SignWriting List
October 12, 2011

Beautiful work, Steve!

I am still reading and trying out all your links - it all seems to be working beautifully...

So let me ask to be sure I understand -

Can we say now, that the "Search by Symbols" feature in SignPuddle 1.6, allows us to:

1. search for all the signs that use a specific SignWriting symbol in SignMaker entries (dictionary entries) and SignText entries (literature entries)

2. search for combinations of symbols

3. search for symbols combined with location

4. search for exact SignSpellings

If this is all true, then we can finally say that searches can be conducted on SignWriting literature documents, which is what linguists have been asking for, for years -

I would like to announce this to the Sign Language Linguist LIst (SLLING) because there are several linguists who have requested this feature before...

But I also understand that the "Search by Symbol Frequency" feature does not search on literature in SignText yet - it is only the "Search by Symbols" feature that can do that so far, is that right?

It is all fantastic and thank you!!

On Oct 12, 2011, at 9:00 AM, Steve Slevinski wrote:

Hi list,

I've added a new feature to SignPuddle: advanced symbol searching.  It is flexible and it is fast.  It searches both individual signs and sign texts. There are 5 new possible searches you can perform: 4 available for sign entries, and a separate custom search.

The four sign entry searches
==Search Location - Exact==
Find signs that are exactly the same.  Same symbols, same exact position. 

==Search Location - Approximate==
Find signs that are approximately the same.  Same exact symbols, approximate locations.  The search location for each symbol uses a range of values.  These values are based on the symbol position relative to the sign's center.

==Search Symbols - Exact==
Find signs that have the exact same symbols.  Location is ignored.

==Search Symbols - Base==
Find signs that contain the same base symbols.  Fills and rotations are ignored.

For sign entries, these 4 search links are available.  Let's consider the entry for "season" in ASL:

Staying in the ASL dictionary puddle, a search for an exact sign match, will only find the entry for season.

Searching for approximate locations will find 2 entries:

Searching for the exact same symbols, ignoring location, will still only find 2 entries:

Searching for the base symbols, ignoring location, will find 5 different entries:

If we return to "season" and select the Search Location - Approximate link, we are given the option to search a different puddle:

If we select the ASL Bible puddle ,  we will find 6 different signs that look very similar to the sign for "season", but they have different strings.  One of the entries was used 38 times, the other entries were only used once each.  If we click on the sign that was used 38 times, we will view all of the signs or sign texts that used this exact sign:

This last page takes a few seconds to load due to all of the column images that are downloading.

Custom Symbol Search
The 5th search is the revamped "Search by Symbols".

The first thing you'll notice is the new cross-hairs in the center.  These are used to specify the position of each symbol.  Different positions have different results.

Searching for the index above the center:

Searching for the index below the center:

You can search for more than 1 symbol.  Each symbol can have 1 of 4 different types of symbol match.  The default for each symbol is the "Exact Match", which matches the base, fill, and rotation.  The "Any Match" matches the symbol base only.  The "Fill Match" will match the fill (palm facing), but ignore the rotation.  The "Rotation Match" will match the exact rotation,but ignore the fill.

Searching was one of the last barriers to being able to efficiently process the SignWriting script.  This new searching technique uses relatively simple regular expressions.  It is easy to code and fast to execute.  No matter the programming language or the device, real searching of the SignWriting script is now a reality.

Most importantly, this technique does not require artificial restrictions on the SignWriting script.



Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
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