11.0018 editing for computers?

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Sat, 10 May 1997 19:06:36 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 18.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 13:28:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ian Lancashire <ian@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: do we edit for computers to read?

Recently at a meeting of an editorial advisory committee,
an earnest colleague stated that we must edit etexts so that a
computer can read them.

I think we should edit etexts so that people can read them.

E.g., (what may have risen rise to the remark), if a poet
numbers stanzas with roman numerials, are editors of etexts
obliged to convert them to arabic form? or should the
writers of software be obliged to make software that can
read roman numerals, as people can?

Pre-computing editors "tagged" texts in many ways--by assigning
line numbers, variant readings, commentary, titles, etc. Should
we not ask for browsing software that recognizes human tagging
conventions, rather than require humans to recast such "tags" in
a "computer-readable" form?

Ian Lancashire
University of Toronto
E-mail: ian@chass.utoronto.ca
URL: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~ian/index.html