Comparing English Worldwide: The International Corpus of English

By Sidney Greenbaum | Go to book overview
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5
The UMB Intelligent ICE Markup Assistant

EDWARD M. BLACHMAN, CHARLES F. MEYER and ROBERT A. MORRIS


1. INTRODUCTION

We have developed an editor, the UMB Intelligent ICE Markup Assistant (UMB/ IMA), that greatly eases the task of adding ICE markup to samples of written or (especially) spoken English. The editor brings to ICE ease-of-use innovations developed in other areas of computer application, particularly in 'What You See Is What You Get' (WYSIWYG) document editing. There are many such interactive programs familiar to scholars and desktop publishers, and there is a sense in which these programs can be considered markup systems. Certainly the documents they create can be expressed in markup languages for interchange and other purposes; yet these editors allow users to create and edit those documents without ever having to see or understand the intricacies of the interchange markup. With the UMB/ IMA, a sample's markup can be seen and edited via a presentation that is easier to understand than ICE markup, yet with constraints and filters that make the effort completely compatible with the SEU Markup Assistant (see Chapter 6) and ICE in general. Finally, we know that linguists deal with many varieties of markup, so we strove to build a system whose concepts could be applied not only to ICE but also to other markup schemes.

From the outside, a markup system is not very different from any other kind of editor: it requires import and export facilities (or Open and Save, if you prefer), as well as support in the user interface for making new objects, and for selecting and manipulating existing objects. It is at the next level of detail that markup concerns enter into the picture--determining the objects to be made and selected, finding the places where a judicious amount of programming can ease the job of adding markup, and determining the appropriate import and export facilities.

We built our editor atop an extensible document processing system from Inter- leaf, Inc. ( Englishet al., 1990). Interleaf is typical of high-end WYSIWYG word processing packages, offering users pulldown and popup menus, dialogs, and keyboard shortcuts by which they can perform file manipulation, style modification and imposition, and text, table, graphics, and equation editing. The system runs on many Unix platforms, as well as on DOS and Windows; by working in its extension language,

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