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Daily Archive for Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

wikipedia: philology

The philology research community is on the verge of a breakthrough in productivity facilitated by the availability of powerful research tools that can be applied to electronic versions of texts. There are literally thousands upon thousands of medieval and renaissance texts for which authorship and provenance are not known. Without this information these texts cannot be used by historians in their research. More sophisticated tools for identifying similarities and differences between texts could theoretically be used to determine the author and date of writing of many of these texts. However, there are several obstacles to realizing this goal. First, many of the texts on which philologists would like to work are not available in electronic form or are only available electronically for high license fees and through restrictive interfaces. Second, tools that allow sophisticated types of queries about the texts have yet to be developed. Although a complete electronic corpus of electronic texts with such research tools available for it is a common goal of philologists, the task of producing both the corpus and the tools appears insurmountable to any small group of researchers.

This message from Rnesson, my daughter Rebecca, who signs email

Rebecca Nesson
Candidate for Ph.D., Computer Science
Harvard Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Jamaica Voices Coming Up

The Observer reports the escape attempt and killings at Tower Street General Penitentiary, March 31, 2005. This was a galvanizing event in the history of Jamaica’s correctional services, a moment in which people on all sides of the violence between keeper and kept are paused and looking for a better way forward. I attended Maurice Whittingham’s funeral, the first correctional officer to have been shot dead in many decades, a signal event.

The Gleaner reports our partnership to respond. A rehabilitation program took root in Jamaica’s prisons back in the era of Colonel Prescod and Desmond Green. It survived through early success and burst bubble as SET, students expressing truth, inmates who preferred to stay and work in a computer lab than go out on the road to sing. Kevin Wallen leads SET, now expanded to include staff as well as prisoners. Major Richard Reese is the Commissioner of Corrections. It is our partnership to advance SSET’s Rehabilitation and ReEntry Program.

Jamaica’s Department of Corrections holds a press conference to announce its intensified Rehabilitation Re-Entry Program in partnership with Kevin Wallen and the Berkman Center. This audio is near twenty minutes long, opening with the usual Jamaican formalties acknowledging the presence and introduce persons of note, then moves to statements by Major Reese, Kevin Wallen and me, still with a lot to learn.

The Observer reports that Richard Reese has released his report on the March 31, 2005 killings at Tower Street General Penitentiary. A fair detailed report provides foundation for discussion among all concerned, and evolution of a common plan to honor those past and move ahead. This is the challenge that lies ahead

Father Reece asks a question against the visual and audio background of Tower Street, GP. This a video made years ago when we were first coming to know Kingston’s prisons. Father Reece, initially a death row inmate whose sentence was commuted to life, when told after serving 18 years that he had no possibility of parole, escaped and is still free. In this there is irony.