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Welcome to The RELISH Project Area

The RELISH (Rendering Endangered Language Lexicons Interoperable through Standards Harmonization) project promotes language-oriented research by addressing a two-pronged problem: first, the lack of harmonization between digital standards for lexical information in Europe and America, and second, the lack of interoperability among existing lexicons of endangered languages created using disparate software tools. The divergence of digital standards in lexical data has hitherto impeded international collaboration on language technology for resource creation, analysis, and web services for archive access. The RELISH project is working to harmonize key European and American digital standards, establish a unified way of referencing lexicon structure and linguistic concepts, and develop a procedure for migrating these heterogeneous lexicons to a standards-compliant XML format, using six lexicons of endangered languages to demonstrate its utility.

Work on RELISH has included the integration of two primary standards for lexical markup currently in use in linguistic work: the General Ontology for Linguistic Description (GOLD) and the ISOcat Data Category registry. A related endeavor is to establish a digital interchange format for lexicons that will be made available as a RELISH XML output format of lexicons digitized by the LEGO (Lexicon Enhancement via the GOLD Ontology) project at the LINGUIST List. This format will facilitate interoperability between lexicons created with different software tools and foster greater collaboration between linguists from different parts of the world.

Ultimately, RELISH will produce significant benefits to individual researchers and to the organizations which support their research. Language data is central to a large scientific community, including anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, geneticists, sociologists, and linguists. Therefore, ensuring the interoperability of any individual lexicon will exponentially increase its potential scientific contribution. In addition, the harmonization of standards at this early juncture will streamline the future development of software tools and web services deployed in lexical research and will provide impetus for other standards harmonization efforts, as well as offer the scientific research community flexible and integrated access to important new digital materials.