Using the BNC

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Dec 16 15:35:33 UTC 2002

Quoting Scott Sadowsky <lists at SPANISHTRANSLATOR.ORG>:

> Traditionally, I suppose the main utility of page numbers was to allow
> others to verify the existence and veracity of quotations without having to
> wade through tens or hundreds of thousands of irrelevant words. But if
> you're working with an electronic corpus, what's the point of page
> numbers?  Anyone who wants to verify your claims can pull the word or
> phrase in question up in a matter of seconds.
> And sure, not everyone has access to the BNC, but not everyone has access
> to the June 12, 1962 edition of the Bumford Times Herald, either.

But the page number is essential if you want to check the accuracy of the
electronic version. One has no assurance that the text wasn't altered when it
was digitized. Such changes happen often enough that it is not a trivial issue.
Depending on the importance of the quotation to your work, you may very much
want to go back and look at it in the original just to make sure.

Dave Wilton
dave at

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