TKE (International Conference of Terminology and Knowledge Engineering) was recently held in Dublin. The title this year was “Presenting Terminology and Knowledge Engineering Resources Online: Models and Challenges”. Here are my thoughts on three presentations on large database projects and one workshop.
One of the invited talks was given by Michal Boleslav Měchura and Brian Ó Raghallaigh who are the technical brains behind the Irish National Terminology Database that serves a stunning 600,000 users. Much like the Rikstermbanken of the Swedish Center for Terminology discussed in Quantity matters, this project makes a (corporate) terminologist’s mouth water for its funding. According to the project website, there are no fewer than 18 people on the project team. Michal shared how the team is using statistics and user feedback to improve the search capabilities, the user interface, and the data presentation.
BACUS (Base de Coneixement Universitari) is a terminology database created at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona by students as part of their course work. Students work with subject matter experts to create entries in at least three languages. Two of them must be languages taught at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting: Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese. The third may be a language not taught at the Universitat, such as Basque, Bulgarian, Danish, Slovak, Galician, Greek, Dutch, Norwegian, Latin, Pulaar and Swedish. In their paper, Aguilar-Amat, Mesa-Lao, and Pahisa-Solé describe in detail the high-quality approach that students are taking to arrive at their entries. For example, “all linguistic data included in the BACUS project are obtained from corpora of original texts in different languages on the same specialized subject.” The work on the database has been discontinued, but it is well worth a look.
Such a high-quality approach cannot be expected for entries from a federated term bank, such as EuroTermBank. This project, developed and managed by Tilde, is probably not new to you. Andrejs Vasiljevs presented the results of a survey of different groups of potential system users. In his paper, Andrejs discusses the need to open up term banks to user participation.
At J.D. Edwards user participation in the form of entry requests and comments was implemented in a format that allowed for prescriptive terminology management, as is necessary in the corporate environment. There is no reason, though, that federated term banks should not adopt Wikipedia-style knowledge sharing, approval mechanisms known from commercial sites, and the like. Once sharing, voting or commenting mechanisms are implemented, the key might be to get as many experts to use the database as possible, so that unreliable data be found and eliminated quickly. It would be interesting to discuss entry reliability with regard to these projects and the ones mentioned in Quantity matters.
The main workshop I would like to mention is, of course, the discussion of standard ISO 704. Thank you for participating through the survey and comments in Who cares about ISO 704, which I mentioned in my presentation. During the workshop, we agreed to suggest to the respective workgroup in ISO TC 37 to streamline the current content, review the example used, and add parts geared towards the different user groups. I very much enjoyed the work in this group and feel that it will lead to a better standard down the road.
The TKE organizing committee decided to expand membership of GTW (association of knowledge transfer)), the organization behind TKE. A new subgroup of the Terminology group on LinkedIn is being formed specifically for that purpose. If you are interested, join the group called Association for Terminology and Knowledge Transfer; just allow a bit of time for approval.
To conclude my little TKE report: It was a particular pleasure to witness Gerhard Budin bestow the Eugen Wüster Prize upon Sue Ellen Wright and Klaus-Dirk Schmitz from Kent State University and Cologne University of Applied Science, respectively. It couldn’t have gone to two more well-deserving individuals.