3.484 return and report (56)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 24 Sep 89 11:09:32 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 484. Sunday, 24 Sep 1989.

Date: 24 September 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Return and report

I have just returned from Oxford, where I attended the New Oxford
English Dictionary Conference and used a few of the splendid libraries
there. The mailing from Humanist that will shortly follow is somewhat of
a jumble, for which I apologize. Unfortunately jet-lagging or simple
exhaustion kept me from Humanist longer than I had anticipated, so
the mail has piled up and has had to be handled in rather more of a
hurry than usual.

Since a driving need to plunder the libraries in the short time I had
kept me from attending all of the Conference, I am in no position to
report on it fairly. I trust some other Humanist will do that for us.
All reports and my somewhat limited experience agree, however, that it
was very successful and well attended by North Americans as well as
Europeans. The organizers' wisdom in arranging for this conference to
alternate between Waterloo, Ontario (where it had exclusively been held
up to now), and Oxford, U.K., has been more than adequately demonstrated.

Of the papers I heard at the Conference or read in the Proceedings,
those by Donald Walker ("Developing Lexical Resources"), Martin Kaye
("The Concrete Lexicon and the Abstract Dictionary"), and Frank Tompa
("What is [tagged] text?") interested me in particular. Others may have
a different selection. Of the ones I have noted, I was especially
engaged by Walker's. His discussion of the "ecology of language, that
is, the relation between particular uses of language and the contexts in
which they occur" (p. 15) has some non-trivial implications for the
relationship between theories of literary allusion and the work of the
Text Encoding Initiative, for example.

During the Conference, members of the TEI met at some length, and I had
the opportunity to discuss its work with them. I learned that since the
infrastructure of the TEI has been set up, its members are now welcoming
vigorous discussion on all matters related to the markup of texts,
literary and otherwise. Those of us computing humanists who care about
what tools we may be given to handle the texts we love would be well
advised to get involved, even if only as a participant in electronic
discussions on the subject.

For more information, contact Michael Sperberg-McQueen, U35395@UICVM,
who I trust will refresh our memories about what kinds of involvement
are possible.

Willard McCarty