Pitfalls of Online Antedating

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Jan 19 19:23:28 UTC 2005

When I got started doing antedatings, it was from the OED SF project:

The guidance given to me by Jeff Prucher, Malcolm Farmer and/or Jesse
Sheidlower was to be able to trace it to a page image, at least.
Then you aren't dependent on OCR, and can look up the bibliographic
info yourself.

I've tried to follow this rule since with submissions directly to the
OED, the HDAS, and this list.  The only place this rule has caused
me problems is with the turn of the century sports magazines which
have been scanned into the AAFLA's web site:


I'm pretty sure the pdf/"page images" in it are combinations of
graphic images, pasted in from scanned originals, and OCR'ed text
which has been put into new fonts and otherwise reworked.  But they
seem to have done an _excellent_ job.

Fortunately, most of the big databases that people use here have
page images incorporated.  Nexis/Lexis and Factiva don't but they
are so recent that they don't come into play for most of the antedatings
discussed here.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Baker, John
> Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re: Pitfalls of Online Antedating
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Pitfalls of Online Antedating
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
>         Fred's warning is well-taken (and I thank him for the
> correction), but I'm not sure what the answer is, short of
> checking every online citation against a hard copy.  I went
> back and looked again at the Westlaw document, and there is
> simply no setoff of the 1896 editorial material from the 1799
> document.    We clearly don't want to give up our use of
> online resources, even though they occasionally have errors.
> John Baker

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