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BNC Indexer

What is BNC Indexer?

BNC Indexer is a tool for those who want/need to use the British National Corpus (OLD VERSION – NOT BNC WORLD EDITION) under Microsoft Windows. The BNC distribution provides a software tool (SARA) that can select subsets of the corpus for analysis based on a number of parameters, such as domain, mode, author age/sex/type, etc. However, this tool lacks a number of text handling facilities commonly found in other corpus handling applications. Specifically, SARA is particularly poor as far as collocations are concerned.

With BNC Indexer and a powerful corpus handling tool, such as Wordsmith Tools, you can have all the flexibility (and more!) of SARA for text selection and use your favourite text hacking tools.

BNC Indexer is extremely easy to use. You just click on the text classification criteria and it will retrieve the file names, together with all their characteristics. Then you can deselect unwanted files and finally export the file list, or copy the whole data grid to the clipboard (which you can then paste on any word processor and convert it into a table). You can even save your queries in external files and exchange them with colleagues using BNC Indexer.


What features can I expect?

  • Easy access to all of the BNC’s original text classification criteria. By means of these you will be able to retrieve those files you are interested in according to the following criteria:

  • Mode: written or spoken
  • Interaction: dialogue, monologue
  • Circulation: high, medium, low
  • Domain: leisure, arts, commerce, etc.
  • Keywords: choose from two sets of weywords
  • Medium: book, periodical, etc.
  • Sampling: full text, sample, etc.
  • Author age
  • Author sex
  • Author type: individual, corporate, etc.
  • Audience age
  • Audience sex
  • Audience type
  • Added classification of texts into genres (contributed by David Lee).
  • Graphical queries: all the interaction is carried out with your mouse, you don’t have to learn any obscure query language.
  • Individual file selection: once retrieved by your query, you can individually de-select any files based on the information that is shown for each of them.
  • File viewing: you can quickly view any BNC file selected by your query.
  • User-friendly on-line help: the HTML help system includes not only a detailed account on how to use the software, but also a guide to set up and use the BNC under Windows

What hardware and OS do I need to run BNC Indexer?

BNC Indexer is a 32-bit Windows program. This means that you will need Windows 95/98/NT/2000 to run it. If you are happy with how your machine performs with other Windows applications, you will be happy with how BNC performs. I have run it on my 120Mhz Pentium laptop under Windows 95 (32 megs. RAM) quite smoothly (it just takes some time to fill up the data grid when a large number of files are selected).

The only special requirement is at least a 800×600 screen resolution, which BNC Indexer needs in order to show all of the available selection criteria in convenient list boxes. If you are not sure which resolution your screen has (or may be set to work at), you can check this by right-clicking on the Windows desktop and clicking on “Properties”, see the information in the “Settings” tab.


I’m interested! How can I get BNC Indexer?

BNC Indexer is FREEWARE. You can download it from this site (just click on the links below).

Click here to download! (5.7 Mb)

In order to install, simply run the self-extracting archive bncidx-10.exe and follow the instructions. BNC Indexer has detailed on-line help. Please take the time to read it to take full advantage of all of BNC Indexer’s features.