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Typing the lexicon(Shoebox history)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 25, 2000, 5:02
>> > BTW, does SIL mention why it's called _SHOEBOX_?
Many people answered, and I'm glad to see that SIL gave due credit, and that the tradition lives on. Dirk Elzinga wrote:
>This is not a legend. During the time when I was working as a research >assistant to Wick Miller, I occasionally had to refer to his shoeboxes >of Shoshoni note cards, though not often; I usually worked from the >notebooks of transcribed oral narratives (actually, they weren't >shoeboxes; they were very sturdy, archival quality cardboard index >boxes). And there were in fact notebooks where the card numbers were >entered. > >It was an amazing experience to see how massive amounts of field data >could be organized quickly but effectively without software.
Those 3x5 card boxes are study indeed; I'm still using 4 of mine, they even survived the Indonesian climate. Actually, in one of Pike's or Nida's manuals, a great deal of time is spent telling you how to organize your data, and, since they were probably writing/re-writing material from the 30s or 40s, they really did recommend a shoebox. There was also a complicated system of cards with holes along the top and sides which you punched out for the appropriate phoneme/morpheme etc. To sort out, say, PAST, or PLURAL, you ran your wife's knitting needle thru the holes, and every card with PAST or PLURAL etc. would fall out. Who woulda thunk.