ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996 - CNR
The Expert Advisory Group on Language Engineering Standards
by Nicoletta Calzolari, John McNaught and Antonio Zampolli
The Expert Advisory Group on Language Engineering Standards (EAGLES)
was launched in 1993 within the EC Linguistic Research and Engineering programme.
The aim of EAGLES is to accelerate the provision of standards for: (i) very
large-scale language resources; (ii) means to manipulate such knowledge,
via computational linguistic formalisms, mark-up languages and various software
tools; (iii) means to assess and evaluate resources, tools and products.
The areas of concern to EAGLES are: text corpora, computational lexicons1,
grammar formalisms, evaluation and assessment, and spoken language. For
each area a core Working Group has been established, where leading experts
from both research and industry are represented, combining their efforts
towards the development of a common basic European infrastructure and agreed
EAGLES has been conceived as a catalyst to pool concrete results coming
from current major European projects. Relevant common practices or upcoming
standards are being used as input.
The major efforts in EAGLES concentrate on the following activities:
By its very nature, EAGLES must interact closely with the scientific and
industrial R&D community. Since EAGLES involves many bodies active in
European NLP and speech projects, close collaboration with them is assured
and, significantly, in many cases, free manpower has been contributed, a
sign of both the commitment of these groups and the crucial importance they
place on reusability issues.
- detecting those areas ripe for short-term standardisation vs. areas
still in need of basic R&D
- assessing and discovering areas where there is a consensus across
existing linguistic resources, formalisms, speech systems and common practices
- surveying and assessing available proposals or specifications to evaluate
the potential for harmonisation and convergence
- proposing common specifications for core sets of basic phenomena,
recommendations for good practice, standard methodologies, etc
- setting up guidelines for represen-tation of core sets of basic features,
representation of resources, etc.
- feasibility studies for less mature areas
- suggesting actions for a stepwise procedure leading to the creation
of multilingual reusable resources, elaboration of evaluation methodolo-gies
and tools, etc.
The structure of EAGLES results from recommendations made by leading industrial
and academic centres, and by EC Language Engineering strategy committees.
A very large number of EU research centres, industrial organisations, professional
associations and networks are providing labour, for free, towards the common
effort: more than 100 sites are involved in the different EAGLES groups
or subgroups of which approximately 40% from industry distributed throughout
all the Working Groups. In human terms, there is now a large community that
has learned to work together towards standardisation objectives, is highly
motivated and has good industrial participation in key areas of spoken and
EAGLES has engendered a broad sense of cooperation, and offers a forum in
which users and developers can arrive at workable recommendations in LE;
they can contact EAGLES to get early information on guidelines, to offer
advice and collaboration.
The EAGLES Guidelines and the Editors' Introduction can be accessed, from
August 1996, at the EAGLES Web site:http://www.ilc.pi.cnr.it/EAGLES/home.html.
As any harmonisation effort is based on broad consensus, EAGLES actively
invites critical feedback from the community.
Tel: +39 50 560481
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