3.286 grammar checkers; bib utilities (153)

Wed, 26 Jul 89 08:30:04 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 286. Wednesday, 26 Jul 1989.

(1) Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 07:29:26 EDT (34 lines)
From: "Eric Johnson DSU, Madison, SD 57042" <ERIC@SDNET.bitnet>
Subject: Grammar and style checkers

(2) Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 08:11:51 EDT (55 lines)
From: David.A.Bantz@mac.Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: Re: 3.281 NB bib utility? (74)

(3) Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 14:53 EDT (39 lines)
Subject: bibliography software

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 07:29:26 EDT
From: "Eric Johnson DSU, Madison, SD 57042" <ERIC@SDNET.bitnet>
Subject: Grammar and style checkers

As the creator of a grammar and style checker (StrongWriter), I think
I understand why Michael Hart got the results he did from Grammatik III.

Grammar and style checkers are intended to analyze files consisting of
a few hundred words, and should function the same on several thousand words.
However, if a checker is given a whole novel consisting of thousands of
sentences, it is difficult to know what will result. The sentence count
provided by Grammatic III will probably be correct if it is given only a
chapter of _Alice_in_Wonderland_ rather than the whole novel at once.

Single quotation marks are a problem. Since the same character is also
an apostrophe, it must be included in the definition of a word such as
CAN'T, but the program must be written in such a way that the single
quotation mark is not considered part of a word if the word happens to
be the first found within single quotation marks ( I remember saying
"He called 'Help me!'" the word is HELP and not 'HELP.)

Replacing commas with periods in a text should reduce the grade
level, since readability is based (in part) on sentence length. However,
the end of a sentence is recognized not only as having a period (or other
terminal punctuation) but as a period and two spaces. Therefore, changing
commas to periods should increase the sentence count only when the
commas were as the ends of lines.

Grammar and style checkers are of value to student writers because
they point out common blunders and make suggestions for revision. As a
writing teacher, I believe any program that turns writers' attention back
for additional revision is helpful.

Eric Johnson ERIC@SDNET
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------68----
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 08:11:51 EDT
From: David.A.Bantz@mac.Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: Re: 3.281 author, author? NB bib utility? (74)

--- James Woolley asked several good questions regarding Nota Bene
bibliography utility which a previous contribution praised to the heavens. I
thought readers might like answers for End Note & Microsoft Word, a package we
are providing at Dartmouth for combined price of $105:

--Will it generate footnotes? Most of the world still uses
footnotes, MLA notwithstanding.

> Footnotes may appear either at the bottom of the page or directly under the
text; end notes may be gathered at chapter or section breaks, or at the end of
the entire document.

--Will I be able to construct my own style sheet, in effect,
if I'm using, say, (British) Oxford University Press style, or
MHRA Style Book style?

> Yes. You may also define various types of references (software, unpublished
conference proceedings, etc. as opposed to monographs, journal articles and
the like) which have their own formats. Bibliographies may be numbered or

--How will I bring a given bibliography entry into a paper I'm working on?

> Open the EndNote desk accessory (if it isn't already open) by choosing
EndNote from the DA menu; you will have a window with author/title list of
your references (since it is a desk accessory, you have not quit your word
processing application or closed the document). Select the proper reference
by clicking on it, or use EndNote's Find command to search for any portion of
the reference, including your notes. You can select multiple references.
Choose "Copy", return to the paper you're writing and choose "Paste;" the
referece(s) is (are) inserted into the text. (They can be automatically
formatted according to various styles for references later.)

--How much memory will this utility require? how much disk space?

> The Desk Accessory used while writing is 105K; the application, used to edit
or create styles, & maintain your master bibliograpy, is 203K (with all the
supplied styles). You need some space for the bibliography per se, of course.

--Is there any limit on the length of fields?

> I'm not sure; probably 32K.

--Do I correctly understand that this utility capitalizes words
in titles as a given style requires?

> You type in the title; EndNote doesn't know how to change capitalization.
It is possible to get around this by creating an alternative title field, but
this is, obviously, less than ideal.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------43----
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 89 14:53 EDT
Subject: bibliography software

I ask a bibliography program to do two things: 1) to produce bibliographies
in many formats from a single bibliography database, and 2) to extract from
a large bibliography database only those entries I happen to cite in the
article at hand.

Scribe can do both of these in the VMS world, and so can Bibtex (which seems
to be an extension of LaTeX). Nota Bene seems to be designed to do what
Scribe does, but in the DOS world. Pro-Tem software has a program called
Bibliography, which does both of these tasks in the cp/m world. The last of
these is very cheap--Spite Software in Oregon is selling it at fire-sale prices,
perhaps because CP/M is such a dead horse.

You can do the first task, but not the second, with Wordperfect and even
with Wordstar. All you have to do is to imagine the bibliography as a
mailmerge file, with the bibliographic database as the "address list," and
a user-defined entry-template as the "letter." All you need to do is to
tell the program that you don't want any headers or footers on the pages, no
carriage returns, and a page length of six or seven lines (just as you would
if you were printing mailing labels) with no page numbers.

You can kludge together a bibliography maintenance facility with any text
formatter that will permit you to 1. define a string for substitution (as in
mailmerging) and 2. call in a file (as in mailmerging). I am now writing a
guide to producing bibliographies in many formats from one bibliographic
database file using the public domain formatter Roff4. My method is a
bit cumbersome, but Roff4 is free. I'll gladly send a copy to anyone who
is interested. (I have also written macros to enable Roff4 to format large
documents such as dissertations and books, making tables of contents, endnotes,
forward and backward cross-references, etc.)

John Burt
Department of English
Brandeis University