12.0186 more on the Tagging Challenge

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 1 Sep 1998 23:32:16 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 186.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 10:02:19 -0400
From: "David L. Hoover" <dh3@is.nyu.edu>
Subject: Re: 12.0178 response to Tagging Challenge

Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

> Is there a fundamental and important difference between the close work
> you do with a text when you encode it and the close work you do with a
> text in other ways? Or is it that encoding a text is just one of many
> ways to "get into" a text, and one that just happens to have all the
> added benefits of making it more accessible to others, or using it as a
> focal point for collaboration and teaching? Is there something
> intrinsically valuable about "encoding as performance art?"
> - Hope
> ------------
> hope.greenberg@uvm.edu, U of Vermont, http://www.uvm.edu/~hag
> (and experiments temporarily at

Although I think the jury is still out on whether encoding makes a text
more or less accessible
(at least in the short term), there is surely a value to the encoder that
is difficult to
duplicate in any other way, or at least there should be.

Back in the olden days (1982) when I was writing dBase II programs to
analyze Old English
metrical patterns, I came to the conclusion that one of the main benefits
of doing so (besides
consistency and accuracy) was in the process of setting down my own
knowledge of the text in a
rigorous way (the program as expert system). If encoding a text fosters
that process, more
power to the encoders. Those Humanist readers who've done a significant
amount of encoding will
have to tell us whether the grief was worth it.

David L. Hoover, Assoc. Prof. of Engl.  David.Hoover@nyu.edu  212-998-8832
   Webmaster, NYU English Dept.     http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/english/
            "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
         Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."--Groucho Marx

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