12.0497 announcements

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:11:16 +0000 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 497.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: British National Corpus <natcorp@computing- (84)
Subject: BNC Sampler now available

[2] From: David Green <david@ninch.org> (37)
Subject: Announcing UK Interoperability Focus<fwd>

[3] From: "Philip A. Bralich, Ph.D." <bralich@hawaii.edu> (170)
Subject: Ergo's Patent Publishes

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:03:13 +0000
From: British National Corpus <natcorp@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>
Subject: BNC Sampler now available

[please excuse any cross posting]


I am very pleased to announce that we are now taking orders for copies
of the BNC Sampler, which we expect to start delivering before the end
of March (it is currently being printed). Like all future releases
of the BNC, this is available worldwide.

The BNC Sampler CD contains fully operational versions of four
state-of-the-art text analysis tools together with a 2 million word
balanced corpus of Modern British English, extracted from the British
National Corpus.

The Sampler corpus contains one million words of spoken text and one
million words of written text. In selecting from the BNC, we tried to
preserve the variety of text-types represented, so the Sampler
includes in its 184 texts many different genres of writing and modes of
speech. Full bibliography and documentation is included on the CD, of
course. The corpus is in the same SGML format as the original BNC.

The part of speech annotation applied to the corpus has been
thoroughly revised and checked at the University of Lancaster, using a
more delicate tagset. Some inconsistencies and errors in the text
headers have also been corrected.

The corpus can be processed using any SGML-aware software. A number of
leading software developers have generously contributed fully
functional versions of their products for inclusion with the CD. The
following tools are included:

* Corpus Work Bench (from Arne Fitschen, IMS Stuttgart)

* Qwick, a Java application (from Oliver Mason, University of Birmingham)

* SARA, (the SGML-Aware Retrieval Application developed at Oxford)

* WordSmith Tools (from Mike Scott at Liverpool University)

All of these tools except CWB are designed for 32-bit Windows systems
(i.e. Windows 95, 98, or NT). WordSmith is the only one which will
also run on Windows 3. Qwick has been tested using the Java runtimes
for Solaris and Macintosh as well. CWB is for use in a UNIX
environment; runtimes for Solaris and Linux are provided.

The software included on the CD will work only with the texts on the
CD (i.e. you cannot use the software to access other textbases), but
in all others respects these are fully functioning versions.

Between them, these four software packages offer an impressive range
of different features, and embody interestingly different ways of
doing textual or linguistic analysis on marked-up language
corpora. The size of this corpus means that you (and your students)
can now experiment with these tools on a realistically sized body of
material using an ordinary office or home PC.

The BNC Sampler is priced at 30 pounds each for up to 10
copies. Orders of 11 or more copies receive a 20% discount.

To order copies of the BNC Sampler, please download an order form from
our web site at http://info.ox.ac.uk/bnc/getting/sampler.html
or return the attached order form
to BNC Sales/HCU
13 Banbury Rd
Oxford OX2 6NN, UK

email: natcorp@oucs.ox.ac.uk fax: +44 1865 273 275



Delivery Address:


Please supply me with ____ copies of the BNC Sampler

at unit cost GBP 30 ______

minus discount 20% ______

plus VAT 17.5% ______


NB: 20% discount applies to orders of 11 or more copies.
VAT is payable on all orders within Europe
Postage and packing is free for up to 50 copies within Europe;
up to 10 copies elsewhere. Please contact us for details of other rates.


Payment may be made by cheque or money order in pounds sterling,

Payment in US dollars or Euros is also accepted but please add an
additional 5 GBP bank fee. Please convert at the rates current
when you order.

Payment can also be made using your credit card (MasterCard or VISA only) if
you fill out the following details:

Please charge my credit card the total amount _____________

Card Type:

Card Number ______________________________

Account Name _____________________________

Expiry Date _________________

Account Address ____________________________

Lou Burnard http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lou

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:03:50 +0000
From: David Green <david@ninch.org>
Subject: Announcing UK Interoperability Focus<fwd>

Apologies for any cross-posting

<URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/>

>From the beginning of January 1999, the UK Office for Library and
Information Networking (UKOLN) plays host to the new post of
Interoperability Focus.

