[ Paper (PDF, 616 kb) ]
- Bart Alewijnse (2008)
- Towards a more usable L04 package
- Master's thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
The L04 dialectometric package gives its users interesting features in three domains:
string comparison, numeric data analysis, and cartography. Having
grown around immediate needs, it does however present some rather specific
solutions to various problems. L04 takes the shape of a set of command line
utilities that can be flexibly combined in various ways, though its setup as well
as documentation is rather technical. At points, L04 even seems opposed to ease
of use. Intentions and meanings of features and documentation can be unclear,
some pivotal analysis choices are only identified by close reading, while aspects
like character coding, data structuring, and any necessary text translation intricacies
are left entirely to the user to execute and verify. This makes it far
from trivial to use for researchers with more interest in linguistic variation than
in unix command lines. While L04's tutorials explain a good amount of details
and alternatives, it is still easy to be insecure about how one should proceed
and how to plan the steps to support a particular goal.
This thesis aims to be an analysis of the problem points that users of L04
regularly meet, with an eye to eliminating them and to making L04 more immediately
useful and pleasing for its potential users.
This means development of a hopefully easy to use graphical interface, as
well as simplifying data input, data organization and data alteration, minimizing
learning curves, and lessening the insecurities about whether the program is
doing what a user intends.