Markup Language for Temporal and Event Expressions

TimeML is a robust specification language for events and temporal expressions in natural language. It is designed to address four problems in event and temporal expression markup:

  1. Time stamping of events (identifying an event and anchoring it in time);
  2. Ordering events with respect to one another (lexical versus discourse properties of ordering);
  3. Reasoning with contextually underspecified temporal expressions (temporal functions such as 'last week' and 'two weeks before');
  4. Reasoning about the persistence of events (how long does an event or the outcome of an event last).

TimeML has been developed in the context of three AQUAINT workshops and projects. The 2002 TERQAS workshop set out to enhance natural language question answering systems to answer temporally-based questions about the events and entities in news articles. The first version of TimeML was defined and the TimeBank corpus was created as an illustration. TANGO was a follow-up workshop in which a graphical annotation tool was developed. Currently, the TARSQI project develops algorithms that tag events and time expressions in NL texts and temporally anchor and order the events.

In addition, TimeML has been discussed and promoted in: