Origin of the Old English section of the Helsinki Corpus
(Adapted, with the publisher's permission, from Rissanen, Matti - Merja Kytö - Minna Palander (1993), Early English in the computer age: explorations through the Helsinki Corpus. Berlin - New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 21-32. Minor changes have been made to remove outdated statements. Note a has been added for update information.)
The Old English section of the Helsinki Corpus is based on a machine-readable transcript of c. 2,000 surviving Old English texts prepared at the University of Toronto as a preliminary step in the preparation of the Dictionary of Old English and also used as the basis of the Microfiche Concordance to Old English (Healey - Venezky 1980) and A Microfiche Concordance to Old English: The High-Frequency Words (Venezky - Butler 1985). [a] The Toronto Corpus (Release 1, October 1982) was made available to us by the kind permission of the Dictionary of Old English and through the services of the Oxford Text Archive. The Old English section of the Helsinki Corpus represents about one seventh of the Toronto Corpus.
As a result of proofreading and subsequent checks and corrections the Toronto Corpus version and our text differ in a number of readings. When proofreading we have turned to the final published versions of works available to the compilers of the Toronto Corpus only in their manuscript form (Martyrology, Adrian and Ritheus, Solomon and Saturn, etc.).
In 1989 and in early 1990, all the Old English texts in the Helsinki Corpus were proofread by comparing them to the printed editions of the texts. A fair number of discrepancies were found; it was, however, impossible to decide whether they were due to typing errors or due to the fact that the Dictionary of Old English staff had consulted copies of the original manuscripts, and, in a couple of cases, had used editions that were not available to us. This problem was partly solved through correspondence with the Dictionary of Old English staff; moreover, Matti Kilpiö spent the Easter of 1990 in Toronto checking some of the queries. The remaining checks were kindly carried out by Robert Stanton from the Dictionary of Old English.
New discrepancies have been found since then: the normal procedure has been to add "our comment" to such divergent cases to ensure that the user of the Helsinki Corpus is made aware of the difference between the Helsinki Corpus text and the edition available in the Helsinki Corpus files.
[a] See also http://quod.lib.umich.edu/o/oec/ and http://www.doe.utoronto.ca/.
Healey, Antonette diPaolo - Richard L. Venezky 1980. A microfiche concordance to Old English. (Publications of the Dictionary of Old English 1.) Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
Venezky, Richard L. - Sharon Butler 1985. A microfiche concordance to Old English: The high-frequency words. (Publications of the Dictionary of Old English 2.) Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.