Re: The Superhighway Steamroller

Judith E. Grass (jgrass@CNRI.Reston.VA.US)
Tue, 28 Jun 1994 09:06:44 -0400 says:
Two years ago Hart argued that rekeying was more efficient that OCR; I
wouldn't necessarily argue that but I do wonder why anyone thinks a
reasonable human would prefer to read a novel on a VT100 monitor rather
than out of a 75 cent paperback from a used book store or a hardcover
volume from the local library.

I can think of one fine use of a large body of texts on line: historical
linguistics. The study of language change used to be done by some
scholar poring over centuries of texts armed with a pencil and a stack
of index cards. You would note down every instance you found of some
interesting language feature, and note every instance where you would expect
it to appear and it did not. Correlate all of the cards
with time, place and historical events and look for trends. This took
*forever* to do.

For an on line collection of texts to help it needs to
a) Span a long period of time
b) be ruthlessly accurate (preserve all the apparent typos and
c) contain some pretty mundane stuff: diary entries, love letters,
shopping lists... whatever.

So: probably no help for linguists here, either.

-- Judy Grass, CNRI