Recording in an edition the past and present inventory and catalog numbers associated with a text-bearing object can provide users of the edition essential information for locating the object for autopsy and for correlating references in publications and archival materials. Accordingly, TEI/EpiDoc requires some kind of manuscript identifier (<msIdentifier>) to be encoded as part of the manuscript description in any edition, as described in the TEI Guidelines section on the manuscript identifier and illustrated in the examples below.
Whenever possible, the <msIdentifier> will include information about the name and location of the instition or repository holding the object (using the <settlement> and <repository> elements), along with its inventory number (<idno>) and/or conventional name (<msName>). When the text-bearing object is not held in an institutional, civic, or site collection, as is often the case with inscriptions, it may only be possible to provide very minimal information. When a research institution has compiled and maintained a regional or thematic inventory for materials that are spread across a range of institutions or sites, this number may be preferred and the individual institutional, expedition, or site inventory numbers recorded also with the altIdentifier element. Note that, in the absence of an institutional inventory number (or to augment the institutional information provided) an <altIdentifer> may be added with <idno type="URI"> pointing to a Wikipedia article or other stable web resource about the object.
The following example illustrates the use of the <settlement>, <repository> and <idno> elements in a minimal inventory declaration for an item in a controlled collection:
This next example treats the famous Rosetta Stone, expanding on the approach used above by providing the conventional name for the inscription, as well as a prior inventory number once used by the museum:
The following example treats a free-standing monument (Trajan's Column) and illustrates the optional use of a Wikipedia URI to augment the information provided in the main portion of the <msIdentifer> element:
The following example, drawn from the Corpus of the Inscriptions of Campā, illustrates several advanced, optional features in the encoding of object identifiers. These include: