4.0823 Offline 31 (1/408)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Sun, 9 Dec 90 17:57:07 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0823. Sunday, 9 Dec 1990.

Date: Thursday, 6 December 1990 1937-EST
Subject: OFFLINE 31

<<O F F L I N E 3 1>>
coordinated by Robert Kraft, with Tzvee Zahavy and Alexander Luc
[06 December 1990 Draft, copyright Robert Kraft]
[HUMANIST 07 December 1990]
[Religious Studies News 6.1 (January 1991)]
[CSSR Bulletin 20.1 (February 1991)]
[coding: <h>...</h> (heading), <sh>...</sh> (subheading),
<t>...</t> (book title)]

<h>In Transition</h>

Once again, this OFFLINE column represents the efforts of
more than its coordinating editor, and is the first installment
generated by a newly developing "editorial board" (initially R.
Kraft, T. Zahavy, R. Cover, S. Bjorndahl, D. Westblade). The
amount of information available to us that would interest OFFLINE
readers is overwhelming, so we have selected items that hopefully
will span a variety of concerns, especially among students of
"biblical literature," but also far beyond. We will continue to
attempt to strike a balance between the relatively elementary and
the more advanced aspects of computer assisted research. It is
heartening to find that the recently released <t>Critical Review
of Books in Religion 1990</t> from AAR/SBL (Scholars Press, 1990)
includes review articles entitled "Beyond Word Processing," by
John J. Hughes, and "The Computer as a Tool for Research and
Communication in Religious Studies," by Andrew Scrimgeour. Not
only do these articles contain valuable detailed information that
goes far beyond what OFFLINE can provide, but they represent
steps in the direction of evaluating electronic tools and
resources in the same context as more traditional hardcopy
materials. Thank you, Beverly Gaventa and your editorial board!

As will be clear from Tzvee Zahavy's report on New Orleans,
a great deal is happening even in the relatively circumscribed
area of biblical studies. More and more people are using the
available electronic data in more and more ways. New data is
appearing, older materials are being updated (e.g. an extensively
corrected version of the CATSS Septuagint Morphological Analysis
is now being distributed). Success has caused some problems --
e.g. the PHI/CCAT CD-ROM containing Latin and Biblical materials
is "sold out," and hopefully will be reissued in expanded forms
soon. New hardware and software promise more power and ease, but
sometimes require older approaches to be adjusted -- e.g. the IBM
DOS users can use the new Windows architecture to do what has
long been possible on the Apple Macintosh, but much of the older
software must be rewritten to run under Windows. Relatively newer
technologies are now becoming commonplace -- e.g. CD-ROM readers
and software for both IBM and Mac can do many of the things that
were conveniently possible only on IBYCUS a few years ago.
Advances in scanning technology promise (but don't always
fulfil!) to lighten the burdens of data encoding and versatility
of coverage (e.g. graphics for photos, etc.). Video and sound are
more easily integrated with more static visual data and will
rapidly become more interesting to today's computer users, and
part of the new "electronic textbooks" that will be produced (see
Harvard's PERSEUS Project as an example).

OFFLINE will try to keep you in touch, but cannot possibly
do so in a timely manner or in adequate depth or breadth. If you
can connect to the electronic networks, the good news is that you
will have immediate access to all sorts of information and
resources to help you in the transition to this new world. The
bad news is that you may have to adjust your usual modes of
operation, to be more strict in setting priorities, more
selective in how to invest your electronic time, if you want to
avoid being inundated during this period of immense transition.
By knowing how to contact persons and groups who share your
interests (e.g. through the discussion groups listed below), your
work will hopefully be facilitated and important progress will be
made in various areas of scholarly research. And when you are
appropriately connected to the online resources, OFFLINE will no
longer be needed as a transitional aide. That is one of our

<h>Report on New Orleans, by Tzvee Zahavy</h>

I've just returned from New Orleans, site of the November
1990 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and
Society of Biblical Literature. Here is some news concerning
computer developments, most of it garnered from visits to the
exhibition booths or from the sessions of the Computer Assisted
Research Group. First, on the commercial front, new versions of
the Multi-Lingual Scholar (MLS) and Nota Bene (NB) word
processors for IBM DOS type systems are soon to be released. MLS
has a Windows-like interface with pull down menus and fantastic
graphical capabilities. Linda Brandt of Gamma Software
demonstrated how you could even change the menu language to
hieroglyphics if you so desired. NB (Dragonfly Software), on the
other hand, will be the fastest and most flexible integrated
multi-language processor. With its IBID bibliography program,
look out journals! Here come the articles with really extensive
footnotes! And you will never have to retype an entry. You just
push a few keys and my word... there is the citation snatched
from your bibliography database into in your manuscript.

