The lexicographer's workbench (EELex) has been prepared at the Institute of the Estonian Language ( under the National Programme for Estonian Language Technology (2006-2010)" (


EELex – what and why?

Every dictionary-maker starting a new dictionary from scratch faces several important choices. Should the material be entered using a word processor making the result look like “the real thing” at once or whether it would still be better to be able to analyse the material during the compilation process? How to make sure that no important headword is missing? How to make certain that the entry words are in alphabetical order? How to guarantee that a cross-referenced word will survive and retain its shape all through the way to the final version? How to divide the editor's job if two (or more) people wish to handle the dictionary simultaneously? How to sort out the terms of a narrow area for a specialist to check and correct? Dictionaries are, after all, voluminous entities making the initial decisions extremely difficult to revert at later stages.

This is exactly where a system of dictionary management like EELex comes in handy, taking on the tedious and time-consuming routine work, solving all the above-mentioned problems, and leaving the lexicographer with the substantial part of supplying equivalents, definitions etc. As the system is web-based, there is no limit set on the concurrent number of users. The compiler has a simultaneous view of the structural template and the layout format of an entry. Simple technical errors are excluded as additions and modifications are possible only by strictest observance of the XML schema. EELex takes care of formatting, punctuation, sorting, referencing, access rights to different sections of the entry and to different work stages etc. If the user is satisfied with the initial list of headwords and the entry structure offered by the EELex consumer version, they can compile their own dictionary even by merely filling in the blanks.

As, in principle, EELex should take care of all the typical necessities of dictionary work, new functionality is gradually being added. A compiler is typically interested in various background information about an headword, such as, for example:

Hitherto the practice of using the system has regularly revealed new necessities, such as, for example, to import, from another dictionary, all structural units with certain parameters, or to make structural queries in the dictionary using regular expressions, or to make bulk modifications in multiple entries simultaneously, or to modify the XSL stylesheet so that the HTML output would be usable as a browser accelerator preview and carry only the most essential information.