Literature, Language, and Linguistics Resources

By Williamson, Andrew | Computers in Libraries, October 1996 | Go to article overview

Literature, Language, and Linguistics Resources


Williamson, Andrew, Computers in Libraries


In this month's BUBL Bits we focus on the area of the BUBL subject tree devoted to literature, language, and linguistics resources, at http://bubl.bath. ac.uk/BUBL/Literature.html. This area is one of the largest on the subject tree and reflects the rich and diverse range of resources available in these fields on the Internet. The majority of such resources on BUBL deal with English literature, although language and linguistics resources are also available, as are those relevant to foreign language and literature.

English Literature

Due to copyright law and the nature of the publishing industry, you should not expect to find the newest literature titles and best-sellers on the Internet, although changes are taking place. For instance, the Chapter One service (http:// www.psi.net/chapterone/) is making available for browsing on the Web the first chapters, tables of contents, and other excerpts of books on selected special interest topics. With projects such as this underway, perhaps the day is not too far away when new titles will be available not hot off the press and onto the shelf but hot off the keyboard and onto the Net.

In the meantime, however, there is a wide range of sites offering access to electronic versions of non-copyright and classic works and to related resources.

One of the most well-known electronic text sites on the Internet is that of Project Gutenberg (http://www.promo. net/pg/). This project, which was founded in 1971 by Michael Hart (now executive director of the project), aims to make novels, short stories, reference works, informational texts, and other materials freely available to the public in electronic text format. Gutenberg texts are all in Plain Vanilla ASCII, thus making them accessible on all systems and easily read and used by humans and computers alike. Titles range from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Wizard of Oz to the CIA World Fact Book, and authors range from Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde to Plato. The Gutenberg site also provides access to other electronic text archives and includes information related to the process of electronic publishing, and so makes a good starting point for exploration in this field.

In a similar vein, Oxford University Computing Services provides a facility called the Oxford Text Archive, or OTA (http://info.ox.ac.uk/-archive/ota.html). This archive exists to serve the interests of the academic community and offers scholars long-term storage and maintenance of their electronic texts free of charge. Electronic versions of literary works by many major authors (e.g., Emily Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson) are stored within the OTA along with some standard reference works (e.g., Roget's Thesaurus) and texts relating to major research projects around the world. While certain of the texts are available to Oxford users only, others can be accessed directly via your Web browser or by anonymous ftp from the Oxford server. The OTA site provides details on how to use the texts and how to recognize those that are available on restricted-access only, as well as providing information on the copyright of material stored in the archive.

For electronic versions of classical texts, a useful starting point is the Internet Classics Archive (http:/thetech.mit.edu/Classics/titles.d.html). This site provides a searchable collection of around 400 classical Greek and Roman texts including the works of Homer, Plato, and Aristotle. The texts are all provided in full English translation and complemented by user-provided commentary. Further information about the classical writers is also available.

While the sites above are wide-ranging, providing access to electronic versions of the works of a large number of authors, there are many more specialized sites devoted to the analysis and display of work by specific authors.

For instance, the works of Jane Austen are the subject of an impressive collection at the site called Jane Austen's Writings (http://uts. …

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