Monday, April 2, 2012

Applying Linguistics to Library and Information Studies

By doing the course: Language technologies for Libraries and Beyond at my university got me interested in Linguistics and what it has to offer in libraries and information studies. I will basically summarise my thoughts based on what I have been exposed to in my course.

The area of applied linguistics and natural language computing is a relatively new area for library and information science (more so for information science than libraries). However there are a number of natural language processing applications that are useful to libraries including information extraction, automatic summarisation, computer assisted language learning, speech recognition, question answering systems and dialogue systems. So applied linguistics, and in particular, the computing of language is definitely an area that could be considered as an attractive course.

Applied linguistics could also be used in examining library service (reference query) transactions, plus studying problems of how language impedes or facilitates access to information. Development of ontologies is another area of relevance to libraries and to information science in particular.

Regarding my thesis idea, I Wanted to explore as my thesis the idea of using a Folkloric artificial intelligent conversational agent to provide business/government information to micro-enterprise owners. Still immature but I am trying to talk with potential advisers to help me refine it. The folkloric character - Anansi - and perhaps other Jamaican characters like Sly Mongoose, Doctorbird, Patoo Owl are some of the characters that I am considering using.

Regarding the artificial intelligent conversational agent, I am just using existing systems that attempt to simulate conversation with people, by pattern matching algorithms and extracting output responses from pre-populated databases of rules and responses.There are two systems that allow one to  freely develop a computer-based agent that simulates dialogue with human beings: and

I want to use such agents to provide information, perhaps providing a new way to access government documents through natural language query, that will reduce the hassle of interacting with unpleasant civil servants, using phone lines or waiting for response to emails. Not to mention the other issues with locating relevant documents or information within the documents.

1 comment:

  1. I also forgot to include machine translation and multi-language information retrieval as applications relevant to LIS.