Annotation graphs as a framework for multidimensional linguistic data analysis

Steven Bird, Mark Liberman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


In recent work we have presented a formal framework for linguistic annotation based on labeled acyclic digraphs. These 'annotation graphs' offer a simple yet powerful method for representing complex annotation structures incorporating hierarchy and overlap. Here, we motivate and illustrate our approach using discourse-level annotations of text and speech data drawn from the CALLHOME, COCONUT, MUC-7, DAMSL and TRAINS annotation schemes. With the help of domain specialists, we have constructed a hybrid multi-level annotation for a fragment of the Boston University Radio Speech Corpus which includes the following levels: segment, word, breath, ToBI, Tilt, Treebank, coreference and named entity. We show how annotation graphs can represent hybrid multi-level structures which derive from a diverse set of file formats. We also show how the approach facilitates substantive comparison of multiple annotations of a single signal based on different theoretical models. The discussion shows how annotation graphs open the door to wide-ranging integration of tools, formats and corpora.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards Standards and Tools for Discourse Tagging -- Proceedings of the Workshop
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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