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Description of the OSLIN system

Project Goals

The OSLIN project is a multi-facetted project. It can either be seen as aiming at providing linguistic data, or as a project to develop a rich design structure for lexical information, or as a project for the development of a lexicon management system. Although these three aspects are interdependent, they provide different perspectives on the aim of the OSLIN project.

From the perspective of the web-site, the project is meant as an online reference tool, aimed both at the general public and the academic community. For the general public, the system aims to provide a range of information in a user-friendly fashion, which should allow everybody with minimal computer skills to find information he or she might be looking for. The type of information provided answers to the questions that in surveys have proven to be the most frequent questions users are facing: does this word exist? is this word correctly spelled? and how do I inflect this word? For the academic community, the site furtermore attempts to provide a variety of search methods that allow for very specific search actions, making the site as useful a tool as possible.

From the perspective of the design, the database is meant as a multi-functional lexicon, where a single lexicon can be used for a variety of purposes. To achieve this, the design of the database is more elaborate than most other lexicon systems, since the type of information needed for part-of-speech tagging (for instance) is not always the same as the type of information needed for a user wanting to know how to inflect a word. The aim of the project from this perspective is to develop a relational database design that is rich enough to model all the necessary aspects of the lexicon in a linguistically appropriate way.

From the perspective of maintenance, the project is intended as a way for lexicographers to create and maintain large-scale lexica, without having to rely on an in-house computational staff. The aim of the project from that perspective is the development and improvement of a lexicon management system that provides control over the various modules of the database via a graphical, online interface. To facilitate management, various ways of computer-aided tools have been developed.

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