An Ontology for CoNLL-RDF: Formal Data Structures for TSV Formats in Language Technology

Authors Christian Chiarcos , Maxim Ionov , Luis Glaser , Christian Fäth

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Christian Chiarcos
  • Applied Computational Linguistics Lab, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Maxim Ionov
  • Applied Computational Linguistics Lab, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Luis Glaser
  • Applied Computational Linguistics Lab, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Christian Fäth
  • Applied Computational Linguistics Lab, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

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Christian Chiarcos, Maxim Ionov, Luis Glaser, and Christian Fäth. An Ontology for CoNLL-RDF: Formal Data Structures for TSV Formats in Language Technology. In 3rd Conference on Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2021). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 93, pp. 20:1-20:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


In language technology and language sciences, tab-separated values (TSV) represent a frequently used formalism to represent linguistically annotated natural language, often addressed as "CoNLL formats". A large number of such formats do exist, but although they share a number of common features, they are not interoperable, as different pieces of information are encoded differently in these dialects. CoNLL-RDF refers to a programming library and the associated data model that has been introduced to facilitate processing and transforming such TSV formats in a serialization-independent way. CoNLL-RDF represents CoNLL data, by means of RDF graphs and SPARQL update operations, but so far, without machine-readable semantics, with annotation properties created dynamically on the basis of a user-defined mapping from columns to labels. Current applications of CoNLL-RDF include linking between corpora and dictionaries [Mambrini and Passarotti, 2019] and knowledge graphs [Tamper et al., 2018], syntactic parsing of historical languages [Chiarcos et al., 2018; Chiarcos et al., 2018], the consolidation of syntactic and semantic annotations [Chiarcos and Fäth, 2019], a bridge between RDF corpora and a traditional corpus query language [Ionov et al., 2020], and language contact studies [Chiarcos et al., 2018]. We describe a novel extension of CoNLL-RDF, introducing a formal data model, formalized as an ontology. The ontology is a basis for linking RDF corpora with other Semantic Web resources, but more importantly, its application for transformation between different TSV formats is a major step for providing interoperability between CoNLL formats.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Information systems → Graph-based database models
  • Computing methodologies → Language resources
  • Computing methodologies → Knowledge representation and reasoning
  • language technology
  • data models
  • ontology


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