11.0377 on TeX

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Sat, 1 Nov 1997 17:05:12 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 377.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 11:33:57 +0900 (JST)
From: Michael Guest <guest@ia.inf.shizuoka.ac.jp>
Subject: More TeX and LaTeX

Thanks for the link on TeX posted recently. Here are some more on LaTex,
the friendly derivative with erotic connotations:

LaTex Help: http://www.sci.usq.edu.au/staff/robertsa/LaTeX/latex2e.html

Text Processing using LaTeX:

Hypertext Help with LaTeX:

Help by Subject, Command or Environment:

I've set a couple of documents after only a couple of weeks on and off
activity, using links such as these, related ftp downloads and consultation
of Leslie Lamport's _Latex User's Guide and Reference Manual_
(Addison-Wesley: 1986).

The reason I had to begin was involvement in the editorial board of a
journal with a lot of hard scientific and mathematical as well as
humanistic input, in Japanese and English and European languages. TeX and
LaTeX are very good for typesetting high-quality documents with
mathematical text (LaTeX is a compilation of a lot of macros that simplify
TeX, so you don't have to be so concerned with formatting).

What I've found to be exciting from a humanistic point of view is how
mathematical, scientific and optical etc. journals are increasingly using
LaTeX templates to accept submissions. That is, anyone who wants to submit
simply downloads the appropriate style-template and uses it to format the
paper. The resulting submission is stylistically spot-on and the whole
editing process is much simplified. Of course, this is great for the
complex formulae and so on that such journals require.

But I believe it's also the future for more humanistic journals. Wouldn't
you feel less anxious about the presentation of your work if you simply fit
it into a style template that you knew was absolutely sound and just had to
fire it off by email (having previewed its appearance in a "device
independent" viewer)? The related beauty of the system is that it works to
a great extent across platforms because the initial formatting is all done
in plain text files. Furthermore, the structuring of a LaTeX document is
highly logically as opposed to aesthetically based, which might benefit the
style of many humanistic submissions. Resulting postscript files can also
be distributed via www and viewed with postscript viewers, thus obviating
the need for html transcription.

I don't believe that such a system would be repressive to the creativity in
any way, either, while it imposed a certain stylistic rigour. I think that
all sorts of creative applications will emerge as TeX/LaTeX makes its way
into arts and humanities studies.

There's not much around on humanistic LaTex at present. I'd be most
grateful for any advice or practical reference (particularly to templates
etc; I probably know most of the print references--for others, they're
available at the cited links). Do you think I'm off-beam about what I see
as an enormous arts/humanistic potential of TeX/LaTeX?

Michael Guest

Humanist Discussion Group
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>