Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 32. Tuesday, 28 Aug 1990.
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 90 10:00:21 EDT
From: John Bradley <
Subject: A TACT description
TACT. A shareware program for MS/PC-DOS (vers. 1.2) that assists
textual analysis by retrieving segments of text according to specified
word forms and by displaying the results in graphs, lists and tables.
TACT consists of four main programs: MAKBAS and MERGEBAS, which
create the textual database from a raw text; TACT itself, the inquiry
program, which works with the textual database and both creates and
maintains a separate database for the categories that the user has
created; and COLLGEN, which searches a database and outputs all
phrases that occur more than a specified number of times. The system
has in part been inspired by John B. Smith's ARRAS, to whom grateful
acknowledgement is extended for his past encouragement. The system
also expects text encoding such as used for both Oxford Concordance
Program and WordCruncher but does not support SGML-like encoding
Users begin with a stable text, encode it and then run MAKBAS against
the encoded text to produce the database. With TACT they can then
retrieve segments of text according to word form, with or without
`wildcards' (including character classes and other features of regular
expressions). Words may be retrieved by frequency or similarity to a
given string, or according to categories (collections of word-forms
that are labelled by the user with a metatextual name, representing,
for instance, themes or any other conceptual feature recognized by
the user). Categories -- the name belongs to John B. Smith -- may be
constructed of categories, so that hierarchical structures or significant
conjunctions can be represented. Requests for character-strings can
specify user labels or codes that identify their their location, for
example, the title of work, chapter heading, speech, speaker, stanza,
etc. TACT can also search for word forms by co-occurrence or
adjacency and can employ Boolean operators. Search requests may be
stored in ASCII rule files, which can in part handle the problem of
Text can be displayed as plain text, KWIC (keyword-in-context)
segments, simple distribution graphs (showing how the occurrence of a
set of locations are distributed through the text, or among various
structural divisions), or as an index showing only a list of
locations where the event occurred, with a one-line context. The
displays in TACT are linked so that, for example, the user can go
directly from a position in a distribution graph to the text it
represents. A recent display can show all collocates to the
selected positions in the text -- with collocates ordered by their
The system is multilingual and supports the extended ASCII character
set of the IBM PC. With tools that extend the character set displays on
EGA screens (e.g., the Duke Language Toolkit, or the screen and
keyboard translation portion of AcademicFont), it can handle languages
such as Greek and Old English, but not Hebrew, Arabic and languages
with ideographic characters such as kanji, by allowing for proper
alphabetization, convenient keyboard entry, and printing on devices
that require special `escape codes' to produce non-ASCII characters --
even if these sequences are different from those that would be used to
enter the character from the keyboard, or display it on screen.
Finally, TACT includes a record and playback facility so that a user
can save for automatic replay a given session with the program.
Developers: John Bradley and Lidio Presutti
University of Toronto Computing Services (UTCS),
Room 201, 4 Bancroft Ave.,
Toronto, Ont. M5S 1A1, Canada.
(416) 978--3995; BRADLEY @ VM.UTCS.UTORONTO.,CA (Bradley).
(416) 978--5130; LIDIO @ VM.UTCS.UTORONTO.CA (Presutti).
FAX: (416) 978--7159. Supported by IBM Canada.
They will answer questions and welcome suggestions for
Vendor: TACT Distribution, Centre for Computing in the Humanities,
Robarts Library, Room 14297A, University of Toronto,
Toronto, Ont. M5S 1A5, Canada.
Attn: Elke Rudman. CCH @ UTOREPAS.BITNet. Distribution at cost: $30
Can or $25 US for vers. 1.2 and a printed, bound manual.
Non-commercial users are welcome to distribute copies of the program
freely and without permission from the developers.