SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT CORP SANTA MONICA United States
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If one says that two words are linked if one defines the other in a standard dictionary entry, it follows that one may find chains of word-senses which are successively linked in this way, and also circles or closed chains of linked senses. It is evident that these connections between different word senses in a vocabulary as a whole will constitute a network of variable density representing more or less closely associated sets of words. However, given a specific set of definitions of link, chain, circle and so on, and a data base consisting of the relevant selections from a dictionary, the problem is to find procedures for discovering chains and circles from the linked word-senses given by dictionary material, which are both theoretically and practically satisfactory. If one takes the rather general definitions of these notions given by Olney, it turns out that several alternative search procedures can be associated with them, because they may be interpreted in different ways, which may give quite different results for the same body of data, depending on the restrictions on the starting point for a search, the mode of extension of a chain, and so on. Basically, a distinction can be made between an unrestricted attempt to find all the chains arising from each separate word in a set, and a more restricted attempt based on searching for all the chains linking word pairs in the set the chains obtained for a given set of words may not be at all alike in the two cases, with corresponding effects on the circles.