by Jacquelijn Ringersma

LEXUS is our online tool for the creation of multimedia lexica and encyclopedic dictionaries. LEXUS is targeted at linguistics involved in language documentation, but also actively used by researchers in Sign Language research. LEXUS is based on the ISO recommendation for Language Resource Management (ISO TC37/SC4), providing a Lexical Markup Framework (LMF) lexicon structure and a concept naming registry (ISOcat). With LEXUS, users can create lexica from scratch, but also import lexica created in Toolbox or other XML based tools. Lexica using LMF and ISOcat are interoperable with each other, allowing for multi lexicon searches and merging of lexica. Users may customize views of the word list and lexical entries. Standard functionality, like sorting or filtering of word lists is already available and we are currently working on paper output options. One of the major strengths of the online tool is that users may share their lexica with other users, either on a read only or read/write basis.

ViCoS is an extension of LEXUS, with which users can create relations between lexical entries, using fuzzily defined relation types. The result of this network of relations can be a conceptual space, where each word is represented as an element in a network of other related words. Relations can be ‘universal’ (e.g. A_is_a_B) or specifically defined for a particular lexicon (A_eats_B). In its current version ViCoS can only be used from the LEXUS user interface, since the words are the basis of the conceptual space. Future plans for ViCoS envisage that the tool will be central in the creation of a customized ‘eScience environment’, a user-defined workspace where users can link any type of resource into new organizational layers.

LEXUS and ViCoS training and support

Recently we did a LEXUS/ViCoS training session in the Winter School Saami Language Documentation and Revitalization in Bodø, Norway. Some 25 participants were trained in creating lexica, adding multimedia fragments, customizing views and creating conceptual spaces. Although the training was basic and could not cover the full functionality of LEXUS and ViCoS, most users were enthusiastic about the tools and registered as LEXUS users after the training.

At the Saami Winter School (photo by Lena Karvovskaya)

If you are interested in using the tools, you may request a LEXUS user account by sending an e-mail to We have regular LEXUS and ViCoS training in the DoBeS training weeks, or in summer schools and language documentation workshops.