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CLaRK - an XML-based System for Corpora Development

Unicode XML Editor, XPath Engine, XSLT Engine, XML Constraints, XML Cascaded Regular Grammar Engine

>> Note: the latest version of the CLaRK System is now available. <<

CLaRK System version 1.0 (Release 2). (Download)

If you couldn't download the system, please, send an e-mail to us and we will send a copy to you.

E-mail for contacts: clark-support@bultreebank.org

The system is implemented in JAVA.


CLaRK is an XML-based software system for corpora development. The main aim behind the design of the system is the minimization of human intervention during the creation of language resources. It incorporates several technologies:

  1. XML technology;
  2. Unicode;
  3. Regular Cascaded Grammars;
  4. Constraints over XML Documents.

For document management, storing and querying, we chose the XML technology because of its popularity and its ease of understanding. The core of CLaRK is an Unicode XML Editor, which is the main interface to the system. Besides the XML language itself, we implemented an XPath language for navigation in documents and an XSLT language for transformation of XML documents.

For multilingual processing tasks, CLaRK is based on an Unicode encoding of the information inside the system. There is a mechanism for the creation of a hierarchy of tokenisers. They can be attached to the elements in the DTDs and in this way there are different tokenisers for different parts of the documents.

The basic mechanism of CLaRK for linguistic processing of text corpora is the cascaded regular grammar processor. The main challenge to the grammars in question is how to apply them on XML encoding of the linguistic information. The system offers a solution using an XPath language for constructing the input word to the grammar and an XML encoding of the categories of the recognised words.

Several mechanisms for imposing constraints over XML documents are available. The constraints cannot be stated by the standard XML technology. The following types of constraints are implemented in CLaRK:

  1. Regular expression constraints - additional constraints over the content of given elements based on a context;
  2. Number restriction constraints - cardinality constraints over the content of a document;
  3. Value constraints - restriction of the possible content or parent of an element in a document based on a context.

The constraints are used in two modes: checking the validity of a document regarding a set of constraints; supporting the linguist in his/her work during the building of a corpus. The first mode allows the creation of constraints for the validation of a corpus according to given requirements. The second mode helps the underlying strategy of minimisation of the human labour.

We envisage several uses for our system:

  • Corpora markup. Here users work with the XML tools of the system in order to mark-up texts with respect to an XML DTD. This task usually requires an enormous human effort and comprises both the mark-up itself and its validation afterwards. Using the available grammar resources such as morphological analyzers or partial parsing, the system can state local constraints reflecting the characteristics of a particular kind of texts or mark-up. One example of such constraints can be as follows: a PP according to a DTD can have as parent an NP or VP, but if the left sister is a VP then the only possible parent is VP. The system can use such kind of constraints in order to support the user and minimize his work.

  • Dictionary compilation for human users. The system will support the creation of the actual lexical entries whose structure will be defined via an appropriate DTD. The XML tools will be used also for corpus investigation that provides appropriate examples of the word usage in the available corpora. The constraints incorporated in the system will be used for writing a grammar of the sublanguages of the definitions of the lexical items, for imposing constraints over elements of lexical entries and the dictionary as a whole.

  • Corpora investigation. The CLaRK System offers a rich set of tools for searching over tokens and mark-up in XML corpora, including cascaded grammars, XPath language. Their combinations are used for tasks such as: extraction of elements from a corpus - for example, extraction of all NPs in the corpus; concordance - for example, give me all NPs in the context of their use ordered by a user defined set of criteria.


Kiril Simov, Zdravko Peev, Milen Kouylekov, Alexander Simov, Marin Dimitrov, Atanas Kiryakov. CLaRK - an XML-based System for Corpora Development. In: Proc. of the Corpus Linguistics 2001 Conference, pages: 558-560. Zipped PDF version

Kiril Simov, Milen Kouylekov, Alexander Simov. Cascaded Regular Grammars over XML Documents. In: Proc. of the 2nd Workshop on NLP and XML (NLPXML-2002), Taipei, Taiwan. September 1, 2002. (to appear). (Postscript version, Zipped Postscript version, Zipped PDF version).