EAGLES meeting


Oct 1993

One benefit accruing from my attendance at the Eagles meeting in Paris is that I got some more information about what exactly is supposed to be going on in Eagles. I also doubled the size of my collection of NERC reports by acquiring a copy of a very sensible TEI review produced by Dominique Vignaud and Pierre Lafon.

There are five EAGLES groups: on Resources, Language Corpora, Speech, the Lexicon, and Evaluation & Assessment (with which Henry Thompson is involved). The group on language corpora has five subgroups. One is chaired by John Sinclair on text typology, and I have no information on its progress other than verbal rumblings from Birmingham. One is on linguistic annotation and is chaired by Geoffrey Leech who has circulated a detailed work paper which rather overlaps the work presented in AI2 W2, but has some interesting differences. A third is supposed to address something called "text representation issues" and is chaired by Gregoire Clemencin of GSI/ERLI; the Paris meeting was called to discuss a work paper submitted to this group by Nancy Ide and Jean Veronis. There seemed to be some doubt about the responsibilities of the two remaining subgroups: one concerns documentation and distribution, for which Pisa is responsible; the other concerns "tools" for which Wolf Paprotte at Muenster is fingered.

Members of the TR subgroup are Veronis, Clemencin, Ramesh Krishnamurthy from Birmingham and Henry Thompson from Edinburgh. Nancy Ide was also present at the meeting as a TEI spokesperson, officially; Ramesh was unable to attend; Antonio was also unable to attend, through illness (He did however speak to us from his hospital bed by telephone during the afternoon; the word is that he should be back at work next week.)

EAGLES groups have two years in which to produce their recommendations; a mid term report (to be jointly edited by Nicoletta Calzolari and Jock McNaught) is due in April 1994, with final reports one year later. I'm not sure whether this report is supposed to cover all Eagles activities, or just those of the Corpus group, but believe the latter. The TR subgroup plans to complete its input to this report by February, and the document previously circulated by NI/JV was a first stab at producing draft for it.

The task of this workgroup was to provide a set of recommendations for the encoding of corpora, based on a review of the TEI. Most of the meeting was spent reviewing some of the formal decisions already taken by the TEI with a view to generality of application; I will not repeat them here since I am sure they will also appear in the minutes of the meeting. The chief point made and made frequently was that it was up to this workgroup to pin down those generalities and recommend specific solutions. There was a clear understanding of the extension and modification mechanisms provided within the TEI framework, and an evident willingness to apply them to the task in hand. It was less clear whether EAGLES would decide to propose a single 'boiled-down' TEI dtd, or instead a package of customizations of the full TEI.2 dtd.

It was at least tentatively agreed that Eagles-conformance implied two things: adherence to a specific set of editorial principles (HT likes to call these "invariants") governing such things as punctuation, normalization etc., as documented in the TEI <editDecls>, or a list of such specified sorts. And secondly use of an SGML dtd which could be derived in a TEI conformant way from TEI.3. The perceived value of sgml was in the validation it offered, which goes some way to explain the concern expressed in the NI/JV document about "polysematic combinatorics" etc.

Unfortunately I had to leave the meeting before it finished (someone was on strike at Roissy) so I do not yet know whether (or how) the work group plans to descend from these general preliminaries to the tough task of actually deciding whether to recommend <div> or <div1> or either, what sort of <w> tag to use and so on. With my BNC hat on, it seems to me that we could possibly offer some help in this respect; with my TEI hat on, it seems to me essential to monitor closely the work of this group, as it tests the viability of the TEI scheme in a variety of new application areas.