Mr John McNaught

Position: Deputy Director

Telephone: +44 161 306 3098


I have been working in the general area of natural language processing since 1979, which I came to through previous studies in language and linguistics. Until 2000, I was with the Department of Language Engineering (and its Centre for Computational Linguistics) at UMIST, when I transferred to UMIST's Department of Computation. In 2004, UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester came together to form the University of Manchester, where I now work in the School of Computer Science. For many years, I worked on machine translation (MT) aspects, specifically on MT software design, on sublanguage-based MT, and on computational dictionaries. Multilingual issues and sublanguage concerns also brought me to develop strong interests in computational terminology and the representation of special knowledge. From the mid-80s on, I became involved in various language engineering standardisation initiatives such as EAGLES and ISLE. These focussed particularly on issues of reusability of language resources such as text corpora and electronic dictionaries, and design for reuse. The following characterisation of reusability has gained some currency in the field since I proposed it in 1986:


The accidental property of being usable for a purpose other than that originally intended;
The property of being deliberately designed to be usable for multiple purposes.

Recently, the reusability issue has been exercising researchers in the context of semantic web ontologies.

In the latter half of the 90s, I moved into the area of information extraction, working on ontology-driven information extraction. The CAFETIERE system, developed by my colleague Bill Black has been the mainstay of this work.

I am the deputy director of the National Centre for Text Mining (NaCTeM).

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