8.0067 S/W Qs: Text Databases; Search Engines (2/85)

Tue, 21 Jun 1994 22:38:04 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0067. Tuesday, 21 Jun 1994.

(1) Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 21:14:07 -0400 (EDT) (64 lines)
From: Andrew Burday <andy@dep.philo.mcgill.ca>
Subject: Text databases

(2) Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 09:39:59 -0500 (CDT) (21 lines)
From: anixon@carleton.edu (Andrea Nixon)
Subject: Looking for information on search engines for use with TLG

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 21:14:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: Andrew Burday <andy@dep.philo.mcgill.ca>
Subject: Text databases

Hello All.

I'd like to start using my computer for most of my note-taking
activities; in particular, keeping notes on the articles and books
I've read. I've got too many notebooks lying around, and it's too
hard to find things in them. (I've never been a fan of index cards.)
So what I'm looking for is a good way to keep databases of text, in
such a way that they can be searched and displayed in whatever form is
most useful for the moment. What I need is DOS or MS Windows software
that will let me conveniently enter and flexibly manipulate my notes.
Ideally each record would have multiple fields for author, title,
journal, etc., plus a variable-length field for the actual notes.
I've had several ideas and suggestions. I would be very grateful for
any feedback or further suggestions. I'd also appreciate any
suggestions about where to look for further information: perhaps
comp.text, or one of the c.os.dos.apps or comp.os.ms-windows.apps
groups? Any other suggestions?

Here's what I've come up with so far.

(1) Get a copy of DOS PERL (apparently there is such a thing) and just
write the database entry forms and search routines myself. Frankly, this
is a lot more work than I want to put in right now. I don't even know
PERL yet.

(2) Get WordPerfect 6 and rely on its file indexing capacities. Two
problems: first, there would be no way to create multiple-field records.
And second, I just don't like what I've read and heard about WP 6, and the
couple of times I've tried it I've been distinctly underwhelmed.

(3) Get a product called "ZyIndex". The person who told me about this
didn't seem to know very much about it except that it does approximately
the same thing as the NeXTSTEP Digital Librarian: ie, it takes plain text
files and indexes them to allow for quick searches. Can anyone tell me
more about it? Does it allow multiple fields to be associated in a single
record? Any idea what it costs? Has anyone used it -- if so, did you
like it?

(4) Get a product called 'AskSam'. This is briefly described in the
latest _PC Magazine_. Based on the description, this sounds like exactly
what I'm looking for. The description is brief, though. Does anyone know
how flexible the search options are? Any opinions on the DOS versus
(brand-new) Windows versions?

I hope this isn't too much of a FAQ. I've been reading Humanist for about a
year and I don't think I've seen a question like this one, although it
seems like a natural question for this list. I'd be happy to summarize
the responses I receive if there's interest.

I have a hardware platform that would be adequate for any of these
solutions: 486sx/25, 8 megs, doublespaced 80 meg hdd -- probably a
larger hdd in the near future.

Thanks in advance.

Andrew Burday

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------37----
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 09:39:59 -0500 (CDT)
From: anixon@carleton.edu (Andrea Nixon)
Subject: Looking for information on search engines for use with TLG and PHI

I am in the market for a search engine for use with the TLG and PHI (TLL)
data on CD-ROM. Any platform will do. Does anyone know of a review of the
various products available? What have your experiences been with these
search engines? Which do you prefer?

Please send all replies to me directly. I would be glad to summarize them
for the list if there is interest.


Andrea Nixon
Academic Computing Coordinator - Humanities and Languages
Carleton College