About the Project

quoteSalute offers inspiring greeting formulas from digital letter editions for your E-mail correspondence. The application thus creates a playful approach to the world of historical correspondences and enables the integration of academic Editions work in your everyday communication.

quoteSalute was developed by a student project of Lou Klappenbach, Marvin Kullick and Luisa Philipp, supervised by Stefan Dumont, Frederike Neuber and Oliver Pohl in the Digital Humanities Working Group TELOTA and the project "correspSearch - Letter editions network" at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Search Salutes

On the website you can browse for greetings. If you do not like the greeting displayed, simply generate a new one by clicking on the orange refresh button. You can also use filters to narrow the search query according to your wishes. Once you have found the right greeting, you can copy it with the copy button. Open the e-mail program of your choice and then simply insert it into the next mail and send it!

Text Corpus

A curated corpus of greetings from various digital letter editions is the basis of quoteSalute. For this purpose, <salute> elements and associated bibliographical information were extracted automatically from the TEI-XML-files of the editions and stored into a new TEI-XML-file for each edition. During curating, the data was (1) cleared of of repetitions, inappropriate contents and very short greetings and (2) expaded by an own tagging to allow later filtering of the greetings. The greetings were tagged according to three criteria. First, it was determined whether the greeting is more formal or friendly in content. On the other hand, it was recorded, whether the gender of the sender and the receiver are apparent from the context (this was especially necessary for greetigns written in languages that classify words gender categories). And finally, the language was marked. This tagging allows the filter function and, together with the above-mentioned cleanup, makes a curation of the data necessary.

The text corpus is currently fed by the following digital letter editions:

  • Aloys Hirt – Briefwechsel 1787–1837, ed. by Uta Motschmann. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: https://aloys-hirt.bbaw.de, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • August Wilhelm Ifflands dramaturgisches und administratives Archiv. Digitale Edition hrsg. Von Klaus Gerlach. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: https://iffland.bbaw.de, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Briefe und Texte aus dem intellektuellen Berlin um 1800“. Hrsg. v. Anne Baillot. Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. URL: www.berliner-intellektuelle.eu/, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Briefwechsel Daniel Sanders im Deutschen Textarchiv, hg. v. Sebastian Göttel. Berlin 2017-2018. URL: http://www.deutschestextarchiv.de/sanders-briefe, licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe, Digitale Edition. URL: http://www.weber-gesamtausgabe.de, licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Digitale Edition der Briefe Erdmuthe Benignas von Reuß-Ebersdorf (1670-1732), hg. V. Prell, Martin u. Schmidt-Funke, Julia. Jena 2017 [Work in Progress]. URL: http://erdmuthe.thulb.uni-jena.de, licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
  • edition humboldt digital, hg. v. Ottmar Ette. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: http://edition-humboldt.de, licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Jean Paul Briefwechsel, Digitale Edition (basierend auf der III. Abteilung der Historisch-kritischen Ausgabe, hg. v. Eduard Berend), Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin 2018. URL: https://www.jeanpaul-edition.de/, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Lebenswelten, Erfahrungsräume und politische Horizonte der ostpreußischen Adelsfamilie Lehndorff vom 18. bis in das 20.Jahrhundert, ed. by Gaby Huch. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: https://lebenswelten-lehndorff.bbaw.de/, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe digital, hg. von der Internationalen Marx-Engels-Stiftung. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: http://megadigital.bbaw.de/, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Wilhelm von Humboldt - Sprachwissenschaftliche Korrespondenz. Hg. von der Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: https://wvh-briefe.bbaw.de, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Fanny Lewald an Hermann Hettner - Briefe aus den Jahren 1847-1857. Hrsg. v. Frederike Neuber. In: Berliner Beiträge zur Editionswissenschaft. Bd. 18. Hrsg: Jörg Jungmayr u. Marcus Schotte. 2017, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • Arthur Schnitzler, Hermann Bahr: Briefwechsel, Materialien, Dokumente 1891–1931. Herausgegeben von Kurt Ifkovits und Martin Anton Müller. 2018. URL: https://bahrschnitzler.acdh.oeaw.ac.at, licence: CC BY 4.0
  • DER STURM. Digitale Quellenedition zur Geschichte der internationalen Avantgarde, erarbeitet und herausgegeben von Marjam Trautmann und Torsten Schrade, Mainz, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, 2018. URL: https://sturm-edition.de/quellen/briefe.html, licence: CC BY 4.0


Salutations were (and are) essential elements of the written communication, especially of the letter. They point out, on the one hand, that letters display an "ad-hoc writtenness" and that they have a certain proximity to orality (Elspaß 2011, 24 and 27), because the formal structure of a letter follows the conversation procedure: Turning to the partner - presentation of the information, the request etc. - and turning away from the partner (Nickisch 1991, 9-10). It was not without reason that letters were already understood in the 18th and 19th centuries as a "conversation among attendees", although in the end they are not a conversation, but only an attempt to replace it and are subject to specific conditions (Bürgel 1976, 287-288; Reinlein 2003, 54-55).

