NEALT President's report of period ending 26 May 2007

In the final session of NODALIDA-2005 in Joensuu on Saturday 21st of May 2005, there seemed to be general agreement on the potential usefulness of a Nordic association for language technology (e.g. in applying for funding or starting a journal). A working group was established to discuss the details and do the actual planning; its members, elected again by acclamation, are Kimmo Koskenniemi (chair), Janne Bondi Johannessen and Joakim Nivre. (See the minutes of the final session.)

The forthcoming association was expected to take a responsibility of the continuation of the NODALIDA conferences which had been successfully organized since 1977 (see the list of NODALIDAs and their sites and dates). The final session of NODALIDA-2005 also confirmed that the future NODALIDA conferences will address the three Baltic countries and NW Russia in addition to the traditional Nordic countries.

The working group prepared with help of KitWiki.PhD Pirkko Suihkonen a draft for a constitution for the association for which the name Northern European Association for Language Technology (NEALT) was proposed. The association was then established in Gothenburg on 28 October 2006 in conjunction of the Swedish Conference on Language Technology (SCLT-2006). The constitution was finalized in that meeting and temporary organs were elected until the NODALIDA-2007 conference in Tartu (on 25-26 April). See the minutes of the founding meeting of NEALT and the final constitution of the association.

The relation of NEALT among European and global associations like the ACL and its European chapter EACL has been discussed with officers of those organization with the understanding that NEALT remains as an independent association but that it works in close cooperation with them. NEALT would recommend its members to join also ACL/EACL and that NEALT would coordinate its activities with these organizations.

The session at Joensuu NODALIDA-2005 also discussed the need for establishing a scientific journal for language technology and the planning of it was assigned to the same working group of Kimmo Koskenniemi, Janne Bondi Johannessen and Joakim Nivre. The constitution of the NEALT was so formulated that one member of the Executive Committee is the Editor in Chief and that an Editorial Board is nominated to assist the Editor in Chief in publishing the journal and possible other publications of the association. The forthcoming Executive Board to be elected is expected to accomplish this. KitWiki.PhD Pirkko Suihkonen has made drafts for the rules and organizing the Journal to be used by the forthcoming editorial board when it finalizes the rules and instructions and starts the journal.

Joakim Nivre has registered the NEALT as a Swedish association. Alternative hosting countries were also considered and this choice turned out to include less overheads than e.g. Finland and still provide a solid legal status for the association. See the Treasurer's Report for further details.

Janne Bondi Johannessen has established an official web site for the association, established a mailing list and a registry of members of the association, see In addition, there is a Wiki ( which can be used freely as a work space for NEALT purposes (and where this document is).

One could see the Executive Committee of the NEALT as the organ responsible for starting up of activities as NODALIDA conferences, the editorial board or various special interest groups (SIGs) and overseeing their continuity. Most of the actual and useful work would be carried out in the Editorial Board and in the Special Interest Groups which can include all relevant and interested parties. Therefore the Executive Committee need not be fully representative of all regions and groups.

One SIG has already been established, the SIG for Teaching of Language Technology. This was triggered by a call by Nordic Council of Ministers for proposals for Nordic Master's programs. The call had a very strict deadline but a proposal was submitted by Eirikur Rögnvaldsson and it included several participating institutions. Another recent call for Joint Nordic use of research infrastructure might give rise for establishing a SIG.

Kimmo Koskenniemi, President of the NEALT