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SEARCHING FOR HISTORICAL WORD FORMS IN TEXT DATABASES USING SPELLING‐CORRECTION METHODS: REVERSE ERROR AND PHONETIC CODING METHODS

HEATHER J. ROGERS (Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Western Bank Sheffield S10 2TN)
PETER WILLETT (Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Western Bank Sheffield S10 2TN)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 April 1991

Abstract

An increasing volume of historical text is being converted into machine‐readable form so as to allow database searches to be carried out. The age of the material in these databases means that they contain many spellings that are different from those used today. This characteristic means that, once the databases become available for general online access, users will need to be familiar with all of the possible historical spellings for their topic of interest if a search is to be carried out successfully. This paper investigates the use of computational techniques that have been developed for the correction of spelling errors to identify historical spellings of a user's search terms. Two classes of spelling correction method are tested, these being the reverse error and phonetic coding methods. Experiments with words from the Hartlib Papers Collection show that these methods can correctly identify a large number of historical forms of modern‐day word spellings.

Citation

ROGERS, H.J. and WILLETT, P. (1991), "SEARCHING FOR HISTORICAL WORD FORMS IN TEXT DATABASES USING SPELLING‐CORRECTION METHODS: REVERSE ERROR AND PHONETIC CODING METHODS", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 333-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb026883

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited