EpiDoc provides for both detail and flexibility in describing what is known or recorded about the origin and subsequent history of a text-bearing object. As described in the History Section of the TEI Guidelines, this information is collected in a <history> element that is part of the <msDesc> in the <teiHeader>. Within <history>, one first encodes an <origin> element, which is used to lay out what is known about the date(s) and location(s) associated with the original (historic) creation and publication of the object (the origDate and <origPlace> elements are provided for each of these purposes). After the <origin> element, the editor may create one or more <provenance> elements, each of which describes a discrete event in the history of the object, capturing whatever is known and relevant in the way of temporal and spatial information. Examples of provenance events include: (modern) place and date of finding or subsequent observation and recording.
Here is an example adapted from the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias project:
If detailed historical, dating and provenance information is not known (e.g. for an object or manuscript long held in a repository or private collection), a general description of the history of the object may be given in one or more <p> element (as shown below) rather than using the structured elements described above.
More detailed discussion and specific examples (e.g., for dealing with a range of possible places of origin or fragmentary objects whose component parts have been separated in modern times) see the following sections of the guidelines:
Note that inventory numbers, repository information and related indicia are treated in a separate part of <msDesc> (a sibling element of <history> called <msIdentifier>). The encoding of this information is described in the Inventory numbers and repositories section.