Text Analysis Introduction

The electronic texts were all marked up in XML and then converted to HTML for display on the website. In most cases, the mark-up was relatively shallow, and driven primarily by publishing needs.

One objective of this project was to examine the extent to which electronic text analysis could help to provide answers to the overall research aims, and to this end two tests were carried out where deeper encoding was applied.

In one case, test mark-up was applied to small selections of Naufragios by Cabeza de Vaca and Historia general y natural de las Indias by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo so that various themes could be compared in the two works. This pilot study in using the native XML database program eXist for electronic text analysis was used by Barry Ife in his paper on 'Digitising the Conquest' at the Digital Resources for the Humanities conference, in September 2004.

In the other case, deep mark-up was applied to one of the texts: The Travels of Persiles and Sigismunda: A Northern History by Miguel de Cervantes, and the XML file was then converted to a format understood by the TACT text analysis program so that web queries could be performed. You can run searches from the TACT interface for this text.

A TACT interface also exists for the Exemplary Novel Rinconete y Cortadillo by Miguel de Cervantes, but this was created directly in TACT by Paul Spence as part of a study titled 'The pervasiveness of rules: a report on using TACT with an electronic edition of 'Rinconete y Cortadillo'. We hope to make the search interface to this more sophisticated in the near future, to reflect the potential realised by the non-web version of this project.

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