Both MLS and NB have been among the leaders in the ability
to integrate and display (on screen and printer) Hebrew and Greek
along with English, and both are authorized distributors of the
electronic biblical texts managed by the Center for Computer
Analysis of Texts (CCAT) at the University of Pennsylvania. One
stop shopping thus is possible for some users! Other vendors with
similarly integrated text-with-software services who exhibited in
New Orleans include, for IBM DOS type systems, LBase and the
Bible Word Program (see reviews below), GRAMCORD and Paraclete
Software's MegaWriter, and Zondervan's Scripture Fonts; and for
the Apple Macintosh, Linguists' Software.

"Computer Assisted Instruction" (CAI) software has
progressed too. Most of the products demonstrated were authored
by professors as a "hobby." In one CARG panel presentation and
discussion the participants from several universities (including
yours truly from Minnesota) spoke honestly and openly about the
strengths and weaknesses of their efforts. The CAI tools
developed were divided evenly between Mac and IBM and focused
especially on teaching Hebrew and Greek. The investment costs for
development ranged from $1.50 for one Mac program (not counting
faculty time invested, of course) to $90,000 for a four program
IBM based series of CAI tools (leaving aside faculty effort, but
factoring in the value of hardware received, program design and
programmer costs -- this was our U of M project, MILIM). In the
CARG plenary session on CAI, the audience was treated to
specific descriptions and examples of (1) the use of Apple
Macintosh "hypercard stacks" for research and instructional
purposes, by Raymond Harder, (2) the use of interactive video for
teaching language and other courses (e.g. History of Egypt, Life
of Jesus), by Jay Treat for CCAT at UPenn, and (3) the
development of NT Greek instruction programs on IBM DOS
equipment, by John Hurd (Greek TUTOR program, UToronto).

On the computer-aided-research side, some projects appear to
be stalled. Others are making nice progress. A group of reports
from ongoing projects was compiled and distributed in hardcopy by
J. Alan Groves of Westminster Theological Seminary and brief oral
reports were given as well on such projects as the following:


Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (Hebrew Union Col/Johns Hopkins U)
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Sheffield U)
Hebrew Lexicon (Princeton Th Sem)

<sh>Encoding, Tagging and Maintaining Textual Data</sh>

BHS Morphological Tagging (Westminster Th Sem)
CATAB Hebrew/Masoretic Materials (U Villeurbanne [France])
Werkgroep Informatica [BHS] (Free U [Amsterdam])
Biblia Hebraica Transcripta (U Munich)
Qumran Non-biblical Texts (Princeton Th Sem)
CCAT/Tools for Septuagint Studies (CATSS; U Pennsylvania, Hebrew U)
DEBORA, Centre Informatique et Bible (Maredsous)
GRAMCORD Institute Peshitta Project (Trinity Evang Div School)
Hebrew and Jewish Inscriptions Project (Cambridge U)
Rock Inscriptions and Graffiti Project (Hebrew U)
Mesopotamian Literature (UCLA)
Armenian Literature Data Base (Leiden U, Hebrew U)
Thesaurus Linguae Graece (U California at Irvine)
Oxford Text Archives (Oxford U)
Biblical Research Associates (Wooster College)

<sh>Software Development, Data Integration</sh>

Archaeological Data Base Management (Harvard U)
GRAMCORD (Trinity Evang Div School)
LBase [see review below]
CATSS Base (Hebrew U)
CDWord [see OFFLINE 30] (Dallas Th Sem)
Project CONSTRUE for Greek (U Manchester [England])
SEARCHER for Greek & Latin CDs (U California at Santa Barbara)

The general mood of the computer types was mixed. Some
people showed the frayed edges of the fast paced world of
technology change. Indeed it is virtually impossible to keep up
with the deluge of new and always faster hardware products and
the ever growing software list. It seems unlikely that generalist
types will be able to stay abreast of the field much longer.
Active colleagues testified that the involvement in serious
projects requires more than a full-time commitment.

Many new faces surfaced at meetings of the computer oriented
content. That bodes well for future growth and momentum. From the
meeting we observe that the computer has moved from the category
of exotic new gadget into the classification as one of the
powerful, and perhaps indispensable, tools available to scholars
in the humanities.

<h>LBase and Bible Word Program: Guest Reviews by Alex Luc
(Columbia Biblical Seminary, Columbia SC)</h>

Published concordances for the original Hebrew and Greek
texts of the Bible or extra-biblical material generally provide
only brief contexts for the word we look for, and rarely have
entries for idioms or longer phrases. With the help of computer
programs, such searches have become simple and the desired
results can often be obtained in minutes.

