
          </placeName>
        </residence>
      <occupation>Lawman</occupation>
  </person>
   . . .
  <!-- more <person> elements could follow -->
   . . .
</listPerson>

Due to the high number of names in the diplomas, we believe that this type of encoding is much too cumbersome. Somehow, names of persons have to be referenced to an external source, as suggested in ch. 15.4.5 above.

There are some additional challenges in the encoding of names in diplomas, such as the tradition of modern name forms, e.g. “Eirik” (or even “Erik”) for the Medieval Nordic normalised form “Eiríkr”, or “Trond” for “Þróndr” or “Þrándr”.

More text to be added here.

17.5 Places

The encoding of place names has been discussed briefly in ch. 12.3 above and in some detail in ch. 15.4.6. The present subchapter should discuss some practicalities of geolocalisations, such as deciding on the names of borroughs (“kommuner”) and counties (“fylker”). In Norway, for example, the name and extension of these areas have changed several times over the last two centuries.

We believe that the new borrough and county names should be used, so that the Aga diploma should be located to Aga, Ullensvang, Vestland fylke. As for Bergen in the Bergen diploma, it should be sufficient to locate this place to Bergen, Vestland fylke. See the encoding example in ch. 17.4 above.

There are some additional challenges in the encoding of place names in diplomas, such as the tradition of modern name forms, e.g. “Nidaros” (or even “Trondheim”) for “Niðaróss”, “Bergen” for “Bjǫrgvin”, etc.

More text to be added here.

17.6 Example files

We offer two diploma files for download:

Please note that some browsers may try and interpret and open these sample files. In order to download the file to your disk, use alt-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) on your browser, unless your browser has other preferences.

Almost all texts in the Menota archive can be downloaded as XML files. This means that almost any file in the archive can be inspected, and, if convenient, used as a template.

17.7 Bibliographical references

This is a list of bibliographical references in the chapter. At a later stage, it will be moved to the shared bibliography of the handbook.

Agerholt, Johan. 1929–1932. Gamalnorsk brevskipnad. Etterrøkjingar og utgreidingar i norsk diplomatikk. Vol. 1, Formelverk i kongebrev på norsk 1280–1387. Vol. 2, Eldre formelverk. Oslo: Gundersen.

DN = Diplomatarium Norvegicum. Vol. 1‒20, 1847‒1915; vol. 21, 1976; vol. 22, 1990‒1992; vol. 23, 2011. Christiania/Kristiania/Oslo: Kjeldeskriftfondet.

Halvorsen, Eyvind Fjeld, and Magnus Rindal, eds. 2009. Middelalderbrev fra Ringerike 1263–1570. Published by Bjørn Geirr Harsson for Ringerike Slektshistorielag. [Hønefoss]: Kolltopp forlag.

Hamre, Lars. 1972. Innføring i diplomatikk. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 60 pp.

Haugen, Odd Einar. 2018. “Høgmellomalderen (1050–1350).” In: Tidslinjer, ed. Agnete Nesse, 197–292. Vol. 4 of Norsk språkhistorie, eds. Helge Sandøy and Agnete Nesse. Oslo: Novus.

Hødnebø, Finn, ed. 1960. Norske diplomer til og med år 1300. Corpus Codicum Norvegicorum Medii Aevi, Folio Serie, vol. 2. Oslo: Selskapet til utgivelse av gamle norske håndskrifter.

Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar. 2013. “Diplomer, lover og jordebøker”. Ch. 5 in Handbok i norrøn filologi, edited by Odd Einar Haugen, 250–301. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Simensen, Erik, ed. 2002. Norske diplom 1301–1310. Corpus Codicum Norvegicorum Medii Aevi, Quarto Series, vol. 10. Oslo: Selskapet til utgivelse av gamle norske håndskrifter.

RN = Regesta Norvegica. Vol. 1–. Kristiania: Det Norske Historiske Kildeskriftfond, Oslo: Kjeldeskriftfondet, 1898, 1978–.