BalkaNet: Aims, Methods, Results and Perspectives. A General Overview.

BalkaNet is an EC funded project (IST-2000-29388) that started in September 2001 and will end in August 2004. It aims at developing [109] aligned wordnets for the following Balkan languages: Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Turkish and to extend the Czech wordnet previously developed in the EuroWordNet project. BalkaNet project has insofar delivered many useful results in the fields of both Computational Lexicography and Natural Language Processing. However, most of these results have been only partially disseminated in different conferences and journals. This is the first attempt to provide an overall description of the findings, methodologies and results of the project as well as a detailed account on each monolingual wordnet. The paper also presents the freeware multilingual tools designed for the development, maintenance and efficient exploitation of the aligned BalkaNet wordnets. A preliminary approach on BalkaNet's application towards indexing Web documents and Information Retrieval is described, following the consideration that semantic networks are valuable in the context of real world systems and user communities. Last but not least, a rather thorough analyses of wordnet applications over the last years is intended to put in evidence the hottest themes for further developments based on wordnets. The ultimate objective of this contribution is to spread the knowledge and experience that we have acquired, to the benefit of the research and industrial communities. We also hope that our shared experience will be helpful for other wordnet-builders.