The Library Basement
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Natural Language Processing with Python

I was browsing through a local bookshop's computer section recently and saw a title which instantly grabbed my attention: Natural Language Processing with Python. It was a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay at that moment, but I thought I may save up.

As it happily turns out, the entire book is available online under a Creative Commons license (BY-NC-ND). This is the sort of thing which makes me really happy. I am going to be checking it out, and if it is useful enough, I may buy to paper copy to thank the authors and O'Reilly for publishing such a great book.

The book is focused mostly on the Natural Language Tool Kit (nltk) Python module, which is available under an Apache license. I had never used it before, but it looks fairly capable. I must admit I was somewhat surprised that Google finds relatively few pertinent results when searching for "nltk new testament greek" or "nltk biblical studies." The library seems quite suited to the field, so I am surprised it is not more popular among Bible scholars. If nltk is any good, I intend to change that.

Huck Finn: Python edition

Someone proposed a Kickstarter project to replace the "n-word" with "robot" in Huck Finn. The project is in the vein of other recent humorous edits of literature in the public domain, though they claim to have an altruistic goal - to get the redacted version of the story back into the hands of kids everywhere. You can even get your name added as a minor character to the book if you donate enough to the project! Let's call it "benevolent censorship". Or maybe "the rape of the public domain." Actually, best not to describe it at all.

The scope of the project includes comissioning an introduction, altering illustrations, and editing the text. Well, I can help with one part of that. The full text of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is available on Project Gutenberg. I've written [a short Python script to replace every instance of the n-word with "robot."][]

Just run it and then you'll have a nice txt file of the robot edition. There, now the editing part is done. Can I get my name added as a townsperson?

[a short Python script to replace every instance of the n-word with "robot."]: http://thelibrarybasement.com/images/2011/02/robot_huck_finn.py_.txt

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