Guide to General Inquirer Category Listings

This web page was created in July, 2000 and will be updated as needed with access to the latest dictionary spreadsheets. The spreadsheets have been corrected as minor errors are discovered and given increment numbers to represent the current revision. Version 1.0 represents the initial merged Harvard and Lasswell dictionaries, as created in June, 2000. The present version is 1.02, representing very minor changes as of August 20, 2000.


General Inquirer Basic Spreadsheet.

This spreadsheet format is exactly that used by the Inquirer. Each of the spreadsheet's 11,788 rows begins with an entry word or word sense in strict alphabetical order. The second column indicates whether the entry word appeared in the Harvard ("H4"), Lasswell ("Lvd") or both ("H4Lvd") dictionaries. The following 182 columns each show the assignments for a specified category. The final two columns are (1) "OthTags" for tags not otherwise placed and (2) "Defined" for most word sense definitions (except some of those that just distinguish between verb and non-verb usage).

Inquirer users modify the dictionary by downloading this Excel spreadsheet and adding columns for new categories. Any number of categories may be added to the Inquirer. Category columns may also be removed, providing they are not marker categories. Any number of rows for new entries may be added, providing the spreadsheet is sorted afterwards for strict alphabetical order. However, no word senses should be removed or added (without making corresponding changes in a separate file of disambiguation rules), nor should a word be added as an invariant that has already been disambiguated.

Words with only one sense number are usually irregular verbs or British spellings and are switched by the Inquirer to their present tense or American spellings, including any of their disambiguation rules.

To conform to SPSS's variable name length limit and allow for an appended character (#) to distinguish raw count scores from scores scaled for document length, all new category names should be limited to 7 characters (and also conform to other SPSS name restrictions for variables).

After the spreadsheet has been modified, it should be "saved as" a tab-delimited text file with an initial label row. This saved file can then be the dictionary input file to the Inquirer tagging procedure. The tag names are given to the Inquirer as they appear in the first row. These same names will then be headers for columns on the statistical output. Tags only appearing in the "OthTags" column will not appear in the statistical output. The "Defined" column, with all definitions preceded by a vertical bar, must be the last spreadsheet column.


General Inquirer Augmented Spreadsheet.

This format has these modifications, all produced by Excel, from the basic spreadsheet:

(1) Each tag category column has had a filter control added. By selecting the name of the tag in a window list next to each tag name in the first row, only those rows that contain that tag will be shown.

(2) The syntax tags and sense definitions have been placed near the entry words on the left side of the spreadsheet. After filtering on a tag column, it is then easy to view the words and definitions of word senses contained in that category.

Note: to unfilter a spreadsheet, go back to the arrows of that tag name (now in a different color) and select on "all".

(3) The sense definitions are now "wrapped" so they each occupy a cell of finite width.

(4) The number of words in each category has been placed in the second row, by using the Excel "COUNTA" function.

It is of possible to convert this augmented spreadsheet back to a basic spreadsheet by deleting the second row and moving the "Othtags" and "Defined" columns back to the right end of the spreadsheet.


General Inquirer Dictionary as a Word file.

This is the same information as in the spreadsheets, with the assigned tag categories listed in the same order as they appear on the spreadsheet. However, with the tags and sense definitions just listed after each entry, it can be printed. Having a printed copy of the dictionary can be helpful in navigating through either of the large spreadsheets. Depending upon the font and spacing selected, it prints out at about 220 pages.


General Inquirer Categories as Intellectual Property.

The development of the General Inquirer has been supported by grants from American, British and Australian government science foundations and by industry. Those who developed and contributed categories have done so with the understanding that they could be used by others for academic research. Many categories have a long and complicated history and may be copyrighted at one point or another. Persons who would like to use any category for any commercial use should first send an email to describing its intended use and arrange a permission for that application.


To download any of the three files:

Some cautions: Both spreadsheets are in Excel format. Both the spreadsheets and the MS Word file download without problems if you use Microsoft Explorer as your browser. Each spreadsheet, with its more than two million cells, requires about 1.8 megabytes, while the MS Word file is about 940K. Your software should have enough memory space allocated to handle files this size.

If you use Netscape or another browser or if you don't have Excel, you probably will have to load a tab-delimited version of the spreadsheet. This can be done either with a regular text file (2.9 megabytes) or better as a zipped text file (302K) if you have the software to unzip it. The tab-delimited file has the file labels in the first record and can be opened with Excel, Jmp, SPSS or other spreadsheet software. Also, instead of loading the General Inquirer Dictionary as a Microsoft Word file, you may instead download the dictionary as a text file (806K regular, or 302K zipped).

In downloading any of these files, you agree to respect the categories as intellectual properties and to email for permission to apply any category, or a modification of any category, for commercial use. Click then on the files you would like:

General Inquirer Basic Spreadsheet

General Inquirer Augmented Spreadsheet

General Inquirer Dictionary as a MS Word file


General Inquirer Tab-delimited Basic Spreadsheet

Zipped General Inquirer Tab-delimited Basic Spreadsheet

General Inquirer Dictionary Text

Zipped General Inquirer Dictionary