My own teaching and research have been greatly helped by
learning to use such tools. I have been able to produce more
easily than before handouts for my students with elaborate
evidence of the versions or the original texts to help them
follow the arguments of my lectures. In dealing with literary or
theological theories and arguments, computer research has also
enabled me to evaluate or verify quickly the evidence to which
they appeal. Our interpretation of ancient texts depends so much
on evidence from a large number of primary sources. We need
evidence produced not only by searching a word or idiom but by
searching into the grammatical and stylistic phenomena of these
texts. This can all be done now within a short time by using the
computer -- e.g. searches to find out how often in the Greek
biblical texts (LXX or NT) a preposition is followed by an
article then a verb, or how common is the phenomenon of having
any two verbs immediately adjacent to each other. For those who
have never performed such searches and yet have access to a
Personal Computer (IBM DOS compatible), the following two
programs may deserve your consideration.

(1) At the present, the most useful program I find for the
above purposes is LBase, a multilingual database program
developed by John Baima of Silver Mountain Software (7246
Cloverglen Drive, Dallas TX 75249; 214 709-6364;
SILVER@UTAFIL.LONESTAR.ORG). Its new version 5.0 includes several
important improved features. LBase is designed for reading and
searching literary texts, texts that are in Roman or non-Roman
(including Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek) scripts. LBase turns the
available transliterated biblical or extra-biblical texts into
their original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek scripts for viewing or
for comparing different texts with each other on screen. You can
leisurely search and display a word or phrase with a screenful
of context for each of its occurrences. Or you can do a fast
search (e.g., about one minute for the whole Bible) and then
print the results on a dot matrix printer (or a laser printer
with an appropriate wordprocessor). And LBase can work either
from materials on floppy or hard disk, or from CD-ROM.

From the appropriately tagged biblical texts, which are also
available through LBase, the program can display and explain the
parsing information for the verbs, nouns, etc., of the LXX, the
Greek NT and the Hebrew Bible. As mentioned earlier, you can also
search for grammatical and stylistic phenomena in these texts.
Moreover, by just typing in the root form of a word, you can have
all the occurrences of the word in its various forms along with
their contexts. This ability to perform such advanced grammatical
searches is still relatively rare in available computer systems
of which I am aware. You may also use LBase to view or search the
Hebrew parallels of any term in the LXX and vice versa, or to
look up a Greek dictionary entry while viewing the texts
themselves. If you have access to a CD-ROM drive, you can view or
search with speed the huge collections of the TLG (Thesaurus
Linguae Graecae, all Greek literature to the 6th century CE), PHI
(Packard Humanities Institute, classical Latin Literature, Greek
papyri and inscriptions), and CCAT (Center for Computer Analysis
of Texts, biblical and related materials in various languages)

In previous versions, the power of LBase has been partly
compromised by the complicated steps one must go through to use
it. Its manuals had been written more for advanced users than for
beginners. The new version has simplified some of the steps but
how simplified its manual will be remains to be seen. Having been
involved in helping others to learn to use this software, I
composed my own short manual for beginners, which is available to
anyone interested (please supply a stamped [75] and self-addressed
envelope, size 6" x 9" or larger; send to Alex Luc, Columbia
Biblical Seminary, P.O.Box 3122, Columbia SC 29230).

(2) Another useful software product is the Bible Word
Program developed by James Akiyama and distributed by
Hermeneutika (PO Box 98563, Seattle WA 98198; 1-800-55BIBLE). It
comes with the program disk and the Greek texts of the LXX and
the NT, the texts of the Hebrew Bible (BHS), RSV and KJV. I was
informed that the NIV will also be available soon. Unlike LBase,
which is a very flexible database system, the Bible Word Program
can search only texts that come with it, that have been
transformed into its own specific format. For those who are
satisfied with just doing word or phrase search with these texts
and not searches into their grammatical and stylistic phenomena
(or searches into the large collections of extra-biblical texts),
the Bible Word Program may be sufficient.

The price of the Bible Word Program is comparatively lower
than LBase and it is easier to use. Though limited, it has two
useful features that are not available in LBase: First, after
searching the Hebrew text, for instance, for a certain word or
phrase, you can create an index of all the verses found and use
it to bring in immediately all the verses of the same references
from the text of the LXX (or RSV or KJV); secondly, you can use
the index editor in the program to compile and print out a list
of Bible texts by simply typing in the references of the verses
you want. These features, however, should not be the primary
reasons for you to choose this program over LBase, especially if
you are not sure whether you will eventually need to do searches
into the grammatical and stylistic phenomena or into the many
extra-biblical texts available.

