We are thrilled to announce that DARIAH will participate in the Computational Literary Studies Infrastructure (CLS INFRA) project, which has been granted funding from the European Commission in the framework of Horizon 2020. The project kicked off in March 2021 and will run for a total of 48 months. It aims to build a shared resource focused on high-quality data, tools and services to undertake literary studies in the digital age.
The project brings together a Consortium of 13 partners, led by the Institute of Polish Language of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and composed of national knowledge and data infrastructures, high-profile international projects and pan-European research infrastructures. Their expertise will not only allow to develop new tools, services and datasets but also to bring in and harmonise existing resources.
“For years now it has become increasingly apparent that the community looking to data mine literary texts, an increasingly large and complementary subset of literary scholars, had unique and unmet infrastructural needs” said Jennifer Edmond, President of the Board of Directors in DARIAH-EU.
“CLS INFRA will allow these needs to be addressed in a technologically and scientifically robust framework, which will have a potential impact far beyond the immediate stakeholder group of literary scholars.”
One of the main challenges that the project will face is the current landscape of literary data which is very heterogenous and fragmented. Often, the resources available are far from being standardised in terms of how they are constructed, accessed and the extent to which they are reusable. A wider array of strategies will be deployed in CLS INFRA to align these diverse resources with each other.
Another challenge for the CLS community is the scarcity of optimised analysis tools for literary data. Although tools and environments exist, they are generally adopted from other areas, making their utility and extensibility limited for computational literary analysis. In this respect, CLS INFRA will facilitate this adaptation process in a coordinated fashion to accelerate research in a maximally efficient and effective manner.
Furthermore, recent surveys showed high barriers to adoption of computational approaches in the literary research community. Therefore, CLS INFRA aims to create knowledge about and interventions toward addressing skills and competency gaps of potential users of computational methods in literary studies.
“The computational literary scholarship community has a long track record of projects and networks that have explored and extended our understanding of this branch of scholarship and its unique requirements” added Jennifer Edmond.
“With CLS INFRA, we will be able to build on these decades of progress, but also to ground the future of this work in a sustainable, shared and open infrastructure. I think this is the most important role we in DARIAH see ourselves playing in the project, that is to take this latest installment in this tradition and ensure that its reach and impact is maximised across in time, in space and in demographics.”
Networking activities will be crucial for engaging a larger number of literary researchers and to this aim, CLS INFRA will establish and spread current best practices, showcase successful application of CLS methods and define shared policies through robust documentation and guidelines. In addition, in order to deepen, widen and consolidate the CLS userbase, the project will develop a series of workshops, seminars, training schools and online modules. These events will bring together scholars across regional borders in the view of harmonising the access to resources and fostering better coordination of activities at the European level. CLS INFRA will also deliver a pan-European fellowship programme. Applicants will have the opportunity to obtain physical access to the CLS infrastructure providers through competitive calls.
“We in DARIAH are so thrilled to be a part of this project and to bring together our mission to provide arts and humanities researchers with access to the infrastructure they need to advance their work, with the great tradition, networks and scholarly achievements of a significant subfield of the digital humanities” concluded Jennifer Edmond.
“With its strong consortium, innovative conceptual framework, and strong focus on both human and technological knowledge transfers, we feel this will be an ideal project to prove the vibrancy and impact of the digital humanities in general and computational literary studies in particular.”