LDC Timeline – Two Decades of Milestones
April 15 marks the “official” 20th anniversary of LDC’s founding. We’ll be featuring highlights from the last two decades in upcoming newsletters, on the web and elsewhere. For a start, here’s a brief timeline of significant milestones.
1992: The University of Pennsylvania is chosen as the host site for LDC in response to a call for proposals issued by DARPA; the mission of the new consortium is to operate as a specialized data publisher and archive guaranteeing widespread, long-term availability of language resources. DARPA provides seed money with the stipulation that LDC become self-sustaining within five years. Mark Liberman assumes duties as LDC’s Director with a staff that grows to four, including Jack Godfrey, the Consortium’s first Executive Director.
1993: LDC’s catalog debuts. Early releases include benchmark data sets such as TIMIT, TIPSTER, CSR and Switchboard, shortly followed by the Penn Treebank.
1994: LDC and NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) enter into a Cooperative R&D Agreement that provides the framework for the continued collaboration between the two organizations.
1995: Collection of conversational telephone speech and broadcast programming and transcription commences. LDC begins its long and continued support for NIST common task evaluations by providing custom data sets for participants. Membership and data license fees prove sufficient to support LDC operations, satisfying the requirement that the Consortium be self-sustaining.
1997: LDC announces LDC Online, a searchable index of newswire and speech data with associated tools to compute n-gram models, mutual information and other analyses.
1998: LDC adds annotation to its task portfolio. Christopher Cieri joins LDC as Executive Director and develops the annotation operation.
1999: Steven Bird joins LDC; the organization begins to develop tools and best practices for general use. The Annotation Graph Toolkit results from this effort.
2000: LDC expands its support of common task evaluations from providing corpora to coordinating language resources across the program. Early examples include the DARPA TIDES, EARS and GALE programs.
2001: The Arabic treebank project begins.
2002: LDC moves to its current facilities at 3600 Market Street, Philadelphia with a full-time staff of approximately 40 persons.
2004: LDC introduces the Standard and Subscription membership options, allowing members to choose whether to receive all or a subset of the data sets released in a membership year.
2005: LDC makes task specifications and guidelines available through its projects web pages.
2008: LDC introduces programs that provide discounts for continuing members and those who renew early in the year.
2010: LDC inaugurates the Data Scholarship program for students with a demonstrable need for data.
2012: LDC’s full-time staff of 50 and 196 part-time staff support ongoing projects and operations which include collecting, developing and archiving data, data annotation, tool development, sponsored-project support and multiple collaborations with various partners. The general catalog contains over 500 holdings in more than 50 languages. Over 85,000 copies of more than 1300 titles have been distributed to 3200 organizations in 70 countries.