The Use of Punched Cards in Linguistic Analysis

  • S. J. Roberto Busa


By the time of the writing of this article, the IBM 407 accounting machine, operating with an IBM 26 card punch, had become available to Busa. Here he describes how these and other accounting machines were used by his project to represent and process texts, line by line, and then word by word, on punched cards. He also describes tools like frequency lists, concordances and indexes that could be printed as a result. Busa emphasizes the usefulness of punched cards for the analysis of authors other than Aquinas, and for languages other than Latin, including right to left writing systems like Arabic and Hebrew. He also discusses the technical constraints on his work (for example, with respect to card capacity and character coding) and comments on financial and staff-time related issues.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Roberto Busa
    • 1
  1. 1.GallarateItaly

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