Database covers peaks and troughs of poetry for pounds 23,500
Wednesday 20 January 1993
The English Poetry Full-Text database will contain almost every known line of English poetry from AD600 to 1900, a total of 1,350 poets. Yesterday's launch was for the first disk in what will, when it is complete next summer, become a series of four. It contains a fairly random selection of poets, with a bias towards the 19th century. A cursory examination is enough to reveal that the reason most have never been heard of is that at least 1,000 of them are truly dreadful.
'To me, that's the great feature of it, as a research tool,' Dr Daniel Karlin, a member of the database editorial board, said. 'It's much more democratic than a normal research tool. Normally, you get asked only about peaks of literature. Here you can see the wide swamps between.'
The database can be searched in some very sophisticated ways. Dr Karlin points out that it will be possible to find every reference to Venus and Adonis in 10 minutes at most. A student could plot the fashionability of particular themes and words throughout the 1,300 years covered with no trouble. Searches for a particular phrase or line of poetry are simplicity itself. The first firm order for the database came from a public library in Australia, which receives many queries of that sort.
The search software runs on personal computers under Microsoft Windows, so the equipment needed to view the disks costs less than a tenth of the disks themselves. Chadwyck-Healey justifies the price on the the grounds that as many as 70 people were employed on the research and collation of texts, not counting the keying-in and proof reading, which were mostly done in the Far East.
Twenty copies have been sold in England already, but interest in the database is not confined to English-speaking countries - at least 200 copies are being tried out around the world.
The five members of the editorial board, who chose the poets and the texts, are not to be rewarded for their labours with free copies - they have not even been offered a discount, Dr Karlin said.
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for 2 days...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: a small rural school, is ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: They want their school to ...