CIRCA:TAPoR

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== Overview ==


TAPoR stands for Text Analysis Portal for Rearseach. As the name suggests, it is a portal website that allows its users keep track of studied texts and apply text analysis tools to interact and analyze them.


Contents

History

What is electronic text? It can be anything from an e-mail to a transcription of a medieval ballad. When using TAPoR, e-text can include a linguistic text (such as German) and even computer languages (such as XML).


Text analysis has its roots in the practice of concordance, where the scholar can find references to all the passages of a studied text where a chosen word appears. For example, in 1949, Father Roberto Busa began working on an index verborum of all the words in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus, an alphabetical listing of words is made accompanied by the immediate context of those words as appearing in the original text as well as the citation to the text where one can find them. Concordance was used mainly by clergy as far back as the 13th century and clearly was very time-consuming. Father Busa, for instance, started by using paper index cards and eventually moved onto the computer. With time, text analysis tools became more interactive and allowed more complex manipulation of the given text, such as text visualization, word counting, word clouds. Therefore, text analysis uses computational tools to “search, retrieve, manipulate, measure and classify natural-language documents,” what we generally would call texts, for patterns that are relevant to the scholar undertaking the process of text analysis (Rockwell and Lancashire).

Audience

TAPoR is designed mainly for researchers across Canada and worldwide, but can theoretically be used by any number of specialists who need to apply a qualitative analysis to a given text: linguists, translators, editors, social scientists, language instructors, document analysts. Ultimately, TAPoR aims to foster large scale collaborative projects engaging both Canadian and international researchers. While anyone can use the portal to perform text analysis, researchers can also register for an account to organize text they’re working on, keep track of their results, and share ideas with other researchers.

Purpose

According to the mission statement on TAPoR’s website, the portal is designed to “support research using electronic media texts and computer assisted text analysis tools” (McMaster, 2004). Therefore, the project supports pursuit of knowledge through access to electronic texts, interactive tool development and usability, as well as techniques and theory of text analysis. Its guiding principle is to encourage scholars to reflect on content and style of texts through these computational methods of analysis.

TAPoR also cites the following activities as part of its framework in supporting textual research and engagement:

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Growth of centers or “nodes” across Canada that carry out research projects in their community.

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Symposia and other gatherings that allow students and researchers exchange ideas.

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Publication of peer-reviewed words that develop our understanding of text analysis.

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Tool development and researcher training.


Significance

As humanities and social science researchers produce texts mainly in the electronic format, TAPoR plays an important role in allowing more and more scholars engage with digital texts. This includes production of electronic editions of important works of literature (Shakespear, Chaucer), production of digital bibliographic databases (Iter), dictionary projects (Dictionary of Old English), text-retrieval initiatives for scholarly and commercial use (X-metal), and students learning to apply computing tools to textual research. As our cultural heritage grows in the digital format, there is a pressing need to archive, retrieve, manage and study our textual output through a variety of different methods, such as text analysis.

Finally, through its application of computational analysis to e-texts, TAPoR can help set up a model of interaction for other disciplines dealing with vast amounts of electronic text, such as health sciences.


Technologies

TAPoR has several tools developed in-house under the title “TAPoRware”, which includes:
- List words in the text</p> - Find a word or a pattern of words in a text - Interactive concordance with Voyeur, including text visualization software developed by Hermeneuti.ca. The portal also includes many “text analysis recipes” for those researchers willing to take their text analysis further than the basic TAPoRware tools. The recipes provide instructions and framework for exploration, but are not complete tools themselves. They allow the researcher to locate specific structures in the text (such as themes), analyze structures (such as colloquial word use or compare texts for authenticity verification), and construct structures (such as networks or infrastructures within the text).


Refrences:

Rockwell, Geoffrey and Ian Lancashire. “What is Text Analysis?” 25 Sept. 2011. 1
TAPoR McMaster. "TAPoR Mission, Vision and Goals". May 2004. 2

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