6.0332 IU Libraries Electronic Text Support (1/121)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Sat, 31 Oct 1992 18:17:47 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0332. Saturday, 31 Oct 1992.

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 92 13:14:09 EST
From: Dorothy Day <DAY@ucs.indiana.edu>
Subject: IULibraries Electronic Text Support

Forwarded Message:

IUL Electronic Text Support


BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-- The Indiana University Libraries have
recently established a Library Electronic Text Resource Service
(LETRS) to provide a focus for the increasing number of faculty
and students in the humanities who need to work with scholarly
texts in electronic form. Printed scholarly texts traditionally
have provided readers with culturally significant interpretations
of the human condition and have formed the core subject of study
in the liberal arts, such as history, languages, literature,
philosophy, and religion. It is not surprising, therefore, that
among the first texts to be made available in electronic form and
to be acquired by the IU Libraries are several of these enduring
works, including:

1. the Bible in a variety of English translations and in the
original Greek and Hebrew;
2. the sacred writings of other religions, such as the Islamic
Quran and Hadith;
3. the complete corpus of classical Greek literature from Homer
up to 500 AD;
4. various editions of the complete works of Shakespeare;
5. numerous works by well-known American writers such as
Jefferson, Emerson, Twain, and Cather; and
6. the literary output of many other world-famous authors, such
as the complete works of the German author Johann Wolfgang

Numerous tools in electronic form for aiding scholars and
students in their interpretation of these original sources also
have been acquired. There are four basic types of tools:

1. reference works on computer, such as the Oxford English
Dictionary Second Edition on Compact Disc,
2. writing tools, such as multi-lingual word processors that can
work with a variety of non-Roman scripts;
3. text analysis programs that can manipulate natural language
data and output scholarly aids such as a complete concordance
of all the words used by a particular author; and
4. instructional programs that help students and scholars to
study anything from a single text up to entire languages and
cultures. An example of the later is the recently acquired
multi-media Perseus Compact Disc for the Macintosh that
provides an interactive gateway to ancient Greek literature,
history, art and archaeology.

In addition to facilitating the acquisition of these electronic
texts and tools and the hardware needed to support them, LETRS
also plans to provide:

1. basic assistance to patrons in their use on both PC and
Macintosh computers at its central location in the Reference
Department of the Main Library;
2. faculty and graduate student workshops on available electronic
text resources, as part of the Library's Instruction and
Orientation program;
3. consulations with individuals on scholarly research projects;
4. development of campus wide network access to electronic texts
when and where feasible.

According to Mark Day, LETRS Coordinator in the Reference
Department, these plans represent Stage One of a long term
development and involve participation of the IU LIBRARIES as a
local node in a growing national network that is currently being

With an interest in making Indiana University a leading member of
this developing national network, Mr. Day was selected as one of
thirty-eight individual librarians, teachers, and computer
experts to participate in the first CETH (Center for Electronic
Texts in the Humanities) Summer Seminar held at Princeton
University from August 9 to 21. Jointly sponsored by the Center
for Computing in the Humanities (CCH), University of Toronto,
this seminar addressed the wide range of challenges and
opportunities that electronic texts and software offer to
teachers, researchers, and librarians with an emphasis on
practical methodological benefits, problems, and solutions.

CETH was established in October 1991 by Rutgers and Princeton
Universities (with support from the Mellon Foundation and the
NEH) as a national center for the purpose of facilitating the
creation, dissemination, and use of electronic texts in the
humanities. The new director of CETH, Susan Hockey, developer of
the well-known Oxford Concordance Program, was one of several
distinguished scholars who organized and taught workshops at the
seminar. At the conclusion of the seminar, the participants
expressed their enthusiastic support for several initiatives
planned by CETH. These initiatives include:

1. maintenance of an inventory of computer readable texts;
2. promotion of standards for cataloging and coding texts;
3. serving as an acquisition and distribution center for text
4. acting as a clearinghouse for information about electronic
texts; and
5. providing more educational programs such as the seminar to
advance the skills and knowledge of those working with
electronic texts.

All of these initiatives require the cooperation of local
services such as LETRS to succeed. If they succeed, the future
looks bright for those interested in utilizing the latest
computer technology both to preserve the great works of human
culture and to expand our understanding of them.

For further information, contact:

Mark T. Day
Reference Department
Indiana University Library
Bloomington IN 47405
Internet: daym@ucs.indiana.edu