Traditional semantic annotation frameworks generally define complex, often exclusive category systems that require highly trained annotators to build. And in spite of their high quality for the cases they are designed to handle, these frameworks can be brittle to deviations from prototypical instances of a category.

The Decompositional Semantics Initiative is founded on the idea that semantic annotation should rather take the form of many simple questions about words or phrases in context that are (i) easy for naive native speakers to answer, thus allowing annotations to be crowd-sourced; and (ii) more robust than traditional category systems, thus allowing coverage of non-prototypical instances. You can hear more about the ideas behind the Decompositional Semantics Initiative in Aaron White’s interview with NLP Highlights.

All of the data generated by the project is bundled together as part of the Universal Decompositional Semantics (UDS) dataset. The quickest way to get started working with UDS is the decomp toolkit.