Log Files as a Tool for Improving Internet Dictionaries
In their advertisements, dictionary publishers often praise their dictionaries for taking into account the exact needs of the users. Until the beginning of the 1980s, however, no theoretical contributions on dictionary use were available, neither in the form of purely theoretical considerations nor in the form of empirical research. Since then, the situation has changed completely. Such a large number of user surveys have been carried out that it is no longer possible to give a complete overview. Nevertheless, this has led to no signiﬁcant improvement of the situation as the majority of these surveys are not related to concrete examples of dictionary use. The surveys, which have always been concerned with printed dictionaries, have therefore not contributed to substantial improvements of dictionary conception.
In the case of internet dictionaries, on the other hand, technical possibilities enable lexicographers to monitor user behaviour in a different and much more precise way. Analyses of log ﬁles reveal exactly which lemmas and which types of information have been requested, and, perhaps more signiﬁcantly, which lemmas and which types of information have been requested but were not found in the dictionary. Furthermore, log ﬁles allow lexicographers to see the types of information which have not, or not yet, been searched for. All in all, log ﬁles may thus be used as a tool for improving internet dictionaries – and perhaps also printed dictionaries – quite considerably.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).