CLARIAH - A Digital Research Infrastructure for Humanities Researchers in The Netherlands

clariah digitaal coverIn 2009 the CLARIN-NL project initiated the construction of an integrated, distributed digital infrastructure for language-based humanities research, with a focus on linguistics. But the promises of interoperability between different data sets and tools are not restricted to language-based research. Within CLARIN-NL pilot projects had reached out to neighbouring fields. In 2011 a consortium led by Jan Odijk proposed to the “NWO-nationale Roadmap voor grootschalige Wetenschappelijke onderzoeksinfrastructuur” to build a digital infrastructure for all of the humanities, dubbed ClARIAH. This proposal was rated excellent, but also too ambitious. The consortium was granted seed money, and in 2013, in the next round, we presented a new proposal.

As suggested by the vetting committee, the proposal focussed on three disciplines within the humanities where digital techniques already had a large impact: linguistics, socio-economic history and media studies. This choice meant we had to deal with texts, structured data and audio-visual materials. This proposal, ClARIAH-CORE, was funded by NWO, and we started our work from 2015.

Over the next few years we built an infrastructure for these fields, but we also cooperated more and more closely between them in building a common humanities infrastructure. When in 2016 we put out a call for pilot studies to test the infrastructure, more than half of the proposals crossed the borders of our disciplines.

We have come a long way together, but we have not yet reached our goal. This has been recognised by our funders, which have granted us the means to continue with the next phase of our project. In ClARIAH-PLUS, which will run from 2019, we will further extend the infrastructure. We will now be able to include analysing texts for fields such as literature, history or philosophy, which look more to their contents than to the language they are in (even if that border is permeable too). We will doubtlessly cross borders to other disciplines within and outside the humanities.

But first we invite you to celebrate with us the accomplishments of ClARIAH-CORE in this booklet.
We wish you an enjoyable read.

Lex Heerma van Voss, PI CLARIAH

Jan Odijk, director CLARIAH