Poets undoubtedly do know much about texts and textuality, but I hope I have shown that information technologists, working in practice-grounded interdisciplinary areas such as text encoding, have also provided, and will continue to provide, many valuable insights. This is a good thing--for I would say that despite the considerable work that has already taken place, we seem still to be at the very beginning of a theoretical understanding of textual communication.
This essay draws very heavily on ideas and analyses developed collaboratively over the last ten years with James Coombs, Steve DeRose, Elli Mylonas, and David Durand. In addition, it also owes much to conversations with Claus Huitfeldt, Michael Sperberg-McQueen, Alois Pichler, Lou Burnard, and Julia Flanders. A more technical philosophical discussion of some of these topics, and a critique of the arguments for Antirealism, is contained in Allen Renear , "'Theory and Metatheory in the Development of Text Encoding'", a target paper submitted for the electronic issue of The Monist; a summary of that paper and the ensuing electronic discussion is contained in Michael Biggs and Claus Huitfeldt, "'Discussion of Theory and Metatheory in the Development of Text Encoding'" (forthcoming). As always, I must thank the Text Encoding Initiative and its sponsors, funders, and participants, for creating a truly extraordinary environment for thinking about texts and textuality.