6.0028 Rs: SGML Confusion; Strings, Stewards; Programs (6/134)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 21 May 1992 18:04:06 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0028. Thursday, 21 May 1992.

(1) Date: Wed, 20 May 92 00:46:19 EDT (23 lines)
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: Re: 6.0018 Correction on SGML

(2) Date: Mon, 18 May 92 20:49:09 CST (21 lines)
From: (James Marchand) <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: string

(3) Date: Tue, 19 May 92 00:18:08 GMT (20 lines)
From: "C. David Frankel" <D7BAIAD@CFRVM>
Subject: Strings

(4) Date: Thu, 21 May 1992 09:29 EDT (13 lines)
Subject: Re: 6.0013 Rs: Birthdays & Stewards

(5) Date: Tue, 19 May 1992 09:44 EST (11 lines)
From: Michael Metzger <MLLMIKEM@UBVMS.BITNET>
Subject: WP diacritics

(6) Date: Mon, 18 May 92 15:35 EST (46 lines)
From: Dorothy Day <DAY@IUBACS>
Subject: Frequency Prog

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 20 May 92 00:46:19 EDT
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: Re: 6.0018 Correction on SGML (1/63)

C. M. Sperberg-McQueen is of course right in correcting my erroneous
description of SGML as a data base programme and retrieval language
native to the IBM environment. Actually my error lay not in
misunderstanding SGML, but rather in typing SGML when I meant SQL,
Structured Query Language.

I can take some consolation for my ineptitude in the knowledge that
my confusion elicited a most useful explanation of SGML.

(I suppose the alphabet soup of abbreviations is too non-lexical
for me to claim a Freudian slip.)


Brian Whittaker BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA
Atkinson College, York University (Please do not omit the W)
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------31----
Date: Mon, 18 May 92 20:49:09 CST
From: (James Marchand) <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: string

The term "string" for sequence of letters of the alphabet in computing
definitely antedates PL/1; in fact it antedates programs. We used it that
way, probably borrowing it from logic, at Michigan in 1952. The OED cites
the first volume of the Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery
(1954), 120/2: "A finite, possibly null, sequence of members of the alpha-
bet is called a string." Hood Roberts used to run a journal in the early
60s called "The Finite String." It is a natural metaphor, cf. our "thread
of discourse," German "der rote Faden," Icelandic thattr (for chapter,
part of a plot), etc. Metaphors from weaving, etc. are common in all the
Indo-European (and sometimes other) languages in connection with composing
poems, etc., cf. English text, Latin integumentum, Russian pisat, (connect-
ed with Gk. poikillein 'to embroider'), English book probably goes back to
a root meaning 'to embroider' (cf. Old Saxon bokon), etc. etc. What all
this means is that I do not think you are going to find an origin for
"string", nor for "bug", in spite of all those romantic etymologies going
around. Of the telling of anecdotes there is no end.
Jim Marchand
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------28----
Date: Tue, 19 May 92 00:18:08 GMT
From: "C. David Frankel" <D7BAIAD@CFRVM>
Subject: Strings

Back near the start of this message string about the use of string as a
computing term, someone tied the derivation to printing. Just for fun, here's
a reference from the OED: 1891, _Century Dictionary_, " String. . . A
piece-compositor's aggregate of the proofs of types set by him, pasted on a
long strip of paper. The amount of work done is determined by the measurement
of this string." Although I cannot offer documentation, it does not seem
unlikely that the use of string to mean a group of characters insinuated
itself with great ease into the language of computing; a long history exists
of the metaphorical use of "string" as applied to many different kinds of

C. David Frankel_________Phone: 904-588-8395
Asst. Prof. of Theatre BITNET: D7DBAIAD@CFRVM
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------21----
Date: Thu, 21 May 1992 09:29 EDT
Subject: Re: 6.0013 Rs: Birthdays & Stewards

Three Micro-meditations
I'd like to add my birthday greetings to the host that I'm sure have reached
Humanist. I'd also like to say that a steward is, beyond all else, one occupyin
a position of *trust*, whether one feels that the Deity can trust us or not.
And it would be a das day indeed if Humanist were to restrict its compass to
matters of computing, however such matters surely are.

Don Coleman
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------21----
Date: Tue, 19 May 1992 09:44 EST
From: Michael Metzger <MLLMIKEM@UBVMS.BITNET>
Subject: WP diacritics

In response to B. Kirshenblatt Gimblett's Q about Polish diacritics and similar
concerns, Word Perfect's Character Set 1, contained in Appendix P of the 5.1
manual, offers some 233 diacritic characters that can be added to your keyboard
and printed on a Laserjet, though not necessarily displayed on your screen,
unless you get a WP Screen Font Editor. I think that CS 1 covers all or most
of what's needed for Polish, at least it's given me what I"ve needed so far.
Michael Metzger - Univ at Buffalo - MLLMIKEM@UBVMS.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------63----
Date: Mon, 18 May 92 15:35 EST
From: Dorothy Day <DAY@IUBACS>
Subject: RE: 6.0012 Qs: E-List/Address; Frequency Prog; USSR;

In reply to a question by John J Hughes:

The built-in TextBase in Nota Bene produces such a list as a by-product
when it indexes free-form text. While TextBase is designed to index
"entries" for instant retrieval, these can be paragraphs (or any other
unit you choose--in other words, you don't have to go to a lot of
effort to prepare your text for indexing) of up to 1000 words,
with no particular limit on size of file. Up to 100 files per
subdirectory (up to 18 subdirectories) can be indexed in one TextBase.
Output file size is similarly unlimited.

"Vocabulary Output" can be produced for all words, for just a specified
alphabetical range, or for words containing specified characters.
Frequency figures can be turned on or off before output. Location and
filename for the data may be speicified, or output directed to screen
or printer. Running an index to get word frequency is extremely easy.

A bit of history: TextBase is adapted from FYI 3000 (Superfile users
will remember its earlier incarnation), and will soon (later this
summer) be updated under the name Orbis. Orbis will still be integrated
into Nota Bene 4.0, but will also be marketed as an add-on product
for Signature (XyQuest), and possibly even for Word Perfect.

While the current TextBase produces static indices of files, the new
Orbis will be dynamically updated as you work, and thus better suited
to files that undergo frequent changes.

Nota Bene, TextBase, N.B. Orbis, N.B. Ibid (integrated add-on
bibliographic database manager), and N.B Lingua (add-on for handling
text in Cyrillic, Greek, and Hebrew scripts, plus hundreds of
European and Asian special diacritics--all usable and searchable within
Orbis and Ibid) are products of
N.B. Infomatics (aka Dragonfly Software)
285 West Broadway Suite 600
New York NY 10013-2204
(212) 334-0445
fax 212-334-0845

Dorothy Day, Indiana University
Internet: day@ucs.indiana.edu