OpenNLP is meant to provide an umbrella for various open source NLP projects to work with greater awareness and (potentially) greater interoperability. These projects could be vastly different and have little to do with each other, but the idea is to have a basic infrastructure in place for researchers and developers to collaborate on open source NLP projects. In this way, OpenNLP can be thought of as a GNU-like organization. Also, like GNU, OpenNLP provides a top-level name package name for Java programs (opennlp.*) so that Java developers can have sensible package names which will be unique.

It is hoped that one day OpenNLP will be one of the major sites for cutting edge open source NLP software where people can find the software they need and get help on using and developing it. The current members are not advocacy crazy, so please do not feel left out if you already have an open source NLP project and we have not contacted you. We have just set the ball rolling and look forward to others joining in and increasing the level of interaction.

If you are working on open source natural language software or wish to start a project and are interested in joining OpenNLP, let us know about it by either posting to the OpenNLP forum or sending mail to Jason Baldridge (jmb@cogsci.ed.ac.uk) or Tom Morton (tsmorton@users.sourceforge.net). The only requirement is that the software is related to NLP and is distributed under an open source license. You are otherwise free to use your favorite programming languages, theories, methodologies, operating systems, etc. Also note that open source projects that have been around for a while and wish to be part of OpenNLP are welcome to join. The only administrative duty you have is to notify Jason with the name of your project, your website, and a brief description.

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2004 March 17