Notes for discussion: Nodalida Theme and Goals

Proposal for discussion at the NEALT Business Meeting.

This summarizes some questions that were discussed during preparation for the Conference.

Nodalida: Statement of purpose

Proposal: work out a stronger statement about the focus and purpose of Nodalida.

  • What distinguishes it from other LT/CL/NLP conferences?
  • Important to have a clear and strong message about Nodalida's raison d'etre

Note: Main principles of NEALT refer to:

  • Geographic connections
  • Linguistic connections

NEALT is built on the premise that it provides a forum for researchers in LT/CL/NLP

  • who work in the "greater Nordic area", defined as:
    • Scandinavia,
    • the Baltic Countries, and
    • NW Russia
  • and/or
  • whose work, at least in part, concerns the languages of the greater Nordic area, namely the groups/sub-families of:
    • the North Germanic
    • the Balto-Finnic + Saami, and
    • the Baltic
    • ? Possibly also including "minor" languages and dialects -- esp. those not represented elsewhere in the world -- Romani (of Finland), etc.

Proposal: ought to apply the same or similar principles to Nodalida as well.

Clarifying the principles is important, because it has an impact on and helps clarify several central aspects of Nodalida conferences:

  • Statement of purpose and focus of the Conference in the Call for Papers
  • Choice of invited speakers
  • Format of submissions
  • Choice of satellite/co-located workshops and tutorials
  • Other aspects? ...

Statement of purpose and Call for Papers

  • A forum for researchers living in the Geographic area
  • A forum for researchers whose work concerns local languages
  • A forum where students and younger or new researchers can learn about
    • LT research focus and emphasis in the area
    • LT research "traditions", approaches, and history in the area
  • Others?

What distinguishes Nodalida from other LT/CL/NLP conferences?

  • What is the image?
  • What do people outside of the greater Nordic area think of Nodalida?

Suggestion:

  • Attempting to treat Nodalida as a general-purpose, LT/CL/NLP conference of global interest is problematic:
    • unlikely to succeed if seen as competing with the larger, "global" conferences (COLING, *ACL, EMNLP, LREC)
    • potential danger of dropping down to a "second-rate" status,
      • it will be difficult to recover from that

  • Accept "niche" status, and wear it proudly: make clear what Nodalida can offer that a global conference cannot?
    • A more focused audience
    • Greater potential for establishing lasting working and social connections and relationships, due to proximity, etc.
    • A less formal, more friendly local venue, and more relaxed atmosphere
    • Other benefits?...

  • Quality:
    • Aim to attract papers that may be appropriate for general CL conferences as well, but are especially interesting to the Nodalida audience,
      • e.g., work related to local languages,
      • because this work is more likely to interest the attendants of Nodalida than attendants of a general CL conference.
    • Aim to encourage younger researchers to present their work in progress:
      • Offer a level between the "home base" and prime-time international conferences; may be a welcome alternative to many

Questions/problems:

  • How to treat submissions that are completely unrelated to Nodalida/don't meet the criteria ?
    • E.g., a paper from Asia on a subject of completely general CL interest?
    • E.g., a paper from Asia on a subject related to local (Asian) languages?
  • Options:
    • Reject without consideration
    • Accept for review, but set a higher standard for quality, than for submissions that meet the Nodalida criteria (i.e., greater Nordic connection)
    • Other options?...
  • How to treat submissions from researchers originally from the greater Nordic are who go abroad to work, and work on non-Nodalida topics?
    • Same standards as above? More lax?
  • In any case, the criteria should be clear in the Call for Papers

Format of submissions:

At Nodalida 2009 several formats were invited. However, there was confusion among the authors, reviewers, and even the organizing committee, w.r.t. what is appropriate and useful.

Formats that were considered:

  • Full papers
  • Short papers
  • Student papers
  • Posters
  • Demos

(There are also the satellite workshops, with separate submission.)

It is clear that some submission categories are for completed work with results, whereas other categories invite "work in progress". Which categories are for "work in progress"? In this taxonomy, it seems to apply to short papers, student papers and posters, which may become a source of confusion.

Do we need three categories for work in progress? If so, we should make their distinction as clear as possible.

Suggestions:

Student vs. Regular papers

Options suggested:

  • Insist that all authors on a "student paper" must be students:
    • may be an artificial constraint;
    • may be difficult to enforce -- it is often appropriate to include advisors as co-authors.
  • Institute a special "summer-school" format:
    • focus on training rather than publishing
    • similar in flavor to the ACL Student Workshop
    • Needs:
      • Additional, careful planning (on the part of the Organizing Committee)
      • Commitment of time on the part of experts:
        • volunteers? e.g., from among the reviewers?
        • members of the OC?
        • chosen/suggested by the OC?

Short papers vs. Posters

The difference from other formats is the presentation format: fixed-time presentation with slides to audience vs. poster-based.

If this is accepted, it should be made clear: who makes the choice?

  • the authors?
  • the reviewers?
  • the organizing committee?
  • all of the above? (potential mess)

Other formats: full papers and demos

Proposal:

  • Expect (require) these to be finished work, rather than work in progress

Invited speakers

Suggestion:

  • Aim to have at least one invited speaker who can address Nodalida themes or topics
    • Local languages
    • Special issues of concern to CL research in the greater Nordic area
    • Other local themes
    • NB: Having a local speaker has a benefit in itself:
      • By presenting her/his own research, s/he will is the audience about matters topical to Nodalida (viz., local research)

Workshops

Suggestion: (Same as for Invited Speakers)

  • Aim to have workshops that address the Nodalida themes

Tutorials

Suggestion:

  • Tutorials on a local language of the Nodalida host country have been enjoyed great popularity at past Conferences.
    • Institute a tradition

Other ways to strengthen Nodalida

Suggestions:



Topic revision: r4 - 2009-05-14 - RomanYangarber
 
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