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Archive for the ‘Littera’ Category

Google Books & CiteULike

As a task for the fifth topic, we’ve created an account in CiteULike and another one in Google Books; these are pages that search for books or academic publications. In the case of the first one, it is an online service that searches for academic publications (as told before), whilst the latter searches the full text of books that Google has stored.

CiteULike exists as a free Web service since 2004, and it helps “scientists, researchers and academics store, organise, share and discover links to academic research papers”. It is a mixture of web-based soccial bookmarking services and traditional bibliographic management tools; you bookmark academic references and you end up having a data base of your selected documents. It is very easy to bookmark on CiteULike: you clik on “search” in the toolbar, enter any word that has connection with what you want to search for, and when you find the reference that best fits to what you need, simply click in “copy” and it will automatically get stored in your library.

Google Books was also introduced in 2004. This searching tool looks for books and not articles or references, as CiteULikes does; sometimes you get access to the whole book in Google Books, but often that access is limited and you can only read some pages. What’s more, sometimes, once you have visited the same book for more than 3 times, you are not allowed to see it again. These steps are taken so that text printing and copying of material under copyright is prevented.

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The Markup Language

The Markup Language is a way of codifying a document that will give information about the structure of that text or its presentation by means of tags and marks. The so known HTML, base of the World Wide Web,  is the most extended markup language and it has been used for many years not only in the editorial and comunication industry, but also by authors and editors.

Among the different markup languages, we can find HTML, SGML, XML, DocBook (software documentation) and several XML derivatives.  This last one, XML, is standard from W3C, its objective is the modelation of the data from the documents paying attention to semantics  and XML documents must be well formed (respecting grammar) and also valid (all documents have a similar sketch). The basic components of XML are tags, data elements and a certain hierarchy.

There are different types of markup depending on what you want to do; descriptive markup, for example, is used to label a document (it uses tags to describe extracts from documents); presentation markup is the one that indicates the format of the text (we have to bear in mind that this markup is not enough to process information automatically) whilst procedural markup focusses on the presentation of the text, so, if you have a suitable program to represent the document, the code should be interpreted in the order that appears.

But not only is markup language, XML in this case, channeled into documents; there is an increasing usage of it in the presentation of different types of information such as web services, user interfaces or even playlists, and XML is used because a well-defined and extensible language. Building up your own personal web-page is very simple, you don’t have to have previous technological knowledge since being HTML a markup language, web browsers recognise them quickly.

Another thing to be mentioned is that you can easily link up Web style sheets with HTML; in fact, HTML is the “tool” that has the page’s semantic content and structure, but not its style, style sheet is what you need to do so. Style sheets can be linked to HTML documents in different ways since they may be external, they can be imported, inlaied… so you have to decide which one fits best to your needs.

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The edition is the way through which a work will be spread in some means. In class, our professor has presented us the topic and has explained the different types of edition:

Facsimile edition:

This type of documents are mainly manuscripts, codex… classic period documents in short. In a facsimil edition the original text is reproduced on its original medium. To do this, a process of copy is carried out, usually through photography tecniques or silkscreen. This type of edition is really common in museums and libraries, since the public is shown a almost exact copy af the original document (they are not offered the original document because they are usually of huge value and it could be in danger of being stolen or damaged)

Paleographic:

Paleographic editon grows away of literary interes and gets closer to diplomatic and notarial interes, designed to specialists. What paleography tries to do is to reproduce the original text together with an updated document that enables the interpretation of the firts one thanks to the signs used for its interpretation and its transcription.

Diplomatic and interpretative:

In this case, the edition resorts to paleographic texts, but a work of modernization and updating of the ortography and punctuation is carried out, and the text is adapted to the current writing. Editors have to have a deep philologic knowledge to carry out the process previously explained.

Genetic:

This may be the most dinamic edition, for all the stages that has undergone a text are shown, since its creation (a first draft, for example), through its transmision and right to its last edition.

