The compendium is composed of eight chapters plus the editors’ introduction entitled ‘Internet Lexicography’. It is edited by Annette Klosa (currently Head of DAAD Information Centre HCMC/ Institute of the German Language (IDS), Mannheim) and Caroline Müller-Spitzer (IDS, Mannheim) in collaboration with Martin Loder, scientific assistant at the IDS, Mannheim (until March 2016), and is a result of network meetings within the framework of the academic Network of Internet Lexicography, which was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The Network’s meetings took place between 2011 and 2013. Participants were academic lexicographers and researchers from different universities, research institutes und dictionary projects in Germany and beyond (Italy, Denmark, Netherlands). Consequently, the meetings and workshops organized by the Network were concerned not only with German lexicography, but also with developments in other languages. The aim of this network and thus this publication was to address current questions in the field of digital lexicography, in particular the development and publication of dictionaries on the internet. The compendium finalizes this goal by imparting central aspects of ongoing research and practice. From the book’s title, the reader will expect a state-of-the-art view of the field of internet lexicography. The style and structure, however, also serve the needs of laymen to a certain extent. As the book deals with lexicography in a dynamic, fast-moving environment, the comprehensive coverage can only be achieved in part. Therefore, the authors are not discussing technical issues which are too transient, such as developments in web design. The editors’ introduction, besides conveying a comprehensive overview of the individual contributions, makes the essential point that the rapid evolution in information technologies has had a very strong impact on the scholarly world, including lexicographers in the private and the academic sectors. Lexicography is a cultural practice whose traditional products (professionally edited dictionaries, be it in print or electronic form) are increasingly being forced into the background, integrated in new environments, or act as reference works for free lexical databases. The authors of this book still may refer to dictionaries from the print era, but dictionaries and accompanying meta-lexicographical questions have clearly passed the often cited ‘turning point in its history’ (Granger 2012: 10) and have moved on to the Web. The volume contributors (with few exceptions geographically concentrated in Mannheim and Berlin) are affiliated to the Network, and present in the book the topics previously covered during the Network meetings. The first three chapters elaborate on more general issues such as: (1) the technical framework of internet lexicography, (2) typology of dictionaries and dictionary portals on the internet, and (3) the lexicographical process, and then move on to more specific questions such as (4) data modelling, (5) network and access structures, (6) automatic extraction of lexicographical information, (7) user contribution, and (8) research on dictionary use. The topic of internet lexicography and its outcomes, namely dictionaries available online, are therefore highlighted from different points of view. The reader will appreciate the logic of volume organization. The structure of chapters shows a self-contained approach to the overall topic, which still shows some connections to printed lexicography but makes specific, internet-related conceptual and technical demands and poses new research questions. Each chapter starts with a lay summary and is complemented by several illustrations and screenshots of various examples of dictionaries or dictionary portals. The content is clearly structured; most paragraphs provide keywords on the margins to enhance cross-reading. Each chapter offers a list of references along with helpful suggestions for further reading. The compendium also includes a useful five-page glossary. Chapter 1, written by Peter Meyer (Institute of the German language (IDS), Mannheim), Axel Herold and Lothar Lemnitzer (both Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences), introduces the core technical requirements and procedures needed to make online dictionaries available for users. In terms of procedures the authors offer a glance behind the curtain of a dictionary user interface. Questions of logging, data management (e.g. to keep track of changes), and data persistence seem to be most essential and are dealt with in a very accessible manner. In Chapter 2, Stefan Engelberg (Institute of the German language (IDS), Mannheim) and Angelika Storrer (Mannheim University) focus on a genuine lexicographical approach towards the topic, and are concerned with a typology of dictionaries and dictionary portals on the internet. This is important (a) to set out the general features of online dictionaries (as, in some ways, opposed to printed dictionaries), and (b) to provide an overview for online dictionaries and dictionary portals as a basis for further analysis. The authors provide a more introductory but at the same time well-founded outlook on the specific types of dictionaries and dictionary portals. Even though it has always been difficult to categorize dictionaries, Engelberg and Storrer acknowledge gradual criteria, especially when it comes to dictionary portals (cf. chapter 2.4). It should also be noted that the first chapters especially contribute to the compendium’s coherence because all later chapters that deal with the development and publication of online dictionaries are based on explanations provided in the beginning. For example, the authors single out a number of defining criteria for portals (integrity, access structures, structure of cross-references and layout), which become important in later chapters (they provide cross-references as well). In general, the idea of dictionary portals as an example of advanced lexicographic information systems plays a significant role throughout the compendium. Cross-references as in chapter 3 (lexicographical process) to 2 would have also been helpful in chapter 5 (where the examples are taken from portals as