Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 765. Thursday, 11 November 1993.
Date: Thursday, 11 Nov 1993 12:46:27 EST
Subject: Shakespeare Database Project
Shakespeare Database Project enters publication phase
The Shakespeare Database Project at the Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet
Muenster, Germany published its first book publication at the 1993 Frankfurt
Marvin Spevack (1993), A Shakespeare Thesaurus, Hildesheim, Zuerich, New York:
Georg Olms Verlag. XXVI/541 pp. cloth ISBN 3-487-09775-3 DM 98.00; paperback
ISBN 3-487-09776-1 DM 39.80
This new work is the first attempt to organize and classify the entire
Shakespearean vocabulary. It presents the "world" which is to be derived from
Shakespeare's ideolect and gives a vivid impression of the surrounding
Elizabethan world. The perspective is thus not solely personal or literary or
linguistic but also historical, sociological, and cultural.
This classified inventory consists of 37 main groups and 897 subgroups, ranging
from the Physical World to Sense Perception to Law to Religion to Time to
Space. Special attention is given to such dominating interests as Communication
and Motion, Solidarity and Warfare. Detailed are such things and words as
horses and health, clothes and colours, swords and social structures, earth and
education, gout and government, plants and pride.
To account for the entire vocabulary, certain groups not normally found in a
work of this kind have been formed. The largest consists of the names of places
and persons arranged so as to constitute a map and a pocket history, mythology,
and onomasticon. Others include malaproprisms, oaths, Latin and French words.
The Shakespeare Database Project will publish further printed reference works
early in 1994. For personal computer users, there will also be a self-contained
Shakespeare Database CD-ROM product.
Since 1990 the project has been using a dedicated VAXstation cluster as a
production platform. The database uses Digital's rdb database software. The
relational database design stresses the integration of editorial, linguistic,
literary, and theatrical information by setting up 17 database *entities* with
well over a hundred *attributes*. The Thesaurus Entity, just published in
book-form, is one of these. *Cardinality* values for database entities range
from 2,500 to over one million records per entity. Statistical and graphical
data are included in the database.
Besides standard query-languages such as SQL various custom-made access methods
are also supported. There are traditional, philological entry points such as
textual collation and editing with access to all copy-texts and variant
readings. Electronic facsimile pages of early quarto and folio printings are
accessible via play (act, scene, line, speech prefix) and word (lemma,
wordform, morpheme) references. Linguistically oriented *datastructures*, such
as wordformation down to the level of the morpheme, and inflection can be
explored directly. Shakespeare's vocabulary is also accessible by means of
etymological or chronological query strategies, including information on first
occurrence in Early Modern English.
The CD-ROM version for personal computer users will first support Microsoft
Windows and will include navigational support. It will not presuppose
relational database technicalities, such as SQL, etc.
Shakespeare Database Project
Univ.-Prof. Dr. H. J. Neuhaus
Direktor des Englischen Seminars
D-48143 Muenster, Germany
Telephone (voice & answering): +49 251 834294
(fax): +49 251 838353