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Adaptation of Language Resources and Tools for Processing Cultural Heritage Objects

Workshop associated with the LREC 2012 Conference (21-27 May 2012)

26 May 2012, Istanbul, Turkey

NEW: Workshop Programme is now available

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Recently, the collaboration between the NLP community and the specialists in various areas of the Humanities has become more efficient and fruitful due to the common aim of exploring and preserving cultural heritage data. It is worth mentioning the efforts made during the digitisation campaigns in the last years and within a series of initiatives in the Digital Humanities, especially in making Old Manuscripts available in the form of Digital Libraries.

Most parts of these libraries are made available not only to researchers in a certain Humanities domain (such as, classical philologists, historians, historical linguists), but also to common users. This fact has posited new requirements to the functionalities offered by the Digital Libraries, and thus imposed the usage of methods from Language Technology for content analysis and content presentation in a form understandable to the end user.

There are several challenges related to the above mentioned issues:

  • Lack of adequate training material for real-size applications: although the Digital Libraries usually cover a large number of documents, it is difficult to collect a statistically significant corpus for a period of time in which the language remained unchanged.
  • In most cases the language historical variants lack firmly established syntactic or morphological structures and that makes the definition of a robust set of rules extremely difficult. Historical texts often constitute a mixture of several languages including Latin, Old Greek, Slavonic, etc.
  • Historical texts contain a great number of abbreviations, which follow different models.
  • The conception of the world is somewhat different from ours (that is, different thinking about the Earth, different views in medicine, astronomy, etc.), which makes it more difficult to build the necessary knowledge bases.
Having in mind the number of contemporary languages and their historical variants, it is practically impossible to develop brand new language resources and tools for processing older texts. Therefore, the real challenge is to adapt existing language resources and tools, as well as to provide (where necessary) training material in the form of corpora or lexicons for a certain period of time in history.

-- AdminUser -- 09 Dec 2011