By its very nature, EAGLES must interact closely with the scientific and industrial R&D community not only in Europe, but world-wide.
Since EAGLES involves many bodies active in European NLP and speech projects, close collaboration with these projects is assured and, significantly, in many cases, free manpower has been contributed by the projects, which is a sign of both their commitment and of the crucial importance they place on reusability issues. Procedures have been established allowing EAGLES to access relevant material developed by EAGLES participants working in other projects.
The most relevant impact of and feedback to EAGLES work comes from those large projects which are applying the EAGLES guidelines, or comparing and mapping EAGLES recommendations with their own specifications. Feedback from these sources comprises the most important evaluation of EAGLES results, since the real impact of EAGLES activity must be measured by its acceptance and use within projects more than by individuals.
A large number of European and national projects has already made extensive use of EAGLES results, actively interacting with on-going EAGLES work in a reciprocal and cyclical process of proposing, testing, evaluating, providing feedback and revising. As an example, the EAGLES morphosyntax proposals (EAGLES, 1996a), based on extensive comparison of approaches (EAGLES, 1996b) are already being applied -- and consequently tested and evaluated -- in a number of national and European projects, such as LRE DELIS, RENOS, CRATER, MECOLB, MULTEXT, COPERNICUS MULTEXT-East and TELRI, MLAP-PAROLE, ESPRIT-ELSNET, French GRACE, German Textcorpora und Erschliessungswerkzeuge, LE-SPARKLE, ELRA, EUROWORDNET and PAROLE. This interaction -- in both directions -- between EAGLES, which is an infrastructural type of action, and a large number of topic-specific R&D projects and applications, is an essential component of the EAGLES overall work style and has been very fruitful. This feature will be enforced and strengthened in future EAGLES work.
Standards must emerge from state-of-the-art developments, and as such they are not to be imposed. Consolidation of a standards proposal must be viewed, by necessity, as a slow process and, by definition, as a non-innovative action, comprising, in our case, after the phase of putting forward proposals, a cyclical phase involving EAGLES external groups and projects with:
What can be defined as new in this long process is the highlighting of the areas for consensus (or of the areas in which consensus could be reached) and the gradual consciousness of the stability that evolves within the communities involved.
A first benefit is the possibility, for those entering the field, of focussing their attention on as yet unsolved problems without losing time in rediscovering and reimplementing what many others have already worked on. This is the only way our discipline can really move forward, but this entire process is not without dangers or possible objections.