well). Chapter 3 by Annette Klosa and Carole Tiberius (Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal, Leiden) deals with the lexicographical process and is closely linked to chapter 2. It seems that concurrent production and data acquisition phases have a substantial impact on the lexicographical process of online (and expandable) dictionaries. This juxtaposition requires participation of both lexicographers and computer experts as well as true, interactive cooperation. The authors (speaking from personal experience) argue that lexicographers are only able to plan new dictionary projects in an efficient way if they have detailed knowledge of such processes. This factor is mentioned again in chapter 8. Synoptic tables highlight the authors’ argumentation, for example in figure 3.2, and tables 3.2 and 3.3. Klosa and Tiberius also reflect on the software being used (lexicographic editing systems, corpus tools) and the lexicographic process in dictionary portals. Based on these insights, in chapter 4, Axel Herold, Peter Meyer and Carolin Müller-Spitzer describe at great length the technical implications and different methods of data modelling, providing some background technical knowledge. Besides data structures and representation formats, they take the development of standards (TEI, MDF, LMF) into consideration. They stress the fact that there is a variety of lexical configurations, which are always tailored to specific electronic dictionaries, and so-called standards mostly apply for or within individual projects. In general, such flexible ‘standards’ only make sense in terms of manual data (as opposed to automatically generated data.) Linking of lexicographical items in online dictionaries is the topic of chapter 5, written by Stefan Engelberg, Carolin Müller-Spitzer and Thomas Schmidt (Institute of the German language (IDS), Mannheim). The difference between print and electronic dictionaries becomes obvious when the authors discuss access structures, and this difference is explained by means of numerous examples. The authors introduce graph-based and more visually oriented queries as novel search routines in online dictionaries, which can no longer be clearly classified by a semasiological or onomasiological access structure. Moreover, a sample analysis of the entire German Wiktionary database provides promising insights into a multifaceted paradigmatic network. In combination with the analysis of most recent or most popular look-ups, such examples could have been mentioned or referred to in section 7.5 or 8.3.4. In chapter 6, Alexander Geyken (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences) and Lothar Lemnitzer talk about the extraction of word-related information from electronic corpora. A typology of data resources which are essential for dictionary projects, but also textual corpora and a detailed report of possible information units in a model dictionary of contemporary German are illustrated. This points to the question at hand: how and to what extent can we use automatically extracted lexicographic information? Even though this will depend on the quality and detail level of metadata and the linguistic annotation of primary data, we cannot (just yet) fully rely on digital lexical systems, just as we could never fully rely on the human lexicographer. As has been outlined already in chapter 4 (p. 148), one might wonder whether prospective developments in corpus diversity, tools in language technology, and search engines will indeed finally decide the fate of the human lexicographer, as automatically generated data diminishes the significance of manual lexicography. In chapter 7, Andrea Abel (EURAC Research, Bozen) and Christian M. Meyer (Technical University of Darmstadt) discuss in detail the impact, quality, and legal questions of direct, indirect and accessory user contributions in the development of a dictionary (as well as dictionary portals). Regardless of the type of user contribution, research into it is an important basis for dictionary enrichment in terms of quantity (e.g. lemma suggestions) and quality (e.g. error corrections). The authors argue that user contributions as a part of a social media mass phenomenon can bring additional value to a dictionary product but might also lead to a considerable amount of extra work, especially in terms of collaborative-institutional or semi-collaborative dictionary products. In the concluding chapter (8), Carolin Müller-Spitzer gives an insight into probably one of the latest fields of meta-lexicography: she asserts that research into the use of dictionaries is a fundamental requirement for any new dictionary, as the user is always of crucial significance. Besides a general outline of the methodological principles of empirical surveys (research question, operationalisation, research design, survey methods, data analysis, and report), and several examples from popular studies, the reader is introduced to four studies conducted at the IDS that specifically addressed dictionaries and dictionary portals. Methodologically diverse, these studies asked potential users not only for the assessment of basic dictionary characteristics or innovative (multimedia and user adaptive) features, but also present data collected via the eye-tracker and log-file analyses of the German Wiktionary and Digitales Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache. These studies are particularly well developed, and described carefully and thoroughly. However, it should be added that recorded activity peaks that are attributed to public debates in one of those studies may not only reflect the passive queries of relevant entries but also their active edits, calling for future elaboration of such analysis. In summary, the compendium offers a systematic presentation of the most significant issues of digital lexicography, providing a sound basis for academic education and future research in the field. References Granger S., Paquot M. (eds). 2012. Electronic Lexicography . Oxford: Oxford University Press. © 2017 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Journal of Lexicography – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 11, 2017
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