On the other hand, salutations serve as "indicators of the relationships that the author has or believes to have with the recipient" (Ermert 1979, 104). With regard to historical letters, they tell the modern reader something about the social relationship between sender and addressee - as long as one not only reads a single one, but several letters of correspondence. This allows informal salutations give an indication of a friendly relationship, while formal salutations point to a more distant relationship. Also professional or professional Differences in hierarchy are expressed in salutations of letters. Finally, salutations reveal as a personal form of address to the pen pal sometimes also the unspoken or "unwritten". If salutations for example shift from extremely cordially to distanced during the course of a correspondence, this could be interpreted as a sign that the relationship between the correspondents has cooled down without the possible disruption from the letter content must emerge.

The adoption of salutations is therefore extremely important for letter editions. For these reasons, the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative have long since offered an encoding option with the Element <salute> (which, however, still has a few limitations such as the lack of being able to using <salute> in paragraphs (<p>)). Within quoteSalute exactly this coding is evaluated and displayed with further semantic information (degree of formality, gender, language).

However, only the letter closing salutations were evaluated - not the opening salutations. This is due to the goal that the salutations should be supplied for the users own correspondence to spice up the communication - and not to to disturb it by inappropriate content. However, the latter would probably be the case if the opening salutation, i.e. the The second line, which the addressee reads after the subject, would be "historicized". Furthermore in the late 18th and 19th centuries it is also a fact that the salutation becomes shorter and shorter the more friendly the social relationship between the correspondents is - until in some cases they are completely omitted. For the purpose of quoteSalute this would of course be detrimental.

Even though quoteSalute is first and foremost a playful handling of the material, it also shows the scientific and literary value of Greeting formulas in letters.


The generation of the salutations was implemented in a web application. This was realized with HTML, CSS and Javascript. In addition, we used the Front-End-Framework VueJS for data processing and for the dynamic exchange of HTML elements. Bootstrap was used to achieve a consistent design of the website. As database we used eXist db, the database query is done using XQuery and the response data is returned as JSON.


You are working on a digital letter edition and think of the salutations of your Correspondence should also be included into quoteSalute? We are very happy to expand our dataset with new salutes. Any digital letter edition based on the TEI format can take part.

For a participation of your project we need a TEI-XML file with the salutations from your digital letter edition. To make it as easy as possible for you to we provide an example file and an empty template file for you to download. In addition to the greeting formulas, your file should also contain associated bibliographical information (title of the edition, title of the letter) and a link to the web view of the respective letter in the digital edition. For technical details on creating the quoteSalute-compliant TEI XML file, please refer to the table below, in which the TEI elements and their functions are listed, as well as the comments in the template and example file.

Enable Filtering

If you want your greeting formulas to be searchable with the filter function, you must check the contents of the greeting formulas. Each greeting formula is assigned an attribute @ana, which indicates whether (1) the gender of sender*in and/or recipient*in becomes apparent from the context of the greeting formula and (2) the quotation is to be understood formally or amicably. You should also mark out the language of the greeting formula. Otherwise your greeting formulas will only be displayed if none filters are set!


The following tables provide detailed information about the structure of the TEI XML file required to include your greeting formulas in quoteSalute.

Meta data in the teiHeader

XPath (relative to //teiHeader) Description Value(s) und Example(s)
/fileDesc/titleStmt/title Title of the file. Should contain the name of your letter edition. E.g. <salute>-elements of "edition humboldt digital"
/fileDesc/titleStmt/respStmt Specification of responsibility in <note>. The element <respStmt> should have further <persName< elements with the names of the creators. E.g. Collection and curation of data
Specification of when data was extracted from the edition and that a selection was made. E.g. The data was taken over from <ref target="https://edition-humboldt.de"> https://edition-humboldt.de</ref> on 15.3.2018. Later published contents of the edition may be added in the future.
Specification that the greeting formulas from the edition have been curated and edited. E.g. For quoteSalute, those salutes were selected that are relevant for the application in terms of content, form and length.
/fileDesc/sourceDesc/bibl Here the complete source reference of the edition is to be inserted. E.g. edition humboldt digital, ed. by Ottmar Ette. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin.
/encodingDesc The default encodingDescription must be inserted in the partHeader, which declares the possible values for @ana. This taxonomy is predefined in the template and can be copied directly without changes. See the table below for more information. E.g.