New technologies have played an important role in this process, since they have not only worked as a tool, but also as a spreading means, thanks to the Internet, e-books and now through hypertext, a new format that is changing lirerary world in many senses

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Acostumbrados al libro convencional, ahora se nos presenta la oportunidad de no tener que andar cargando con esos pesados volúmenes de más de mil páginas de un lado para otro cuando queremos leer, y esa posiblididad nos la da el ebook o libro electrónico.

Este término se utiliza tanto para referirse a lo que es la versión digital de un libro o para hacer referencia al soporte o dispositivo necesario para poder leer ese tipo de texto. No debemos confundir ebook con hipertexto, pues este último es información estructurada por medio de enlaces, y el ebook es un libro normal digitalizado.

Las principales características que diferencian un ebook de un libro de papel es que, en un dispositivo que ya ocupa menos que un libro puedes almacenar alrededor de seis libros (dependiendo del tamaño de archivo, evidentemente), el dispositivo electrónico te permite realizar búsquedas de palabras o frases, trabajo bastante tedioso si se intenta hacer en un libro de papel, o se puede incluso intercambiar la “biblioteca” que se tenga en un ebook con otras personas. Pero a todo eso debemos añadirle otra serie de ventajas; para leer un libro de papel necesitamos luz, y esta ya viene incorporada en el ebook, permitiéndonos de esta forma leer en cualquier momento y lugar, si se quieren hacer anotaciones, las posibilidades que ofrece un libro electrónico son mejores que apuntar en las hojas, y tampoco podemos eludir el hecho de que ya no se necesita cortar tantos árboles.

Al final, poseer un ebook sale bastante rentable, tanto a los lectores como a los autores, pues estos últimos se ahorran gastos de producción y los primeros pueden encontrar ebooks (hablando del dispositivo) por unos 200€, y los textos se pueden bajar o comprar a un precio asequible.

Pero eso refiriéndonos a nuestra economía, pues pasar demasiado tiempo frente a una pantalla de ordenador o similar no es beneficioso, incluso si estos aparatos están preparados para no dañar tanto la vista, y la batería de estos dispositivos se agota, mientras que un libro lo tienes ahí en cualquier momento, es imposible que se te apague. También cabría mencionar el hecho de que, aunque haya que esperar quizá algún tiempo a que lleguen a las tiendas, los libros de papel “existen”, mientras que hay todavía infinidad de obras que aún no se encuentran en el formato requerido por los libros electrónicos, y de nada nos sirve tener el aparato si no tenemos el texto.

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El hecho de que estemos en una época de avance es ineludible, hay mejoras en casi todos los campos, desde la medicina hasta el arte; es sobre este último aspecto al que me voy a referir, a la creación de texto en concreto.

Hoy en día, además de poder crear arte (literatura en este caso) en papel, Internet nos da la posibilidad de ser autores de un tipo de literatura llamado “hipertexto”. Este formato innovador da la posibilidad de desplegar un texto gracias a hipervínculos, y de este modo se consigue que la lectura sea más personal, pues el lector suele tener varias opciones a elegir a la hora de leer un hipertexto. De todas formas, la idea que conlleva el hipertexto viene de hace bastantes años, pues Agostino Rameli en 1598 y Vannevar Bush en 1945 ya propusieron sistemas y dispositivos de funcionamiento similar al del hipertexto, pero sin contar con Internet, por supuesto.

El hipertexto no sólo permite romper con la linealidad que caracteriza a un libro, pues el lector va desplegando textos que están conectados unos con otros por enlaces electrónicos, dando lugar a diversos recorridos, sino que a lo que es el texto se le puede añadir imagen y sonido, convirtiendo al hipertexto en hipermedia; esto hace que la actividad de lectura sea, para algunos, más atractiva que la convencional. El papel de lector ahora incorpora nuevas características, como el hecho de que se convierte en un artista múltiple que está dentro de un hiperespacio en el que existen diferentes convergencias artísticas.

