I. Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) Special Interest Group on Natural Language Learning (the SIG, SIGNLL) shall be to promote interest in Natural Language Learning (NLL); to provide members of the ACL with a special interest in Natural Language Learning with a means of exchanging news of recent research developments and other matters of interest in Natural Language Learning; to sponsor meetings and workshops in Natural Language Learning that appear to be timely and worthwhile, and to provide and make available resources relevant to Natural Language Learning, including corpora, software, research papers and generated data.

SIGNLL will operate within the framework of the ACL's general guidelines for SIGs. A separate document outlines the history of NLL and the purposes of the field which SIGNLL represents, and lists the current officers.

II. Elected Officers

The elected officers of the SIG shall consist of a President and a Secretary. The President and Secretary shall be members in good standing of the ACL.

The term of all elected officers of the SIG shall be 2 years.

The duties of the President shall be

1. To have primary executive authority over actions and activities of the SIG.
2. To prepare a written report on the activities of the SIG for the Executive Committee of the ACL, for presentation to the the ACL at its Annual Business Meeting.
3. To designate a Liaison Representative for the SIG, who shall be primarily responsible for communication with members of the SIG, answering inquiries about the SIG, and communication with the Executive Committee of the ACL.
4. To designate such other officers as are appropriate to the fulfilment of the goals of the SIG, including a returning officer as specified in Sections III and V below.
5. To appoint an international advisory committee which together with the elected officers represents at least four countries, at least one of which is in North America, one in Europe and one in the Pacific Rim, and who shall be called upon in relation to the planning and coordination of SIGNLL activities and the preparation and revision of SIGNLL documents.

The duties of the Secretary shall be

1. To maintain a membership roster of the SIG.
2. To be responsible for any moneys awarded to the SIG by the ACL; to collect and manage any dues that may be required by the organization; and to present a written annual report on the SIG finances to the Executive Committee of the ACL.
3. To maintain, in consultation with the advisory committee, a document stating the aims of the group and the names and affiliations of the current officers, suitable for sending to prospective members and other enquirers.

III. Election of Officers

All officers of the SIG shall be elected by a vote of the membership. Elections shall normally be carried out at least one month, and at most two months, before the expiry of current terms of office. In the event of a casual vacancy, an extraordinary election shall be held for an officer to complete the current term of office. Candidates must be nominated by two members, must accept nomination, and must be members in good standing of both ACL and SIGNLL.

Votes may be entered by electronic or physical mail, and votes arriving by the notified closing date will be counted by a returning officer appointed by the President and agreed to by all candidates. Nominations shall be called at least three months prior to the election, and shall close two months prior to the election. All members shall be notified of the election date and the nominations at least four weeks prior to the close of voting, and results shall be notified to the members within four weeks of the close of voting.

Notification shall signify dispatch of mail by the medium and to the address last notified to the secretary.

IV. Dues

Dues may be charged by the SIG as determined from time to time by the elected officers and approved by the ACL Executive Committee. A scale of dues may be charged which depends on the member's geographical location, and the medium by which he receives mailings (e.g. electronic or physical mail).

V. Referenda

A change to this constitution, or a motion on any other matter, may be initiated by five members (petitioners) in writing or by agreement of the President and Secretary (on the suggestion of a member or otherwise). The motions will be put to the members within six months of receipt of a petition, if the petitioners so request. Otherwise, constitutional amendments and other motions will be put to the vote in conjunction with the regular elections.

Members will be given notification at least three months in advance of any referendum, and further motions or amendments proposed by two members shall be accepted up to two months before the close of voting. Votes may be entered by electronic or physical mail, and votes arriving by the notified closing date will be counted by a returning officer appointed by the President and agreed to by all petitioners. All members shall be notified of the date of the referendum and the proposed motions and amendments at least four weeks prior to the close of voting, and results shall be notified to the members within four weeks of the close of voting.

Any change to this constitution requires a two-thirds majority of those eligible to vote and is subject to approval by ACL. Any other matter requires a simple majority of those actually voting.

Notification shall signify dispatch of mail by the medium and to the address last notified to the secretary.

VI. Resource Management

In providing and making available any resources as defined in Clause I, and especially any held and distributed electronically, the SIG shall follow proper procedures with respect to matters like copyright, registration and data protection as is appropriate to each case. Furthermore, where the SIG may be deemed the proprietor of a resource, as the SIG is a subordinate body of the ACL it is understood that the ACL is ultimate proprietor and therefore other members of the ACL who are not members of the SIG may have access to the SIG's resources and the ACL may itself make available such resources even to non-members. The SIG shall not enter into any formal or potentially legally binding contracts without the approval of ACL Executive Committee (or the ACL Secretary-Treasurer acting under delegated powers). The SIG shall not enter into any financial commitments for such resources without ensuring that the moneys required are available.


Page written by David Powers.