3. Opening a Document for Editing


Once you have the RSTTool opening correctly, you can load in a document for editing. You can either:

3.1 Importing Plain Text

  1. Preparing the Text: To edit a document in the RSTTool, you need to first save it in plain text format. In word processors such as MS Word or WordPerfect, there is usually an option to "Save as Text". Before saving Word documents as text, I usually do a global replace of paragraph markers with two paragraph markers, and then save "with Linebreaks" at the end of each line. This produces an easy to see indication of paragraph boundaries in the plain text file.

  2. Launch the RSTTool;

  3. Select "Import Text File" from the Opening window. If you already have the tool open, you can also select the Import Text option from the File menu.

  4. Specify files: You will now be presented with a dialog asking you to do two things:
    1. Specify the Text file to load: Click on the "Locate" button and locate the prepared text file.
    2. Specify if you wish to import a Master relations file or not. If you have previously worked with the RSTTool, and have a file holding relation definitions (A master file), then you can specify that this file is to be loaded in as the relation set to work with for this document. Otherwise, just click on "Start from Scratch". Then, you will start with no relations initially defined, and you can define your own set (see section on Relations Editor).
    3. Press the Import button.

The system will then load the designated text file into the Text Segmentation Interface. Proceed to section 4 for details on how to segment the text.

3.2 Loading an Existing RST Analysis

If you have an existing RST file, you can load it in.

  1. Launch the RSTTool;

  2. Select "Load RST File" from the Opening window. If you already have the tool open, you can also select the Load RST option from the File menu.

  3. Specify File to load: You will now be presented with a dialog asking you which file to load. The RSTTool can load two formats of RST files at present:
    1. .rst : this extension indicates the file is in the format from version 1.0 of the RSTTool (prior to May 1999). The current version still supports this version for both loading and saving. You will have to load a relations master file in separately if you use this format (see "Switching Relation Sets" below).
    2. .rs2 : this extension indicates that the file is in the format used in version 2 of the tool. This format is an XML type representation. Note that this file format supports the inclusion of relations directly in the structure file, or alternatively, a reference to a relation master file may be embedded in the file.

The file will be loaded into the system and you can then edit it.

Note that if an rs2 format file specifies a particular relation file to load (perhaps because files have been moved since the file was saved), then the system will prompt you to locate the relations master file.

If you can't find the file, or it has ceased to exist, you can load the file without a relations file. A set of relations will be built up by the system, using the relations which appear in the structural description of the text. Each of these will be recorded as a simple RST relation, even if they are multinuclear or schema elements. You will then need to edit the relations set (see section on the Relations Editing facility) to get them to your desired format.

3.3 Saving Structured Documents

When it comes time to save the document, you can select Save from the File menu. If the document so far lacks a file name (e.g., it was created by importing text), you will be asked where to save the document, and also which format (.rst is the old format, or .rs2 is the new one). Otherwise the document will be saved to the last location and format.

You can also select Save As to change the location or format.

Note that the existing relations set will be saved either with the document, or as a separate relations master. Select Save options under the Options menu to see which alternative is nominated.

3.4 Moving Between Interfaces

The RSTTool consists of fourseparate tools:

  1. The Text Interface: for editing text, and changing the segmentation boundaries;

  2. The Structuring Interface: for graphically structuring the text;

  3. The Relations Editor: for managing the rhetorical relations and schemas. The interface allows you to add, rename or delete relations, or load in alternative relation sets;

  4. The Statistics Interface : allowing you to derive basic statistics about your text.

At the top of the RSTTool interface are five buttons. The first four allow you to switch through the interfaces. The last one, Quit, allows you to leave the RSTTool.

The four interfaces will be explained in more detail below.