an EU Project for an Intelligent Dictionary
Benedict is a large development project
for an intelligent dictionary, which started as part of the second
last call of the EU's 5th Framework IST (Information Society
Technologies) research program. The driving force behind the
project is the Finnish language technology firm Kielikone Ltd,
also known for the new MOT GlobalDix multilingual dictionary
that is based on the Kernerman Semi-Bilingual Dictionaries series.
Kielikone is responsible for the software development and coordination
of Benedict. Also involved in the creation are the University
of Tampere, Gummerus Publishers and Nokia from Finland, and the
University of Lancaster and HarperCollins Publishers from the
Benedict attempts to break the mental barriers caused by the
tradition of the dictionary as a printed product, which still
restrict its development in the electronic era. One such obstacle
has been the notion that dictionary entries can appear only in
one form: the one in which they are printed. The new Benedict
dictionary will no longer look the same for each user - it will
adapt to different users, even to different texts the users work
with. How can such an adaptation be obtained so as to truly benefit
the user? This is the challenge about to be solved during the
three years of the project.
The Benedict product will provide an interactive user-specified
access interface that tailors the dictionary content according
to user specifications, multi-layered entry structure, links
to corpus data, and syntactically- and semantically-based corpus
search tools in the dictionary database. Benedict is particularly
aimed to cater for the demands of the multilingual corporate
world. It will also transform the approach to economic space
consumption, which has restricted the amount of data that can
be accessed through a dictionary.
The new Benedict dictionary will not be created from scratch.
The basis for its software development is MOT 3.0 - Kielikone's
current dictionary engine that has been on the market (Windows,
intranet/Internet, mobile) for more than 10 years. The new features
will be integrated gradually in future editions of MOT. Since
Kielikone and the University of Lancaster have considerable experience
in language technology applications, the Benedict project will
be able to employ state-of-the-art HLT (Human Language Technology)
components in creating the final product. One of these components
is the semantic tagger developed in Lancaster, which might have
a vital role in directing the user to the relevant information
in the dictionary entry. Kielikone has already developed also
parsers, lemmatizers and other HLT solutions for the Finnish
language, which will be applied in this project as well.
Significant sub-projects of Benedict include dictionary projects
by HarperCollins and Gummerus, in which dictionary content will
be developed especially, but not entirely, for electronic use.
The University of Lancaster has another big project to further
develop their English semantic tagger and to develop a Finnish
semantic tagger in collaboration with the University of Tampere
- as an experiment for developing semantic taggers for more languages.
Kielikone plans to develop by-products in the project, like a
system for updating the dictionary content, which applies user
logs of the web dictionary. Perhaps more interesting for the
dictionary community will be DixEdit, a structured content editor
especially developed for lexicographic content. This will enable
XML output of the dictionary, while the user doesn't have to
input a single tag herself/himself. DixEdit shows the content
in WYSIWYG view during the editing process, and the validity
of the data is automatically surveyd all the time. The first
version of DixEdit is already available for Windows 98/2000/XP
(a sample screen appears below)
About the author
Mika Herpiö graduated from the Helsinki
University of Technology. He is the director of business development
and a partner in Kielikone Oy.
K Dictionaries Ltd
Kielikone is the leading Finnish language engineering company.
It develops generic linguistic software modules as a base for
various language technology products such as dictionary software,
machine translation software, terminology management software,
and spell and grammar checkers for Finnish. Today, Kielikone
focuses on two product lines: dictionary software and machine
translation, and provides solutions for the every-day needs of
language users on Windows, Internet/intranet, and mobile platforms.
10 Nahum Street, Tel Aviv 63503 Israel
tel: 972-3-5468102 fax: 972-3-5468103