2013Q3 Reports: Information Officer

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[Link to Q1 Report]

(Updated 31 Jul; see text with yellow background; may not be reflected in any hard copy)

The Information Officer (IO) portfolio includes integration of the different ACL-wide activities that are related to information dissemination; including the Anthology, website, wiki, portal and archive. Plans include short-term goals to update our software installations (DONE); provide integration of logins (through OpenID and OAuth; IN PROGRESS); update our information services to be responsive (i.e., accessible on mobile devices; IN PROGRESS) and professionally-designed (PLANNED). Long-term goals for the costs of the information services to be sponsored, accessibility and long-term maintenance of the aclweb.org and other sites, and absorbed by corporate interests.

Budget. A key part of the work done in the IO is to oversee part-time manpower allocated to help improve our association's websites, which includes maintenance, upgrading, migrating and backup. These are not small jobs and require budget. We proposed to the ACL Exec a budget of 10,000 USD (motion here) that was approved to hire a professional webmaster who could do part of the regular work with help from the IO and Secretary positions in ACL.

DOIs/CrossRef. Another urgent matter is that the ACL has started publishing the Transactions of the ACL. This new journal is wholly owned by ACL and needs to have Digital Object Identifiers assigned to each article; as this is the standard practice for scholarly works. However, doing so requires ACL to register as an organization that can issue and grant DOIs -- of which CrossRef is the standard service for scholarly papers. The ACL Exec passed a motion to allow the IO to pursue this agenda on the behalf of the ACL.

This is currently in progress. Previously DOIs were assigned by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for all ACL materials. We are in the midst of transitioning away from this model, so that DOIs for future ACL materials will be properly reflected to the ACL Anthology site. We are now a registered body for assigning DOIs to scholarly materials in CrossRef. This costs USD 275 per year and 1 USD per resource registered for a DOI. We have worked out an amicable departure from the previous ACM-ACL agreement. ACM would still like us to deposit our papers' metadata with them to help them make their index complete, but DOIs will be deferenced to our sites (transacl.org [for TACL] and aclweb.org [for conference/workshop proceedings]). We are pursing DOI registration for all ACL materials in the future, but for the current work, we will only assign DOIs to TACL first.

One important consideration of joining CrossRef and being able to assign DOIs is CrossRef's mandate that all journal articles do outbound citation linking within 18 months of joining CrossRef (see here, rule #6). We will be working with TACL to establish this workflow with TACL first, and then try to propagate this for use in our conference systems (may have to be tied with START development).

Collaboration with ELRA.

We have also discussed joint work with ELRA's executive officers, Nicoletta Calzolari and Khalid Choukri about information services. As a result, we have a few late-breaking items for discussion.

  • Use of the LRE Map at all ACL conferences. The LRE Map is a project to catalog language resource (LR) use in CL publications, which started with LREC 2010. Since then it has become more popular and a number of ACL sponsored events have been also using this framework. START (our de facto conference management system) has a module that allows authors to express the use of LR resources in publications. ELRA has asked whether it is possible that ACL officially sanction the use of the LRE Map in conferences, rather than having ERLA officials ask conference chairs on a per-case basis. ELRA maintains to keep the LRE Map and associated resources free for all use. A discussion between the Information Office and Conference Office initiated and we concur that such a policy would both benefit the ACL and CL/NLP in general. As such we propose the following motion:

Formal Motion. The ACL exec endorses the optional use of ELRA's LRE Map for use in any ACL event and publication by individual authors and by event chairs.

  • ISLRN. ELRA is also planning to assign a unique identifier to all language resources (akin to a DOI for scholarly materials). ELRA would like ACL to lend its support and backing of such a scheme. The information office feels this will benefit the ACL and CL/NLP community as a whole, so we have backed this plan. We assume no official motion is needed for this at this stage, as there is no standard yet and as it falls under the purview of the Information Office, but if it does need an official motion, we propose the following:

Formal Motion. The ACL exec supports the development and standardization of a Language Resource unique identifier, and is open to work with any association to achieve these aims.

We note that both of ELRA's initiatives already have wide support (LDC, AFNLP, etc.) in the CL/NLP community.

Plans. The hired part-time help for the webmaster position is now working on consolidating the ACL Website and the ACL Portal, and then working on the first major milestone of establishing a central login for ACL services (something akin to a "ACL Account" a la Google or Facebook). We are planning to use OpenID and OAuth, which would allow members to link their ACL account with other (i.e., Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft/Hotmail) services; such that one could use login credentials from those services for ACL use. This is ongoing work at the moment. ELRA is also interested in this initiative, and may decide to adopt our system in having a cross organization login system; we'll be keeping them informed of our decisions and may consider their feedback when we deem that it benefits our membership.

Other plans include:

  • Adding a vetting service for bibliographies, so that any ACL paper referencing an ACL publication would have a proper identifier to the work. This is likely to take the industry standard form of the DOI.
  • Investigating the citation indexing of our materials -- it appears that ACL materials are somewhat haphazardly indexed by Elsevier and SCI. We need to address this because many of our membership depend on the availability of indexing in determining whether to publish in our venues or not.
  • (Mentioned in ELRA section) Adding a citable identifier for language resources (in collaboration with ELRA) so that corpora, tools and other contributions that are not formal publications can be appropriately assessed and rewarded.

As the IO office subsumes a number of IO services, you may be interested in the following subreports: