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Novel developments in ELAN

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Title: Novel developments in ELAN
Issue Date: 28 Feb 2013
Description: Modern language documentation depends on suitable software infrastructure. ELAN is a well-known tool developed at The Language Archive / MPI-PL which allows multi-tier, multi-speaker, time-linked annotation of audio and video recordings, in particular in a field work and language documentation setting.

In the past two years ELAN has been under constant development. Here we will give an overview of the major recent enhancements to ELAN and ongoing work. These changes combined provide for a better and much faster process for the field linguist. Below we address five aspects, each consisting of multiple new features. We will discuss briefly their impact on typical workflows.

First, there are modes that help you perform specialized tasks more efficiently. These are a) the segmentation mode, b) the transcription mode, and c) the interlinearization mode. With a focused user interface for each task, the segmentation and the transcription modes together provide very efficient means for the initial steps of a typical workflow. The interlinearization mode, which is still in an early phase of development, is optimized for the next steps of (morphological) parsing, glossing and tagging. It does so by providing an interface to a new program: Lexan. Lexan is an extensible system for "annotyzers" (annotation-suggestion modules). These can be used to perform many complex and simple tasks: from tier copying via word segmentation and interlinearization to machine learning.

Second, the interoperability with FLEx (FieldWork Language Explorer) has been improved. An export function for the FLEx file format now complements the, updated, import function.

Third, extensive support for performing operations on multiple files have been added. These include a) file-format conversion (including Toolbox and Praat), and b) creation of similarly structured EAF files for a selection of media files.

Fourth, facilities have been added to create new tiers with annotations on the basis of existing tiers while applying logical operations. E.g. if the annotation occurs in both tier A and tier B, then copy it combined to tier C. The concept of creating new tiers on the basis of existing ones is currently further explored in Lexan (mentioned above). However these features provide for a straightforward interface to basic, but extremely helpful operations.

Fifth, preliminary interaction with relevant web services (online audio-video and text processors that create annotations) has been implemented.

In short, in the past years several crucial features have been added that make ELAN better and faster to use in many aspects.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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