TAPoR 2.0

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Last Updated: Jan 21, 2013

Micro-OCP (Oxford Concordance Program) was a major and historically important textual analysis tool for microprocessor computers. It enabled users to generate concordances, word lists and indexes, in addition to facilitating text markup in COCOA or other markup languages. Micro-OCP was written in FORTRAN, ran primarily in a DOS environment and could be ported to other operating systems including UNIX.

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DocumentationAttributesUser Supplied Tags
Created: Dec 06, 2012
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2013
Background processing Not applicable
Ease of use Moderate
Historic tool (developed before 2005) No longer in active development
Type of analysis Concording, Statistical
Type of license Commercial
Web usable Other
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March 13, 2014 05:45 PM

Micro-OCP was an implementation of the original Oxford Concordance Program, available since 1981. More information on its development and utility may be found here:

Jones, Randall L. "Software Review: Micro-OCP." Computers and the Humanities 23.2 (1989): 131-135. Web.

More information about the Oxford Concordance Program as originally released may be found here:

O'Brien, Frank. "Software Reviews: Oxford Concordance Program." Computers and the Humanities 20.2 (1986): 138-141. Web.

September 19, 2013 09:06 PM

Program Overview

Micro-OCP was a microprocessor implementation of the second version of the Oxford Concordance Program (Jones 131).

Randall L. Jones regarded the OCP as an important and under-recognized contribution to the production of computer-assisted concordances (131). The original implementation of the OCP was designed and written by Ian Marriot and Susan Hockey over 1979 and 1980 (O'Brien 138). It ran on mainframe computers, mostly Digital or IBM equipment though it was designed to be machine-independent (138). As of 1986, over 200 university computer departments had purchased copies, though one of the 40 respondents to Frank O'Brien's 1984 survey of academic researchers reported that their institute could not accommodate the OCP's install requirements with the intended equipment (138).

The most commonly reported drawback was its long processing times (138). Most users felt the program was reliable with intelligent defaults, though post-purchase technical support was "poor to non-existent" despite the excellent user's manual (138). Overall, O'Brien judge the OCP to be a good investments for researchers who needed to do sophisticated analysis but for whom learning a programming language was prohibitive (O'Brien 141). It was particularly notable for integrating many of the most useful features of CLOC and COCOA (O'Brien 138).

The Micro-OCP debuted in 1987 (Jones 131). Jones described the Micro-OCP as

a general purpose program which makes indexes, concordances, and words lists from texts in a variety of languages. It is not an interactive text retrieval program, but rather it processes the data in batch mode then produces formatted output. Micro-OCP allows for excellent flexibility in the definition of the input and output formats as well as the type of index or concordance to be made. The program is completely menu-driven and requires no programming experience or technical understanding of the computer. Micro-OCP is, however, so feature laden that for even simple applications a fairly detailed orientation is required. (131)

Notably, the Micro-OCP allowed text to be formatted in fixed format, COCOA or starting string format (Jones 132). Its strength was its command language, which had commands in four categories (input, words, actions, format) that could be defined in a separate file via the provided commands construction kit and run on a text (132). Users could choose to extract only the dialogue spoken by a particular character, or extracts data from only one subset of the whole, or only process words of a particular length or starting with a particular character (Jones 133-134). The Micro-OCP was not suitable for lemmatized concordances or disambiguation -- though it was possible to use the commands to approximate it, the results suffered from accuracy problems (Jones 135).

Jones tested the Micro-OCP's processing time and found that

The length of time needed to process a text is a function of the microprocessor speed and the complexity of the task to be performed. A basic word list of a simple text with most command options not chosen requires much less time than a complete concord- ance of a complex text in which several of the *WORDS and *ACTION options have been selected. To make an index of the 36KB sample Greek file (Book 1 of the Iliad) on a PS2/30 required 11.2 minutes, while a complete concord- ance required 25.5 minutes. The output for the index used 86KB of storage on the hard disk; the concordance took up 426.5KB. (Jones 135)

He praised the manual as thorough with excellent tutorials, though he found the section on the command language to be cryptic in places (135). Despite a few drawbacks, Jones declared the Micro-OCP an excellent, high quality program (135).


Jones, Randall L. "Software Review: Micro-OCP." Computers and the Humanities 23.2 (1989): 131-167. Web.

O'Brien, Frank. "Software Reviews: Oxford Concordance Program." Computers and the Humanities 20.2 (1986): 131-167. Web.

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