Salutations in //text

XPath (Relative to //text) Description Value(s) and example(s)
/div[@type="included"] This div consists of the list of greeting formulas and the associated bibliographic data.
This list consists of the links of the letters whose greeting formulas should not be included in the body (e.g. because they are too short). E.g. "edition-humboldt.de/H0015080"
/div/cit One or more <cit>-elements containing the greeting formulas and the corresponding bibliographic information
/div/cit/quote The salutation as simple text, without quotation marks
/div/cit/quote/@ana Here the tagging for the speaking and the addressed gender as well as the degree of formality is conducted. See also the taxonomy below. E.g. "#informal #s-f #r-m"
/div/cit/quote/@xml:lang Here the language of the greeting formula is recorded according to ISO-Code 639-3. E.g. "deu"
/div/cit/title[@type="letter"] Title of the letter from which the greeting formula originates, as it is given in the respective edition.
/div/cit/title[@type="edition"] Title of the edition from which the salutation originates.
/div/cit/bibl/ref/@target The @target contains the URL that links to the letter in the digital edition. E.g. "http://edition-humboldt.de/H0002656"



Depending on whether the greeting formula is more formal or more informal, one of the following values is selected:

Value Description
#formal Salutation is formal.
#informal Salutation is amicable.


One of the following values can be set for the gender of the speaking or addressed person (if apparent in the text):

Value Description
#s-m Salutation implies a male sender
#s-f Salutation implies a female sender
#s-n Salutation implies a neutral sender
#r-m Salutation implies a male receiver
#r-f Salutation implies a female receiver
#r-n Salutation does not imply any gender of the receiver.

The language in which the salutation is written is also a filter option. It is noted in quote/@xml:id (see above).

Examples of Annotation

Example 1

Salutation is in German, of formal character and does not imply a recognizable gender for both sender and recipient.

<quote xml:lang="deu" ana="#formal #s-n #r-n">Bis dahin empfiehlt sich Ihrem Wohlwollen hochachtungsvoll</quote>

Example 2

Salutation is in German, informal in character and implies that the sender is male and no gender can be specified for the recipient.

<quote xml:lang="deu" ana="#informal #s-m #r-n">Ihr treuer Diener</quote>

Example 3

Salutation is in German, of formal character and implies that the sender is male and the recipient is female.

<quote xml:lang="lat" ana="#formal #s-m #r-f">Gottes Segen über Sie, meine teure Mutter</quote>

Example 4

Salutation is in English, of formal character and implies that the recipient is male while there is no specification of the senders gender.

<quote xml:lang="eng" ana="#formal #s-n #r-m">Dear Sir Faithfully yours</quote>


  • Bürgel, Peter. 1976. „Der Privatbrief. Entwurf eines heuristischen Modells“. Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 50: 281–97.
  • Elspaß, Stephan. 2011. Sprachgeschichte von unten. Untersuchungen zum geschriebenen Alltagsdeutsch im 19. Jahrhundert. Reihe Germanistische Linguistik 263. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Ermert, Karl. 1979. Briefsorten : Untersuchungen zu Theorie und Empirie der Textklassifikation. Reihe germanistische Linguistik 20. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  • Nickisch, Reinhard M. G. 1991. Brief. Sammlung Metzler. Realien zur Literatur, Bd. 260. Stuttgart: Metzler.
  • Reinlein, Tanja. 2003. Der Brief als Medium der Empfindsamkeit: erschriebene Identitäten und Inszenierungspotentiale. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.
  • TEI Consortium (Hg.). 2018. TEI P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange. [Version 3.3.0 vom 31. Januar 2018]. TEI Consortium. http://www.tei-c.org/Guidelines/P5/.


© Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften 2018

  • Code: LGPL 3.0
  • Documentation: CC BY 4.0
  • Data Textcorpus (in app/data): see above under textcorpus and metadata in the files