Information Needs and Contextualization in the Consultation Process of Dictionaries that are Linked to e-Texts

  • Theo J.D. Bothma Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Rufus H. Gouws Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


This article focuses on various aspects regarding contextualization when e-texts are linked to integrated dictionaries. The article responds to a twofold problem statement: (1) Diction­aries linked to e-texts do not sufficiently take into account the contextuali­zation and cotextualiza­tion of words when providing information to users. (2) The integrated dic­tionary may contain the items needed for contextualization and cotextualization, but the e-device cannot interpret the con­text of a word and link the word to the relevant item in the dictionary arti­cle. The aim of the article is to show the need of linking a word from a text on an e-device to the correct sense in the inte­grated dictionary. This presupposes dynamic dictionary articles and lexico­graphic structures in which a relation between words in an e-text and user-specified lexicographic sources is established. Some existing projects that perform such linking are discussed and evalu­ated. Based on these results this article makes some suggestions. It is foreseen that there will be a "black box" of software between the selected word and the dictionary that will determine the cor­rect lemma and sense to be selected from the e-dictionary. Having discussed various alternatives, the article suggests par­allel contextualization between the dictionary and the software of the e‑device. Many aspects dis­cussed in this article require further research. Relevant proposals are made with regard to this research. Keywords: context, contextualization, cotext, dictionary consul­tation, e-device, e-reader, e-text, integrated dictionary, lexicographic needs, linking, parallel contextualization, text reception