I, like a lot of people, am interested in the idea of using the web as a
data source for corpus construction.
Saying that, I have some basic questions that I'd really appreciate hearing
1. What do (various groups of) users of corpora actually want, need or
wish for from a corpus: and, would 'web-text' meet these requirements?
2. What are user's selection criteria - in choosing a corpus?
3. Does anyone know: what kinds of texts are available on the web, of
what quality, and in what quantities (is there any data on this)?
4. How would one estimate the necessary size of a corpus (to be useful
for some purpose) built from web-texts using sampling theory etc?
If anyone knows of any papers on any/all of this - please do tell!
I'd also be interested in opinions on the statement (in answer to '3'), 'who
can tell?', i.e. it's nonsensical to even ask '3', because, as the web is
constantly changing, what can really be said about quantity, quality and the
text-types available etc?? Does this also invalidate the second part of '1'
- if one cannot tell what one might find, how could one judge ahead of time
whether or not it'd meet 'any' requirement?
Lastly, I think that the web contains some text-types that are unique to it,
e.g., chat-room and blog texts. However, I'm on a sticky wicket as I have
no proof that that such text-types actually differ from texts found in
conventional corpora. Does anyone know if there has been any examination of
this type of prose at all? OR, if there hasn't, can someone suggest how
such an examination could be achieved?
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