Kevin Jansz, Department of Computer Science, University of Sydney, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Manning, Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Australia. email@example.com
Nitin Indurkhya, School of Applied Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirrkirr, Java, Information Visualisation, Language Learning, Electronic Dictionaries, XML, XSL, Graph Layout, Warlpiri
While dictionaries on the web – and on other electronic media such as CD-ROMs – are now commonplace, there has been surprisingly little work to utilise the web’s capabilities for hypertext linking and multimedia to provide a richer visualisation of dictionary content. Existing electronic dictionaries still follow design principles more appropriate for paper dictionaries thereby limiting their scope and effectiveness. In this paper, we take a fundamentally different approach, designing an innovative environment that focuses on fully using the capabilities of the web. We describe Kirrkirr, a web-based application for interactive exploration of dictionaries. It currently targets Warlpiri (a Central Australian language). A key feature of our work is that we have converted the existing Warlpiri dictionary into a richly-structured XML version. The flexibility and hierarchical structure of XML is ideally suited for supporting rich but loosely structured content such as dictionaries, while web-based distribution is particularly attractive because dictionary maintenance can be done on a central server, and Java-based clients can access up-to-date dictionary information as needed. Kirrkirr provides a graph-based display of semantic links between words, which provides an engaging interface that can be explored, manipulated and customised interactively by the user (for example, a language learner).
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