Computational linguistics for design, maintenance, and manufacturing
Although graphic representations have proven to be of value in computer-aided support and have received much attention in both research and practice (Goldschmidt, 1991; Goel, 1995; Achten, 1997; Do, 2002), linguistic representations presently do not significantly contribute to improve the information handling related to the computer support of a design product. During its life cycle, engineers and designers make many representations of a product. The information and knowledge used to create the product are usually represented visually in sketches, models, (technical) drawings, and images. Linguistic information is complementary to graphic information and essential to create the corporate memory of products. Linguistic information (i.e., the use of words, abbreviations, vocal comments, annotations, notes, and reports) creates meaningful information for designers and engineers as well as for computers (Segers, 2004; Juchmes et al., 2005). Captions, plain text, and keyword indexing are now common to support the communication between design actors (Lawson & Loke, 1997; Wong & Kvan, 1999; Heylighen, 2001; Boujut, 2003). Nevertheless, it is currently scarcely used to its full potential in design, maintenance, and manufacturing.
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