QUARTERLY REPORT L. Burnard: July 1st 1977 – December 31st 1977

English Texts

Work on the Archive continued through the summer. Texts were received from Cambridge, Edinburgh and Minnesota, and sent to Warwick, Edinburgh, Leuven and Swansea. From Minnesota came the nucleus of the Coleridge corpus, currently being completed. Lovely Mrs. J. Healey began typing the rest of this in July and had got to page 400 by September, when the money ran out. Proof reading and correction of the bulk of this corpus is now well advanced. Other texts received included three from UMRCC which came in the unlikely form of 7-track Atlas coded paper tape. I wrote a program to convert these to EBCDIC, which appears to be working. Another conversion program was written to translate 1900 code with shift characters (which are ignored by MT-READ) into EBCDIC. A machine-readable catalogue of the Archive was begun in December. Considerable interest in the Archive was expressed at the various international meetings Susan and I attended last year, and large amounts of texts were, as ever, promised. Work on a program for collating textual variants and grouping them for cluster analysis began in October.


Most of September was spent nervously preparing myself to give a course encouragingly titled 'Advanced use of Spitbol'. In the event, this proved quite successful, in that attendance actually increased over the four weeks, and there has been continued demand for the course notes. Some of those who came were not arts-users. A new version of the SPITBOL compiler is expected daily. A tape bearing 2900 Snobol arrived this month from Kent, just too late to be of much use -for the present.


Three or four minor bugs were fixed and a major enhancement carried out to the sorting routines last year. The enhancement allows for non-sorting characters (e.g. accents) to be specified, and necessitating the recompilation and re-organization of the subroutine library. Two programs were written to assist particular users get their heart's desire (as opposed to more or less what they wanted) out of the package. 2900 Famulus did not materialise.


Progress has not been rapid, nor indeed clearly visable. Some real swan data has been punched and re-formatted a few times. My knowledge of COBOL has increased from the pathetically inadequate to the merely risible. I attended the AGM of the User Group at which, inter alia, it was agreed to set up a FORTRAN user's sub-group. I will be going to Bracknell to get some experience of the FORTRAN interface (FISS) this month by helping in something known as 'beta-testing1.

Any Other Business

OXEYE was issued to Aston and the installation test run successfully last month. I became a budget advisor at the end of September. I wrote impeccably biassed minutes for the Programmers monthly meetings. I attended the 4th International Summer School in Computational and Mathematical Linguistics in August in Pisa, a meeting of the BCS where I hoped (but failed) to see blood in a confrontation between implementors of Spitbol and Snobol, and the International Meeting/AGM of the ALLC in Liege in December. Visit reports were written.