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CMIF – Correspondence Metadata Interchange Format

by TEI Correspondence SIG 2015-2018 (see license)


The CMI format has been developed by the TEI Correspondence SIG, and makes a standardized comparison of letter metadata possible. It does this by reducing the index to only the most essential elements—the sender, addressee, date, and location of a letter—as well as by regulating the inputted data. In addition to the benefits of TEI-XML encoding, this is greatly aided through authority files. Sender, addressee, and locations are identifiable independently of the specific project (for example through the GND number from the German National Library) and thus can be linked together. Finally, in CMI the individual letter is referenced for print editions by the letter identification number or bibliographical information and for digital editions by the URL.

The CMI format is based essentially on the TEI extension ‘correspDesc’ (Correspondence Description), a part of the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines. The element correspDesc was developed by the TEI Correspondence Special Interest Group in order to record correspondence-specific metadata from letters, postcards, etc., in TEI-based editions. In April 2015 ‘correspDesc’ was officially added to the version 2.8 of TEI P5.

The CMI format is the underlying data format for the web service ‘correspSearch’ (funded by the German Research Foundation) which enables scholars to search across diverse distributed scholarly editions of letters (both printed and digital).


The research project "correspSearch" provides a tutorial and an online tool, the CMIF Creator, which allows scholars to create and edit CMIF files without any knowledge of TEI-XML.

Discussion & further development

See "Dumont et al. 2019" for the further development of the CMIF. Discuss there via, in the section "Issues" in this repository or on the Mailinglist of the TEI Correspondence SIG.



© TEI Correspondence SIG 2015-2018

This work is available under dual license: BSD 2-Clause and Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY 4.0)


Correspondence Metadata Interchange Format



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