Now that a number of LR tools have multimedia capabilities and offer far more analysis functions than available before, one way to go for sign language researchers is to make these tools usable by defining appropriate coding conventions. Our approach, however, is somewhat different. While we want to make tools available in the LR community usable within our environment, we consider modality-specific requirements that important that we go the other way round: We continue to develop our own environment, opening it up to other tools by a step-wise transition to an open architecture model. As a first step, we have implemented XML import and export facilities for the appropriate components. The import functionality can handle a number of timing models that are in use in the sign language research community, with user-selectable strategies for resolving ambiguities where necessary.

TLA-team: iLex has its roots in SyncWriter, and targets corpus-based sign language lexicography. It uses a server-client architecture, in contrast with othermultimodal annotation tools such as ELAN or ANVIL. Facilities for the use of the HamNoSys annotation system are embedded throughout the tool. Because of its limited documentation and complex setup, it is typically used in larger centres that collaborate with the sign language group at Hamburg University.