10.0054 text analysis software for the humanities

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Fri, 24 May 1996 17:31:50 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 54.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Susan Hockey <hockey@rci.rutgers.edu> (47)
Subject: Text Analysis Software for the Humanities

[2] From: Michael Sperberg-McQueen (9)
Subject: text analysis software planning meeting

Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 09:27:35 -0400
From: Susan Hockey <hockey@rci.rutgers.edu>
Subject: Text Analysis Software for the Humanities

For some time, those of us active in humanities computing have felt
the need for better and/or more widely accessible text analysis software
tools for the humanities. There have been informal discussions about
this at a number of meetings, but so far no substantial long-term plan
has emerged to clarify exactly what those needs are and to identify what
could to be done to ensure that humanities scholars have
readily-available text analysis tools to serve their computing needs
into the next century.

In order to get something moving on this topic, the Center for Electronic
Texts in the Humanities (CETH) convened a meeting on 17-19 May 1996 at
which some developers of humanities text analysis software and a number of
other interested humanities computing practitioners from several countries
gathered to examine the matter in more detail. The invitation to the meeting
outlined the following topics which might need to be addressed in any such

* determine the community of users (audience) for humanities text analysis
software, in terms of who they are, what facilities they have access to,
and what other factors will affect their computing needs in the future

* clarify what functionality exists in current tools (TACT, OCP, TUSTEP,
Monoconc, Opentext, SARA, LEXA etc)

* specify what functionality future scholars might need

* determine whether SGML should form the basic encoding scheme for any
future text analysis software development efforts

* review possible architectures for a set of text analysis tools

* identify what other software used in humanities computing might
need to interact with text analysis software

The meeting came to a consensus that something does indeed need to be done
and identified the following major topics on which work is needed:

(1) Analysis of the needs of humanities scholars

(2) More detailed study and analysis of existing software

(3) Guidelines for the interoperability of a set of platform-independent
tools that would be modular and extensible

For this effort to succeed, it must involve the participation of
the relevant user communities as much as possible. This announcement
is the first step to inviting that participation. In the next few months
a form must be found for organizing work in this area, and support
found to co-ordinate it and keep it moving on an international basis.
For the time being HUMANIST will be used to disseminate information
and act as forum for discussion related to the effort.

Susan Hockey
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities

Susan Hockey, Director, Center for Electronic Texts in the
Humanities, 169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
phone (908) 932-1384; fax (908) 932-1386
E-mail: hockey@rci.rutgers.edu

Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 09:13:29 -0400
From: Michael Sperberg-McQueen <U35395%UICVM.BitNet@pucc.Princeton.EDU>
Subject: text analysis software planning meeting

Readers of Humanist whose interest is piqued by Susan Hockey's
announcement of the meeting recently held at Princeton to discuss
text analysis software, and who wish to know more about the
meeting, may be interested in a trip report describing it, which can
be retrieved from




The former, if you have Panorama; the latter, if you don't.

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen