[Sca-cooks] Indexing was To Milk an Almond: Index? Database?

Daniel Myers dmyers at medievalcookery.com
Sat Jul 9 07:27:33 PDT 2011

Having done just this sort of thing (
http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/search.html ) I have to agree with
Johnnae that it is indeed more difficult than it looks.  I've automated
much of the process for indexing etexts, and it still takes a
significant amount of manual work.

One additional difficulty that Johnnae didn't mention is the issue of
spelling variations.  Many of the texts we're dealing with are in Middle
English, which was very ... creative ... in its spelling (e.g. 23
different spelling variations for "chicken" in Two Fifteenth-Century
Cookery Books).  There are some ways to automate some of the matching,
but a lot of the index must still be hand-buit.

All that being said, I'd be happy to help out with the project.

- Doc

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Indexing  was To Milk an Almond: Index?
> Database?
> From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
> Date: Sat, July 09, 2011 8:58 am
> To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> From the outside, indexing always looks easy, however
> it's neither easy nor is it a snap in terms of time and effort.
> I see several problems with attempting to group index even one  
> specific work.
> One problem with group indexing is that each person could
> approach indexing the recipes in a slightly different manner and that  
> would
> create chaos in the editing and possibly in the finished product.  
> Apple or apples?
> Fruit- Apples? Pies? Pie? Tart? tarts? Pies, apple? Pies-apple?
> (This is all part of an arcane art called Vocabulary Control.  
> Librarians used to take
> courses in it.)
> Just to start, which style of indexing will be
> used? Will all contributors adhere to it? Consistency across any index  
> is the key; can
> one maintain that consistency when the contributors come from  
> different backgrounds
> and are approaching the project in spare moments?
> (Nancy Humphreys helpfully discusses styles here:
> http://www.wordmapsindexing.com/old-wmaps/cookbooks.shtml )
> One option that I see here is that since _To Milk and Almond_ will be  
> online is that one
> should be able to use either the "FIND" function and search for  
> ingredients or keywords in that fashion
> or download the PDF and search using the "SEARCH" function there.
> What could be done is to add additional information to each recipe in  
> the document as needed and place those
> revised sections up in place of the original sections online.
> One could add certain terms  or descriptions as:
> Suitable for Potluck; Suitable for Large Feasts; Recommended for Small  
> Feasts: Gluten-Free;
> Suitable for Low Salt Diets; Not suitable for humid conditions, Slow- 
> Cooker, etc.
> If you added such terms to each recipe as needed, then readers ought  
> to be able to find those
> terms when doing a search. Also having such descriptions attached to  
> each recipe would be helpful
> for those readers just browsing through the collection and might  
> inspire more cookery.
> Johnnae
> On Jul 9, 2011, at 5:01 AM, David Friedman wrote: about possibly  
> indexing  our recipe collection. _To Milk an Almond
> snipped The old fashioned solution is to  index it, so that one could  
> look up all recipes with pork and get a list of page numbers. snipped
> > Thoughts? Would it be a project worth doing? Volunteers?
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