This post is jointly funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee
(JISC) of the UK Higher Education Funding Councils and the British
Library's Research and Innovation Centre (BLRIC).

Interoperability Focus will serve to channel knowledge and expertise
related to the effective sharing of information, data, and process between
a wide range of data providers and Gateways from sectors as diverse as
libraries, museums and archives.

As such, Interoperability Focus is concerned with standards developments
such as Dublin Core and Z39.50, as well as with procedural, structural and
semantic issues related to the manner in which data might most usefully be
made available in order to ensure widespread accessibility.

For more information on Interoperability Focus, please visit the web site
<URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/> or contact Paul Miller


-- dr. paul miller - interoperability focus - p.miller@ukoln.ac.uk --
u. k. office for library and information networking (ukoln)
tel: +44 (0)1482 466890 fax: +44 (0)1482 465531
---------------------------- http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/ --

David L. Green
Executive Director
21 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington DC 20036
202/296-5346 202/872-0884 fax

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:04:42 +0000
From: "Philip A. Bralich, Ph.D." <bralich@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Ergo's Patent Publishes

The patent for the tools that create Ergo Linguistic Technologies'
software has just been published by the U.S. Patent Office. Copies
of it can be obtained from them through the usual channels. Many
have asked me to notify them when the patent is published.

The patent description contains a theory of syntax that is far
simpler and far more general than current theories, and more
importantly, that makes software that individuals working with
other theories can only dream of. For examples of the Ergo
software go to http://www.ergo-ling.com.

Probably the strongest recommendation for reading this
patent and studying this theory is the software that it can
create which can be seen at the Ergo web site. Those of you in
industry may want to try and see if you can create similar tools
and still beat the patent. We believe this is not possible, but we
would encourage all to try in the spirit of good sportsmanship.
In academia the very fact that we have a theory that produces
better NLP tools than any other theory calls into question the status of
all other theories of syntax. This is because every theoretical mechanism
ever proposed for a theory of syntax (ours, Chomsky's, or anyone else's)
can, in principle, be implemented in a programming language. Thus, the
clearest judge of the best theory of syntax is the working software
that can be produced from it. I have in the past even argued that until
such time as other theories can do as well or better than we can in this
area, that the Ergo parser should be declared the default standard for
computational linguistics both in academia and in industry. (If anyone
can demonstrate why this should not be the case, I would appreciate seeing
the argument). The Ergo parser provides tools and a parser that can
significantly improve navigation and control devices and question and
answer dialoging software as well as other areas of NLP that require
grammatical analysis. All the demos at the Ergo site are WIN95/8/NT
compatible. Get them and compare them to the software made from other
theories (if they are capable of producing any at all).

Please do not take offense at these rather strongly worded statements.
They are required because the soft sciences do not often have to deal
with clear, incontrovertible evidence of the superiority of other theories
or breakthroughs. In chemistry, for example, if someone creates a better
and cheaper formula for a particular result (say the treatment of a disease),
the new method is adopted and older ones are discarded until such time
as evidence (e.g. the computer program in linguistics) demonstrates

For a discussion and description of standards for the evaluation
of parsers and parsing systems go to
http://www.vrml.org/WorkingGroups/NLP-ANIM. In addition, the
Ergo web site provides examples and a parsing contest for those
who would like to compare different parsing tools.

Here's an even greater challenge: Get the patent and the Ergo
software and then write some papers that explain why working
software is not a criteria for judging a theory of syntax. Or also
why the theory of syntax cannot produce the software that we
have. It might also be interesting to demonstrate why our theory
of syntax is not to be preferred over others and why this theory of
syntax is flawed (in spite of the unique software development
it offers).

Phil Bralich

Philip A. Bralich, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Ergo Linguistic Technologies
2800 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 175
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tel: (808)539-3920
Fax: (808)539-3924
http://www.ergo-ling.com <html>

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