Archive for the ‘Text Series’ Category

Are Texts Unstructured Data? [Text Series]

Monday, November 5th, 2012

I ask because there is a pejorative tinge to “unstructured” when applied to texts. As though texts lack structure and can be improved by various schemes and designs.

Before reaching other aspects of such claims, I wanted to test the notion that texts are “unstructured.” If that the case, then, the Gettysburg Address written:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Should be equivalent to the Gettysburg Address Scrambled (via the 3by3by3 Text Scrambler):

not are or freedom—and great a consecrated gave by as devotion they created in portion great and fought forth lives that are should we have that is nor died our to not a struggled the testing here, equal.

Now nation, little this to all civil highly we in these remaining say who we work perish nation, endure. engaged brave resolve that for here. the The of shall Four remember take here we fitting we liberty, forget did to It living poor that above and have honored ground. consecrate, place that is they the for have nation, the nation, for so ago what here, score not us—that it that us dead for who to we those from resting here can fathers this.

But, the that here It war. a is far never do years not what of proper new this brought and shall last earth. conceived their be of nation to detract. men dedicated here battle-field dedicated men, and in come are altogether the cause of great can which whether nobly living, this to which dead, rather to birth that who a field, will advanced. add so proposition people, long The the they power new It any us long increased and on we met or sense, for might hallow dedicate these far devotion—that to not note, in a the We dead before on full government dedicated we have from that war, the conceived God, a thus measure can gave of be people, that here We continent so a it, world people, vain—that dedicate, under can shall live. but larger task have dedicated, unfinished final our rather, can seven

It may just be me but I don’t get the same semantics from the second version as the first.


My premise going forward is that texts are structured.