Templating instructions


While features of the Egyptian Gazette were composed fresh each day, much of each issue consisted of templates reapplied with minor or no modifications from issue to issue. As we produce our marked-up version of the newspaper, we can save effort by reusing templates in our own work. We must remain alert to minor variations, however.

1. Recurring features

The first step is to determine if you are looking at something that is a template. Advertisements, tables, and other material that is not free text is probably templated. Check these indexes to see if you can find something identical or similar to what you want to find:

  • The complete catalog of advertisements is here.
  • The complete catalog of financial tables and other boilerplates is here.

These indexes contain images of the templated items, links to TEI-XML documents representing the templated item, and (sometimes) a comment or two about the template. Once you’ve identified the relevant template, copy and paste its XML into your own file. Important: Only copy the material contained within the <body> </body> tags–the rest of the file should not appear in your issue file. To do so, select the text like this:


Paste only this portion of the text into your issue document.

Next, customize the template content to match your issue’s content. Often there will be no changes. Sometimes dates, names, or numbers will have to be changed. Sometimes the changes will be more complex. As you become more familiar with TEI-XML, you will get better at customizing the template.

If you can’t find a template that should be there, or if your version of an item is so different from the template that you think a new template is warranted, there are a few things you can do. First, you can search the repository of already-encoded issues to see if someone has already produced a version of the material. If you find it, or if you feel up to encoding it yourself, you can turn this into a new template so that everyone can save time. Upload the xml and an image of the feature to the advertisements or boilerplates repository, and send a pull request. Finally, if you can’t find the material anywhere and it’s too involved to reproduce it yourself, file an issue at the advertisements or boilerplates repositories, insert a <!-- missing template --> comment with a few details into your document, and move on.

2. An overview of issue features

For a general summary of recurring features, see the tables here. Early on in this project, I made this table, which lists items commonly present in issues of the Egyptian Gazette. For a given date, the page and column number are listed. This powerpoint presentation displays the content layout of several issues during the month of July 1905. (The main boilerplate is six pages long. On Wednesday and Saturday, when issues are eight pages, the extra pages are the fourth and fifth pages. Pages 6-8 of extended editions correspond to pages 4-6 of regular editions.)