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Swe-Clarin: Language resources and technology for Digital Humanities

Conference paper
Authors Lars Borin
Nina Tahmasebi
Elena Volodina
Stefan Ekman
Caspar Jordan
Jon Viklund
Beáta Megyesi
Jesper Näsman
Anne Palmér
Mats Wirén
Kristina Björkenstam
Gintare Grigonyte
Sofia Gustafson Capková
Tomasz Kosiński
Published in Digital Humanities 2016. Extended Papers of the International Symposium on Digital Humanities (DH 2016) Växjö, Sweden, November, 7-8, 2016. Edited by Koraljka Golub, Marcelo Milra. Vol-2021
ISSN 1613-0073
Publisher M. Jeusfeld c/o Redaktion Sun SITE, Informatik V, RWTH Aachen.
Place of publication Aachen
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Swedish
Swedish National Data Service (SND)
Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Language en
Keywords language technology språkteknologi Swe-Clarin digital humanities digital humaniora
Subject categories Linguistics, Political Science, Other Social Sciences, Other Humanities not elsewhere specified, Computational linguistics, Language Technology (Computational Linguistics), Materials Engineering


CLARIN is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), which aims at (a) making extensive language-based materials available as primary research data to the humanities and social sciences (HSS); and (b) offering state-of-the-art language technology (LT) as an e-research tool for this purpose, positioning CLARIN centrally in what is often referred to as the digital humanities (DH). The Swedish CLARIN node Swe-Clarin was established in 2015 with funding from the Swedish Research Council. In this paper, we describe the composition and activities of Swe-Clarin, aiming at meeting the requirements of all HSS and other researchers whose research involves using text and speech as primary research data, and spreading the awareness of what Swe-Clarin can offer these research communities. We focus on one of the central means for doing this: pilot projects conducted in collaboration between HSS researchers and Swe-Clarin, together formulating a research question, the addressing of which requires working with large language-based materials. Four such pilot projects are described in more detail, illustrating research on rhetorical history, second-language acquisition, literature, and political science. A common thread to these projects is an aspiration to meet the challenge of conducting research on the basis of very large amounts of textual data in a consistent way without losing sight of the individual cases making up the mass of data, i.e., to be able to move between Moretti’s “distant” and “close reading” modes. While the pilot projects clearly make substantial contributions to DH, they also reveal some needs for more development, and in particular a need for document-level access to the text materials. As a consequence of this, work has now been initiated in Swe-Clarin to meet this need, so that Swe-Clarin together with HSS scholars investigating intricate research questions can take on the methodological challenges of big-data language-based digital humanities.

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