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Lexicographers' Files

Lexicographers' files are the data files used by the lexicographers to enter lexicographic data into GermaNet.

The files are organized around the three word-classes currently considered in GermanNet: nouns, adjectives, and verbs. For each word-class a predefined set of files exists which elements are named according to the following table (for comparison with corresponding table of Tops in WordNet®):


The lexicographers' files are located in the directory


The files are kept under the SCCS version control system to ensure data integrity and to prevent simultaneous editing of the same file by different users. Under normal conditions, an up-to-date read-only copy of all files is kept in the above mentioned directory. Files under SCCS control may be checked in and out for updates by a number of ways:

  • using basic SCCS commands (please refer to the Unix manual pages for sccs).
  • using the customized commands reserve, restore, and restore-all:
    • reserve filename(s)
      checks the named files out, creates a writeable copy of the last version of the file and reserves that file for exclusive update by the user issuing the command.
    • restore filename(s)
      checks the named files in again and creates a read-only version of the updated version.
    • restore-all
      checks in all files that were checked out by the user issuing the command.
  • From within (X)Emacs by using the Version Control functions. The most important command to check a visited file in or out is: C-x C-q (vc-toggle-read-only)
  • Be aware that emacs does not save backup files for source files that are maintained with version control. If you want to make backup files despite version control (which is highly recommended), set the variable 'vc-make-backup-files' to an non-'nil value. This can be achieved permanently by including the command (vc-make-backup-files 't) in the .emacs file in your home directory.

    Please refer to a copy of the Emacs' Version Control info pages for full information or call info from within Emacs for the lates version.


File Names

The files are named by using German word-class labels (nomen for noun, adj for adjectives, and verben for verbs) as the base name, and the domain name as the extension of the file name, e.g.: nomen.Kommunikation



Each data file starts with a header providing copyright information and an identification string.

Copyright Notice

Each lexicographer file should start with the string

(Copyright (c) 1996, 1997 by University of Tübingen)

A copy of this notice is kept in the file named Copyright at /home/lsd/data/GermaNet/lexico for convenient inclusion into lexicographer's files.

Identification String

An identification string right after the copyright notice uniquely identifies each version of the data file. The identification string is the same for all files:

(SCCS-id %W%)

The substring %W% is automatically replaced by the file name and the current version number whenever the version control system creates a new version of that file (via restore or sccs delget). Note that files being checked out by a user (editing mode) will not have the %W%-string replaced by the file name and version number until they are checked in again because the version number of a file that is checked out is unknown.


Style Guide

We suggest that lexicographers' file start with the topmost concepts in the hierarchy and trace one path at a time to the terminal nodes, backtracking to the next upper levels when the end of a path is reached.


      { vehicle,                conveyance,@ }
      { aircraft,               vehicle,@ }
      { airplane,               aircraft,@ }
      { airliner,               airplane,@ }
      { seaplane,               airplane,@ }
      { floatplane,             seaplane,@ }
      { flying_boat,            seaplane,@ }

      { motor_vehicle,          vehicle,@ }
      { car,                    motor_vehicle,@ }
      { bus,                    car,@ }
      { limousine,              car,@ }

      { tractor,                vehicle,@ }
      { bulldozer,              tractor,@ }
      { angledozer,             bulldozer,@ }
      { Caterpillar,            tractor,@ }

We also suggest to make ample use of tabbing to separate synonyms from (various types) of pointers and to use blank lines and comments to mark backtracking to major upper levels.