ELEXIS written with Scrabble Tiles
CC-BY 4.0, Tanja Wissik

Reliable and accurate information on word meaning and usage is of crucial importance in today’s information society. The most consolidated and refined knowledge on word meanings can traditionally be found in dictionaries – monolingual, bilingual or multilingual.

Dictionaries are not only vast, systematic inventories of information on words, they are also important as cultural and historical artefacts. In each and every European country, elaborate efforts are put into the development of lexicographic resources describing the language(s) of the community. Although confronted with similar problems relating to technologies for producing and making these resources available, cooperation on a larger European scale has long been limited.

Consequently, the lexicographic landscape in Europe is currently rather heterogeneous. On the one hand, it is characterised by stand-alone lexicographic resources, which are typically encoded in incompatible data structures due to the isolation of efforts, prohibiting reuse of this valuable data in other fields, such as natural language processing, linked open data and the Semantic Web, as well as in the context of digital humanities. On the other hand, there is a significant variation in the level of expertise and resources available to lexicographers across Europe. This forms a major obstacle to more ambitious, innovative, transnational, data-driven approaches to dictionaries, both as tools and objects of research.

ELEXIS aims to develop an infrastructure which will:

Objective 1 foster cooperation and knowledge exchange between different research communities in lexicography in order to bridge the gap between lesser-resourced languages and those with advanced e-lexicographic experience;
Objective 2 establish common standards and solutions for the development of lexicographic resources;
Objective 3 develop strategies, tools and standards for extracting, structuring and linking of lexicographic resources;
Objective 4 enable access to standards, methods, lexicographic data and tools for scientific communities, industries and other stakeholders;
Objective 5 promote an open access culture in lexicography, in line with the European Commission Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information.