PAULA XML: Interchange Format for Linguistic Annotations

PAULA XML or PAULA for short (Potsdamer AUstauschformat Linguistischer Annotationen, 'Potsdam Exchange Format for Linguistic Annotations') is a standoff XML format designed to represent a wide range of linguistically annotated textual and multi-modal corpora. The format was created at Potsdam University and developed within SFB 632 "Information Structure", in subproject D1, "Linguistic Database" at Potsdam University and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The standoff nature of PAULA refers to the fact that each layer of linguistic annotation, such as partof- speech annotations, lemmatizations, syntax trees, coreference annotation etc. are stored in separate XML files which refer to the same raw data. In this manner annotations can easily be added, deleted and updated without disturbing independent annotation layers, and discontinuous or hierarchically conflicting structures can be represented. Additionally the format ensures the retainment of unaltered raw data, including white space and other elements often lost due to restrictions of the encoding format.

As a generalized XML format, PAULA is indifferent to particular names or semantics of annotation structures. It concentrates instead on the representation of corpus data as a set of arbitrarily labeled directed acyclic graphs (so called multi-DAGs, wherein annotation projects may contain cycles as long as these are on different annotation levels).

See the current PAULA documentation: PAULA 1.1


Chiarcos, C., Dipper, S., Götze, M., Leser, U., Lüdeling, A., Ritz, J. & Stede, M. (2008), A Flexible Framework for Integrating Annotations from Different Tools and Tag Sets. Traitment automatique des langues 49, 271-293.

Dipper, S. (2005), XML-based Stand-off Representation and Exploitation of Multi-Level Linguistic Annotation. In: Proceedings of Berliner XML Tage 2005 (BXML 2005). Berlin, Germany, 39-50.

Dipper, S. & Götze, M. (2005), Accessing Heterogeneous Linguistic Data - Generic XML-based Representation and Flexible Visualization. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Language & Technology Conference: Human Language Technologies as a Challenge for Computer Science and Linguistics. Poznan, Poland, 206-210.