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Teary-eyed in Philadelphia

Dear Miss NetManners,

After George Hart's good-natured (!?) but witheringly devastating
dismissal of my sentimental posting, I lay sobbing in the dark for many
hours, clutching my coffee-stained catalog cards, and wondering what to
do.  How could I respond to such intellectual concision, such catholic
concern for the broad picture! Me and my puny glyphs! 

But then I realized:  George is wanting to tar a number of people with the
same brush: those who oppose Grantha, those who wish to retain some
vestige of ORNL's, and perhaps some others who do not see the light, and
want more than "information".  My outlook brightened.  I saw a brave new
world of information management, where never again we will have to think
about such things as the dating or provenience of a manuscript or an
inscription, judgements that we now make on the basis of certain
characteristics of the text that are purely "stylistic". It'll all be
coded, accurately and without ambiguity, in the electronic form!  No dates
will be lost, or disputed!  All the INFORMATION we want will all be there,
give or take a byte or two.  And if anybody has any problems or questions,
he can just ask George! 

I realized, Miss NM, that my concerned for ORNL's is actually a concern
for subjective characteristics of texts and language samples, the
equivalent of mere phonetic variation in a sociolinguistic situation. Such
trivial concerns; how petty and foolish of me to worry about such things.

I do still wonder, though, Miss NetManners:  who will do the encoding, so
that no errors creep in?  At the moment the keyboarding for some projects,
I know, is done by entry-level people without much scholarly background.
Thomas Malten in fact has each ms. encoded twice, hoping that the two
keyboarders won't both make the same mistake, and thereby giving a cross
check.  Does this handle absolutely everything?

So can I sleep easily now, Miss NetManners, secure in the thought that all
questions will have been laid to rest, and that all the INFORMATION that
WE NEED is encoded? 


Sleepless in Seattle, 
Teary-eyed in South Jersey,
Coffee-stained in Philadelphia
(aka Hal Schiffman)

On Tue, 16 Sep 1997, George Hart wrote:

> This is a good-natured (!) reply to Hal's reply about the older orthography.
> Good lord, Hal, let's not get all sentimental and teary-eyed about a few
> glyphs!  I'd like to think the old characters are equivalent to a
> coffee-stained catalog card with all sorts of intriguing things penciled on
> it, but I just can't see it.

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