Foreword

At a time when the demand for high-quality text processing capabilities continues to grow at an exponential rate, it’s difficult to think of any sector or business that doesn’t rely on some type of textual information. The burgeoning web-based economy has dramatically and swiftly increased this reliance. Simultaneously, the need for talented technical experts is increasing at a fast pace. Into this environment comes an excellent, very pragmatic book, Taming Text, offering substantive, real-world, tested guidance and instruction.

Grant Ingersoll and Drew Farris, two excellent and highly experienced software engineers with whom I’ve worked for many years, and Tom Morton, a well-respected contributor to the natural language processing field, provide a realistic course for guiding other technical folks who have an interest in joining the highly recruited coterie of text processors, a.k.a. natural language processing (NLP) engineers.

In an approach that equates with what I think of as “learning for the world, in the world,” Grant, Drew, and Tom take the mystery out of what are, in truth, very complex processes. They do this by focusing on existing tools, implemented examples, and well-tested code, versus taking you through the longer path followed in semester-long NLP courses.

As software engineers, you have the basics that will enable you to latch onto the examples, the code bases, and the open source tools here referenced, and become true experts, ready for real-world opportunites, more quickly than you might expect.

Liz Liddy
Dean, iSchool
Syracuse University