Regular contribution

International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 309-316

First online:

Emerging language technologies and the rediscovery of the past: a research agenda

  • Gregory CraneAffiliated withTufts University
  • , Kalina BontchevaAffiliated withUniversity of Sheffield
  • , Jeffrey A. Rydberg-CoxAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri at Kansas City
  • , Clifford WulfmanAffiliated withBrown University

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During 2001 and 2002, our Delos/NSF working group explored the possibilities that emerging language technologies open up for teaching, learning, and research in the broad area of cultural heritage. On the one hand, emerging language technologies will profoundly redefine the research and teaching of all those working with cultural heritage languages. At the same time, developers of language technology would also benefit from exploring the needs of new audiences and new collections. While multilingual technologies may ultimately prove the most revolutionary, this report focuses on monolingual technologies such as information extraction, summarization, and other aspects of document understanding. In this paper, we describe some of the audiences affected and technologies to be evaluated and argue for the creation of venues where the application of these technologies to cultural heritage materials can be rigorously evaluated. The potential impact of language technologies for our understanding of the past will emerge over a long period of time and will doubtless include many techniques not covered here. We make no claim to a comprehensive survey. Our goal is to provide enough information to suggest the potential importance of these new technologies.


Language technologies Hypertext Digital libraries Cultural heritage information systems