Every so often, in the history of ideas, a conjunction of circumstances causes a particular idea to gain prominence and to galvanise research and development in a number of related disciplines. Such ideas, which may have been of previously peripheral interest, are suddenly seen to be critical for future progress. They have an effect at many levels -- research, training, industrial development -- and rapidly produce, in technological fields especially, a telling impact on society.
Recently, many researchers, language engineers and technology planners have become aware of the idea of reusability and of its crucial role in facilitating the development of practical language technology products that respond to the needs of users.
However, reusability in the language technology field relies, as it does in other fields of technology, on the existence of common practices, guidelines, standards and compatible frameworks. Standards, whether these be de facto standards or national and international Standards, are the necessary key to true reusability.
With widely known and broadly accepted standards, interchangeability of language technology components becomes feasible; tools can be built to accept input or produce output in standard format; resources can be designed to a standard, or be mapped into a standard form; products of one type can be compared, if they adhere to relevant standards.
The EAGLES Guidelines are the result of a first attempt by a large community of language engineers to propose standards, guidelines and recommendations for good practice in several core areas of our field:
We are thus concerned, more particularly, with the following aspects of Language Engineering: