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Info updated: 2019-07-24
Average: 3.8 (12 votes)

Toolbox is a data management and analysis tool for field linguists. It is primarily aimed at editing lexical data, and for parsing and interlinearizing text, but it can be used to manage virtually any kind of data.

If you have experience with the Field Linguist's Shoebox, you can think of Toolbox as an enhanced version of Shoebox with a new name. It is fully compatible with Shoebox. You can install Toolbox and use it just as you used Shoebox, with virtually no difference. Because Toolbox is an enhanced version of Shoebox, it is sometimes referred to as Shoebox/Toolbox.

Toolbox is a text-oriented database management system with added functionality designed to meet the needs of a field linguist. The underlying dbms offers full user flexibililty in the design of any type of database. But for ease of use, the Toolbox package includes prepared database definitions for a typical dictionary and text corpus.

The Toolbox database management system offers powerful functionality like customized sorting, multiple views of the same database, browse view to show data in tabular form, and filtering to show subsets of a database. It can handle any number of scripts in the same database. Each script has its own font and sorting characteristics. Toolbox can handle scripts either in unicode or in most legacy encoding systems, and it can even mix both in a single file. (This should be avoided except as a temporary measure.)

Toolbox includes features specific to linguistics. It includes a morphological parser that can handle various morphophonemic processes. It has a word formula component that allows the linguist to describe all the possible affix patterns that occur in words. It then allows the user to define interlinear processes that break words down into glossed morphemes. These interlinear texts can be exported in a form suitable for use in linguistic papers. (Editing a entry does not affect texts that use that entry, but there is a semi-manual refresh option.) Toolbox has export capabilities that can be used to produce a publishable dictionary from a dictionary database.

The Toolbox downloads include a training package that is usable for self-paced individual learning as well as for classroom teaching of Toolbox.