University of Glasgow
This is effectively a continuation of a paper published in Literary and Linguistic Computing Vol 7, 1992, which described the issues and processes involved in transferring the legacy database of the Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE) in dBase 11.4 into Ingres 6.1, chosen as being able to support the retrieval of complex information. During a long-term project like HTE, spanning decades rather than years, there will obviously be a huge change in the software available, and software in use will become obsolete. It is therefore vital to transfer the database into new options where feasible. The paper describes the problems encountered in developing a front-end for the Ingres database, now in OpenIngres O.I.2.0, which would cope with the multiple conditions of the queries required in what is essentially a research tool, but which would also be acceptably user-friendly. The user interface now in use is BI/query, the successor to GQL, and this will be described and demonstrated. The complexities of retrieval from the HTE arise from the data concerned with the currency of the words, taken from the Oxford English Dictionary. This consists of a) actual starting and finishing dates for periods of currency; b) the qualifiers ante and circa, as in the OED. (These are not used in the OED CD queries, but are necessary for retrieving e.g. words current before a specified date); c) indicators for continuous or discontinuous currency; d) indicator of present currency, e) Old English, covering all dates before 1150; f) style and status labels from the OED attached to periods of currency - a word may be labelled e.g. 'vulgar' for only part of its currency.
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