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Language engineering for the recovery of requirements from legacy documents

Research output: Working paper


Publication date05/1999
PublisherLancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Legacy documents, such as requirements documents or manuals of business procedures, can sometimes offer an important resource for informing what features of legacy software are redundant, need to be retained or can be reused. This situation is particularly acute where business change has resulted in the dissipation of human knowledge through staff turnover or redeployment. Exploiting legacy documents poses formidable problems, however, since they are often incomplete, poorly structured, poorly maintained and voluminous. This report proposes that language engineering using tools that exploit probabilistic natural language processing (NLP) techniques offer the potential to ease these problems. Such tools are available, mature and have been proven in other domains. The document provides a review of NLP and a discussion of the components of probabilistic NLP techniques and their potential for requirements recovery from legacy documents. The report concludes with a summary of the preliminary results of the adaptation and application of these techniques in the REVERE project.