12.0246 Elta Software Initiative (text-analysis)

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 7 Oct 1998 10:03:26 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 246.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 17:58:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tom Horton <tom@cse.fau.edu>
Subject: Elta Software Initiative (text-analysis software development)

We wish to announce the establishment of the Elta Software Initiative.

Elta is a collaborative effort to encourage and support the
development of software tools for the analysis, retrieval and
manipulation of electronic texts. Our focus (at least initially)
is on tools to support the needs of the humanities computing
community, but we hope our results are useful for anyone interested
in computer processing of texts marked up with SGML and XML.

We have organized Elta in response to continued interest and need for
such software, most recently expressed at the birds-of-a-feather
session at ALLC/ACH'98 in Debrecen. At this time Elta provides Web
resources and an email list to support those interested in the
Initiative's goals for promoting software development.

The Web site for Elta is: http://www.cse.fau.edu/~tom/elta
There is a mirror site in at: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/elta
which may provide better response for European users.

The initiative is open to all, and participants become involved by:
a) subscribing to the email discussion list;
b) describing their interests and activities in the text software
area on the Web site's discussion forums;
c) and by attempting to collaborate and/or cooperate with others in
this area in order to produce better software more quickly.
Anyone (software developer or not) is welcome to visit the site and
leave a message describing user needs for text analysis software in
the "user requirements" area.

"Elta" stands for "encoded literary text analysis", and is the Old
Norse word meaning "to knead" or "to work".

We hope that Elta will contribute to those developing a set of modern
tools with similar capabilities to past and existing text analysis
tools, such as OCP (The Oxford Concordance Program), Tustep, TACT, and
similar tools. A number of needs for modern versions of such tools
have been discussed: sharing common user and data interfaces; support
for SGML, XML and TEI standards for text mark-up; use of modern
windowed operating systems (like Windows); and, when appropriate
support of client-server and distributed models of interaction (like
the Web).

If you're interested, please visit the Web site, and consider joining
the email list. Any suggestions about the project and its goals may be
posted at the Web site or emailed to John or me (see below). We will
make occasional reports to Humanist on the project's progress.

Dr. Tom Horton
Florida Atlantic University, tom@cse.fau.edu

John Bradley
King's College London, john.bradley@kcl.ac.uk

P.S. Bruce Robertson and John Dawson recently posted a proposal on
the Humanist discussion list, 12.0225, calling for a "text software
handling working group". The Elta Software Initiative is basically
the same kind of idea, and in fact was planned and developed over the
last few months with John's proposal in mind. We saw it at the
ALLC/ACH'98 conference in July. John Dawson has reviewed the Elta Web
site and states that Elta "will be a perfectly good way of achieving
what I proposed."

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