forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 3362  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Mon May 8, 2000  1:25 pm
Subject:  Re: SW in Databases

So here's a couple examples of flat databases:

1) Bill mentioned a comma-delimited file. This just involves separating
the fields by comma. For example, here's a comma-delimited database of a
few of the more active members of our list, along with their countries and
the signed languages they work with most:


I can even include graphics with this, just by providing a link.
Suppose I had gif files with pictures of everyone, named valerie.gif,
stefan.gif, mark.gif and wayne.gif. I could add the filenames to my


2) Trevor mentioned using a subset of SGML. One example is HTML's
"dictionary list" tags. Here's a tiny bilingual dictionary of French
using these tags:


<dt>chair <!-- stands for "dictionary term" -->
<dd>chaise <!-- stands for "dictionary definition" -->


<dt>sign language
<dd>langue des signes


This can be displayed in any web browser; yours may even display
it. And you could replace the French definitions with HTML links to gif
files of the signed language of your choice, for example. You've just
dynamically published your database on the Web!

In fact, there are many utilities that can convert a flat database
from one format to another; it's fairly easy to write one in Perl.

3) Spreadsheet programs like Excel (mentioned by Valerie) and Lotus 1-2-3
(mentioned by Bill, I think?) can read in flat databases in comma- or
tab-delimited formats and sort them in lots of nice ways. So can more
powerful database programs like FileMaker Pro and Microsoft
Access. Comma-delimited and tab-delimited formats are kind of hard for
people to read, but they're easy for computers.

I would warn against using a proprietary format like Access or
FileMaker Pro, simply because those programs cost a lot of money and there
are reasonable, free alternatives. Choosing one of the commercial
packages would deliberately exclude a number of people. A simple subset
of SGML is all that is needed, and it is possible to customize Access or
FileMaker Pro to read that format.

The problem is how to write a "dictionary dump" program of the
kind described by Trevor: something that would extract the information
from the binary file and output a comma-delimited or SGML list. From what
I understand, that requires knowledge of Pascal and assembly language, but
perhaps not.

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

  Replies Author Date
3367 Re: SW in Databases Stuart Thiessen Mon  5/8/2000
3369 Re: SW in Databases Angus B. Grieve-Smith Mon  5/8/2000
3370 Re: SW in Databases Stuart Thiessen Mon  5/8/2000

  Message 3362  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index