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Gateway for Accessing Humanities Texts


A gateway for accessing humanities texts has been implemented that, like the APIB gateway, provides a World Wide Web interface for accessing information in SGML documents using Pat as a retrieval engine. The documents include novels, poetry, dictionaries, and other literary and reference works tagged in SGML according to the Text Encoding Initiative's (TEI) Guidelines for the Encoding and Interchange of Machine-Readable Texts. This gateway is currently being used by the University of Virginia library and the University of Michigan's Humanities Text Initiative for dissemination of texts to their respective university communities and to the general public. The gateway's CGI scripts are written in perl.

This CGI application is similar in many ways to the APIB gateway. Indeed, its development predates that of the APIB and helped influence the APIB's implementation. The differences between the gateway for accessing humanities texts and the APIB gateway stem mainly from differences in their respective DTDs. Because the DTDs used for representing the humanities texts are not as rich in SGML elements as the STEP DTDs, the possibilities for structured queries available to users are not as extensive. On the other hand, the TEI Guidelines specify sophisticated linking mechanisms that support hyper-linking to and retrieving a chunk of text even if the text is untagged in the document. One of the ways this mechanism is being employed in the gateway is in a CGI program that allows users to specify a range of line numbers in a poem and generates a web page containing the text from the lines specified[AMV]. This application of TEI linking provides a convenient way for writers to cite passages in the gateway's texts.

Josh Lubell
Mon Sep 30 15:19:35 EDT 1996