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More researchers dive into the digital humanities

December 20, 2010

Posted by Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager for Google Books

When we started Google Book Search back in 2004, we were driven by the desire to make books searchable and discoverable online. But as that corpus grew -- we’ve now scanned approximately 10% of all books published in the modern era -- we began to realize how useful it would be for scholarly work. Humanities researchers have started to ask and answer questions about history, society, linguistics, and culture via quantitative techniques that complement traditional qualitative methods.

We’ve been gratified at the positive response to our initial forays into the digital humanities, from our Digital Humanities Research Awards earlier this year, to the Google Books Ngram Viewer and datasets made public just last week. Today we’re pleased to announce a second set of awards focusing on European universities and research centers.

We’ve given awards to 12 projects led by 15 researchers at 13 institutions:
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Annotated Corpora in Studying and Teaching Variation and Change in Academic German, Anke Lüdeling
  • LIMSI/CNRS, Université Paris Sud. Building Multi-Parallel Corpora of Classical Fiction, François Yvon
  • Radboud Universiteit. Extracting Factoids from Dutch Texts, Suzan Verberne
  • Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Jožef Stefan Institute. Language models for historical Slovenian, Matija Ogrin and Tomaž Erjavec
  • Université d'Avignon, Université de Provence. Robust and Language Independent Machine Learning Approaches for Automatic Annotation of Bibliographical References in DH Books, Articles and Blogs, Patrice Bellot and Marin Dacos
  • Université François Rabelais-Tours. Full-text retrieval and indexation for Early Modern French, Marie-Luce Demonet
  • Université François Rabelais-Tours. Using Pattern Redundancy for Text Transcription, Jean-Yves Ramel and Jean-Charles Billaut
  • Universität Frankfurt. Towards a “Corpus Caucasicum”: Digitizing Pre-Soviet Cyrillic-Based Publications on the Languages of the Caucasus, Jost Gippert
  • Universität Hamburg. CLÉA: Literature Éxploration and Annotation Environment for Google Books Corpora, Jan-Christoph Meister
  • Universität zu Köln. Integrating Charter Research in Old and New Media, Manfred Thaller
  • Universität zu Köln. Validating Metadata-Patterns for Google Books' Ancient Places and Sites, Reinhard Foertsch
  • University of Zagreb. A Profile of Croatian neo-Latin, Neven Jovanović
Projects like these, blending empirical data and traditional scholarship, are springing up around the world. We’re eager to see what results they yield and what broader impact their success will have on the humanities.

(Cross-posted from the European Public Policy Blog)