The AusWeb series of World Wide Web Research Conferences.

Using XSL and XQL for efficient, customised access to dictionary information

Kevin Jansz, Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Australia.

Wee Jim Sng, School of Applied Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Christopher Manning, Departments of Computer Science and Linguistics, Stanford University, USA.

Nitin Indurkhya, School of Applied Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


Kirrkirr, Java, Information Visualisation, Language Learning, Electronic Dictionaries, XML, XSL, XQL, XML Indexing, Warlpiri


XML is highly suited to representing richly structured information such as dictionary content, and conversely this well-structured storage of the information enables innovative browsing interfaces. We demonstrated this previously with the development of Kirrkirr, a web-based application that allows users to interactively explore a Warlpiri (a Central Australian language) dictionary in XML format. Two key design issues are customised presentation, and efficient access. The greater the level of customisation, the broader range of users Kirrkirr can accommodate. Efficient access is important if the application is to scale up to larger, more complex dictionaries. In this paper, we discuss these two issues and describe the usage of XSL and XQL to further enhance Kirrkirr. While Kirrkirr already provides a number of interfaces to the lexical information, the challenge of creating new features and providing even greater flexibility lies in allowing the user to access certain parts of the XML database without the overhead of greater memory and time usage. By enhancing the indexing techniques of the original Kirrkirr, users may use XSL to personalise the information they access. Emerging technologies such as XQL give the potential for not only efficient access to dictionary entries, but to the fields within the entries. Performance evaluation suggests that the use of XSL and XQL has had a very significant impact on Kirrkirr. The results can easily be seen to apply to a broad range of similar applications.

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