Message to the Multiparty Discourse Group

  Greetings. We have the first homework prepared for the multiparty discourse
  The resources you will need are available on the web page:
  There is an annotation manual that contains our current proposal for an
  annotation scheme (tentatively named DAMSL), based on our experience
  working with the scheme sketched out at the Penn workshop.
  We also have developed an annotation tool, DAT, for this scheme that should
  greatly ease the annotation process, and which produces SGML format files
  containing your annotations.  You will need Perl 5.002 or higher and the
  Perl/tk package. We have pointers to sites where you can download these
  We have three short dialogs that we'd like everyone to annotate using the
  tool. These are already segmented into utterance units. WE ASK THAT YOU
  SEGMENTED THEM.  We plan a second round of homework before the workshop
  where we will explore the segmentation issue.
  1. The first is a short TRAINS dialog.  Information on the task and
  instructions given the participants are all available from the web page, as
  well as the map that each participant had. This dialog has speech files
  attached to it that can be played using DAT. We have found that you need to
  listen to the speech in order to accurately annotate the TRAINS dialogs.
  2. Next is a keyboard dialog from the Coconut corpus from
  U. Pittsburgh. Information on the task and materials given to the
  participants are available on the web page.  There are no speech files for
  this obviously.
  3. Finally, we have a short dialog used in the homework assignments for the
  Penn workshop.  It is a discussion between a person and a travel agent
  about airline fares. The speech files aren't available, but we found that
  it wasn't difficult to annotate without them.
  We are hoping to do a second round of annotation, so we ask each of you to
  annotate the dialogs and return to us BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
  * the three SGML files containing your annotation of each dialog
  * notes on problems that you had with DAT, the annotation scheme, and/or
     the manual.
  We would then try to get the second round materials out to you in early
  January to be completed by Jan 24. Its a very tight schedule, but would
  greatly enhance the productivity of the workshop if we made it!
  Note that DAMSL is NOT intended to provide each research project with all
  the distinctions that they need to make. It is intended as a uniform
  abstract layer that each group can then refine to capture distinctions that
  they need for their research. For instance, we are currently defining a
  refinement of the scheme that we will use for our analysis of the TRAINS
  dialogs. But this will not become part of the DAMSL specification, rather
  it will remain specific to the TRAINS project.  But by following the DAMSL
  standard, our annotations can be shared and reused by other groups.
  So as long as DAMSL is compatible with the distinctions you'd like to make,
  then we should be happy. Of course, if there are distinctions that everyone
  would like to make, then we should consider adding them to the standard.
  If possible, we would like to try a second round of experiments before the
  workshop. So please try your best to get the annotations in by the 25th.
  The actual annotation of the dialogs should not take long once you've
  invested the time in studying the manual.
  James Allen and Mark Core
Last change: 13 Dec 96 by mcore

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