Pero no son el lector o el texto los únicos que tienen un nuevo papel en el proceso de creación, el autor también cambia. El creador de un hipertexto ya no debe preocuparse por la unidad de la obra, porque una de las cosas que permite el hipertexto es que no haya punto final, que siempre pueda iniciar algo. Por lo tanto, como Nuria Amat comenta en su libro El libro mudo. Las aventuras del escritor ante la pluma y el ordenador “¿cómo se puede formar una opinión sobre un hipertexto, si no hay unidad?, ¿cómo se comenta?”. Estas reflexiones auguran que este no será el final de la literatura impresa, sino el comienzo de un nuevo círculo.

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First of all we have to know that Machine Learning is part of Artificial Intelligence; as Tom Mitchel defined in his “Machine Learning” book “Machine Learning is the study of algorithms that allow computer programs to automatically improve through experience“. Machine Learning focuses most of the times on the study of Computational Complexity of the problems.

Machine Learning is applied in several areas, such as machine translation, automatic summarization or question-answering systems, and it is a good alternative to the manually built resources, since it can be improved at a lower cost and the guarantees are better. But linguistics may be in danger, for at this time more and more subtle specialist-reserved mathematical device are used.

In data analysis there are some systems that don’t need human intuition, but other systems are conceived so that the machine interacts with the expert. Nevertheless, human intuition is something that will always be needed, for the designer of the system is the one who decides and specifies the way information is represented and manipulated.

Artificial Intelligence has been created as the reflection of Natural Intelligence; intelligent behavior means that not always the reaction to a situation will be the same, what’s more, one of the qualities of intelligence is that behavior has not been programmed, but a computer only carries out something that has previously been programmed.

The algorithms that allow computers learn are classified based on the desired outcome of each algorithm, and Computational Learning Theory (a branch of Theoretical computer science) is responsible of its analysis.

The aim with Machine Learning is to make our life easier by doing programs that learn by themselves while they get experienced with the human, and are able to do common activities in a fast and effective way.

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On the third questionnaire, one of the subjects we have seen is machine translation. We have been asked to write a short Curriculum Vitae in Spanish and then translate it with three different online-translators (Google Translator, Lucy Translator and Reverso Translator). The results were more or less satisfying, but there were some big mistakes on the Spanish-English translation. Here is an example:

Entre mis aficiones, además de los idiomas, se encuentra la música. Estudié solfeo durante 8 años en el Conservatorio Municipal de Música Bartolomé Ercilla de Durango […]
Among my interests, besides the languages, he|she finds the music. I studied sol-fa|solfeggio for 8 years in the Municipal Conservatoire|Conservatory of Music Bartolomé Ercilla de Durango […]

What’s more, in one online translator we are warned and told that an automatic translation will never have the same quality of a translation done by a person (and the translation will be worse if the language is colloquial). Nevertheless, it is useful and you don’t spend so much time.

Machine Translation is a sub-field of computational linguistics and it is the application of computers to translate a text from one natural language to another. What basic MT does is to substitute words from one natural language to another, but more complex translations use corpus techniques and pay attention to the linguistic typology and translate idioms, among other things.

Users can interact with some translators and make the translations less ambiguous, for some of those systems give the user the opportunity to say which words are names. What others translators offer is a list of suggestions, the user chooses the one which best fits with what he was searching for and if none of the possibilities is what he looks for, he does some changes until he gets what he wants. After the TransType project, the results showed that with this way of translating users didn’t spend so much time an effort.

To sum up, we should add something that Ana Fernández Guerra and Francisco Fernández wrote in the book “Machine Translation, Capabilities and Limitations“. We could make some statements in the activity of translating:

  1. The possibility of translation: we are supposed to reproduce with total exactness every single piece of text or linguistic structure in other language we would find it difficult.
  2. Realize that we don’t translate from one language as a system to another language as a system, but from one text into another text.
  3. We should be cautious about some dogmatic statements.
  4. In the content (or message) of the text we must consider: meaning, designation and sense.

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