Is there a way to validate annotation before saving?

Hello, it is convenient to use ELAN to annotate videos. However, there are some small issues that bother me during annotation.

For example, some one may just make a selection but not select the label. Or some one may give one section two selections with contradictory labels. I have to handle those exceptions manually.

So I want to validate it to ensure each selection have only one valid label. Is there a way to do such validation before saving?


I’m not sure if I understand all examples you mention. I assume the first example is about creating an “empty” annotation, without either entering text or choosing an item from the linked controlled vocabulary?
The second example is less clear: how is ‘one section’ defined here and how can be determined if two labels are contradictory? Is this still about annotations of a single annotator or is this about comparing the annotations of two or more annotators?
Validation requires some definitions or rules to compare with and it’s not clear what that should be in this case.
One thing is clear, ELAN doesn’t have an option to check annotations at the moment of a Save or Save As action. E.g. if there are empty annotations there is no option to prevent ELAN from saving the file.


Thank for your reply.
Your understanding of the first example is exactly what I mean. As for the second example, you can simply understand that I don’t want the two selections to be overlapping.
Do you have any plans to add this feature to ELAN in the near future? Several friends of mine who are using ELAN need to manually write a script to verify the ELAN annotations. So I think this feature is useful for many people using ELAN.

Thanks for the clarifications.
As ELAN already prevents overlapping annotations within a tier, you must be referring to annotations on different tiers. Since in many situations it is quite common and also necessary to have overlapping annotations on different tiers and since users can add any number of tiers, I guess the least that is required for the kind of functionality you propose, is that the user can specify which tiers (2 or more?) should not have overlapping annotations? Or do the scripts of your friends simply prevent overlaps on any tiers?

I tested ELAN and found that it did prevents overlapping annotations within a tier. It seemed I a mistake.
So the only feature I want is to add an option to prevent ELAN from saving the file with empty annotation. Do you have any plans to add this feature to ELAN in the near future?

There were and are no plans to add this feature, but I can add it to the wish list. Personally I wouldn’t like to interfere with the saving of files too much and my assumption is that most users prefer that the file is saved when they do a CTRL+S rather than being confronted with a popup window. But we can wait and see what others think.

The problem description sounds to me like it would be best to perform a validation when the user thinks the file is done and complete. In which case a search (Find and Replace) with the regular expression (“^$”, without the quotes) would list all empty annotations. The user can click one, the media jumps to that location and the annotation can be completed etc.
The validation check could also be done on a complete set of files (a corpus) via the structured multiple file search with the same regular expression.

Thanks for your patience.
I think the empty annotation is what users want to avoid in most cases. And the way implementation you mentioned is very good. It can remind users that there some places forgot to annotate. It would be better if the behavior of whether to enable validation can be set in the template.