Although the number of parses that is generated is strongly reduced through the use of different tools, the parser usually still produces a set of parses. Selection of the best parse (i.e. the parse that needs the least editing) from this set of parses is facilitated by the parse selection tool. This design of this tool is based on the SRI Treebanker (Carter 1997).
The parse selection takes as input a set of dependency paths for each parse. A dependency path specifies the grammatical relation of a word in a constituent (e.g. head (hd) or determiner (det)) and the way the constituent is embedded in the sentence. The representation of a parse as a set of dependency paths is a notational variant of the dependency tree. The set of dependency triples that corresponds to the dependency tree in fig. 2 is in fig. 5.
From these sets of dependency paths the selection tool computes a (usually much smaller) set of maximal discriminants. This set of maximal discriminants consists of the triples with the shortest dependency paths that encode a certain difference between parses. In example 6 the triples s:su:det = det het and s:su = np het meisje always co-occur, but the latter has a shorter dependency path and is therefore a maximal discriminant. Other types of discriminants are lexical and constituent discriminants. Lexical discriminants represent ambiguities that result form lexical analysis, e.g. a word with an uppercase first letter can be interpreted as either a proper name or the same word without the upper case first letter. Constituent discriminants define groups of words as constituents without specifying the type of the constituent.
The maximal discriminants are presented to the annotator, who can mark them as either good (parse must include it) or bad (parse may not include it). The parse selection tool then automatically further narrows down the possibilities using four simple rules of inference. This allows users to focus on discriminants about which they have clear intuitions. Their decisions about these discriminants combined with the rules of inference can then be used to make decisions about the less obvious discriminants.
The discriminants are presented to the annotator in a specific order to make the selection process more efficient. The highest ranked discriminants are always the lexical discriminants. Decisions on lexical discriminants are very easy to make and greatly reduce the set of possibilities.
After this the discriminants are ranked according to their power: the
sum of the number of parses that will be excluded after the
discriminant has been marked bad and the number of parses
that will be excluded after it has been marked good. This way
the ambiguities with the greatest impact on the number of parses are
The parse that is selected is stored in the treebank. If the best parse is not fully correct yet, it can be edited in the Thistle (Calder 2000) tree editor and then stored again. A second annotator checks the structure, edits it again if necessary and stores it afterwards.