1. Introduction

This document is a user manual for the Systemic Coder, a tool that facilitates the linguistic coding of corpus material, through the efficient prompting of the user for relevant categories. Linguistic features are organised in terms of a systemic network -- an inheritance heirarchy -- to reduce the amount of coding effort.You first define your feature heirarchy, and then prompted to code the segements of the text according to the heirarchy. These codings can then be statistically analysed, either using the built-in comparative statistics programs, or by exporting the codings in a form readable by statistical packages.

The tool works under Windows, Unix and Linux operating systems (and possibly others). It requires the pre-installation of Tcl/Tk, a scripting language engine. Installation of Tcl/Tk is straightforward, and is described below.

The Tool consists of five interfaces:

The Systemic Coder was initially developed under the Electronic Discourse Analyser project, funded by Fujitsu (Japan), and based in Sydney (Matthiessen et al. 1991). Faced with the need for grammatical profiles of our target texts, and lacking a wide-coverage parser, we developed the Coder to help build this profile. The Coder was further developed under an NSF-funded project to study the register of Newspaper articles, as part of a wider goal of making the output of a text generation system sensitive to register variation (see Bateman & Paris 1989a, 1989b; Paris & Bateman 1990). Since then, the tool has been under continual development to make the tool easier to use.

The next section will outline how to get started with the Coder, installation and launching. Later sections will outline how to segment, code, and explore a text.