<h>Pot-Pourri: "Scholarly" Electronic Discussion Groups</h>

One vivid illustration of the rapid domestication of
computerized discussion and research is the proliferation of
"scholarly discussion groups" on the University-centered
electronic networks, especially BITNET. It has recently been
estimated that throughout the electronic world of commercial
networks there are perhaps 50,000 "Bulletin Board Services" (BBS)
covering virtually any subject! Some of them are also of direct
and obvious academic quality and use, but for the moment the
discussion will focus upon groups produced primarily by and for
academic audiences in the humanities (with representative samples
from social sciences as well), and thus of special interest to
students of religion in its various aspects.

If you have access to BITNET or to INTERNET, consult your
local support staff on exactly how to access any of these
addresses -- the process differs slightly from system to system.
For some details about getting connected, see also OFFLINE 29 and
30. Once you are connected, such discussion groups as are listed
below are available. Some are "unmonitored," which means that any
message you send (intentionally or, sometimes, by mistake!) gets
published to the entire list automatically, while messages to
"monitored" groups are filtered by human editors. The following
list is illustrative, and is surely out of date almost from the
moment of capture. BITNET addresses are normally provided, but
the groups can also usually be reached from the INTERNET (consult
local gurus) and/or from some other networks. More current
information is available by checking such lists and services as:
NEWLIST-L@INDYCMS for new science & technology lists;
NETMONTH from BITLIB@YALEVM for new lists as they appear;
and on the INTERNET, SERVICE@NIC.DDN.MIL for its List of Lists
(= SIGLIST). You can also contact the ListServ(er) at your local
node for its "global" list of available lists.

List Address Subject Matter of Group
(BITNET unless (selected social science and
otherwise noted) new technology groups included)
------------ ----------------------
ANSAX-L@WVNVM Anglo-Saxon studies
ANTHRO-L@UBVM Anthropology
BIOMED-L@NDSUVM1 Biomedical Ethics
BUDDHIST@JPNTOHOK Indian & Buddhist Studies
C18-L@PSUVM 18th Century Interdisciplinary discussion
Comserve Hotlines Several discussion groups on Communication,
@RPIECS such as: ETHNO(methodology), INTERCUL(tural
Commun.), PHIL(osophy of)COMM(unication),
all of them accessed @RPIECS
CRTNET@PSUVM Communication Research and Theory network
EDTECH@OHSTVMA Educational Technology
ENGLISH@UTARLVM1 Departments of English discussion
ENVBEH-L@POLYGRAF Environmental Behavior
ERL-L@TCSVM Educational Research
FICINO@UTORONTO Centre for Reformation & Renaissance Studies
FWAKE-L@IRLEARN Discusses James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake
HEGEL@VILLVM Hegel Society discussion
HUMANIST@BROWNVM General Humanities & Computing Focus (moderated)
INDOLOGY@LIVERPOOL.ac.uk (JANET list) Languages & Cultures of India
IOUDAIOS@YORKVM1 Judaism in the Greco-Roman World
JUDAICA@UMINN1 Jewish Studies
LITERARY@UIUCVME Contemporary Literature
MBU-L@TTUVM1 On teaching college composition
NL-KR@CS.ROCHESTER.EDU (Internet) Natural Language & Knowledge
NSP-L@RPIECS Philosophy (Noble Savage Philosophers)
PHILOS-L@LIVERPOOL.ac.uk (on British JANET) Philosophy
PMC-TALK@NCSUVM Post-Modern Culture
PRST-L@UMCVMB Political Science Research and Teaching (moderated)
PSYCH@TCSVM Psychology
REED-L@UTORONTO Records of Early English Drama discussion
RELIGION@HARVARDA Comparative Religion, World Religions [new 1991]
SBRHYM-L@SBCCVM SUNY/Stony Brook Literary Underground
sci.lang Linguistics (USENET Unix group)
SLART-L@PSUVM Second Language Aquisition Research/Training
TEI-L@UICVM International Text Encoding Initiative
WHIM@TAMVM1 Humor Studies
WORDS-L@YALEVM English language

<h>Preparing for Kansas City</>

In keeping with the growing interest in new developments in
communication and data availability, the CARG Steering Committee
(now headed by Robin Cover and Raymond Harder) has announced the
following theme for the November 1991 CARG plenary session in
Kansas City, at the AAR/SBL/ASOR meetings:
Academic Networking and Data Interchange:
Text Encoding, File Conversion and Electronic Mail.
Your comments and suggestions for enhancing the usefulness of
this program are most warmly solicited.


Please send information, suggestions or queries concerning
OFFLINE to Robert A. Kraft, Box 36 College Hall, University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104-6303. Telephone (215) 898-
5827. BITNET address: KRAFT@PENNDRLS (for INTERNET add
.UPENN.EDU). To request printed information or materials from
OFFLINE, please supply an appropriately sized, self-addressed
envelope or an address label. A complete electronic file of
OFFLINE columns is available upon request (for IBM/DOS, Mac, or
IBYCUS), or from the HUMANIST discussion group FileServer