CLARIN Café III CLARIN for Researchers: Literary Studies

Submitted by Elisa Gorgaini on 16 July 2020

CLARIN Café III CLARIN for Researchers: Literary Studies took place on 8 July as part of the CLARIN Café series and it was hosted by CLARIN Ambassador Maciej Maryl (Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences ).

The goal of this meeting was to introduce digital methods to literary scholars on the example of the tools provided by CLARIN. The target audience were researchers willing to incorporate new methods into their disciplinary workflows but needing an entry point. CLARIN Ambassadors currently consider organising similar events for other SSH disciplines (e.g. history, translation studies).

Maciej Maryl opened the floor with an introduction to digital humanities (DH) and an explanation on how Research Infrastructures like CLARIN can support researchers with their research. This CLARIN Cafè focused on offering such support by presenting examples and use cases of digitally-enabled disciplinary research, that successfully integrated disciplinary research in literary studies with digital methods. Thus the presentations discussed respectively three aspects of digital literary studies: 1) corpus creation; 2) text annotation and preparation of a digital edition;  3) textual analysis.

The first presentation  was given by Olga Gerassimenko (Center of Estonian Language Resources) and Marin Laak (Estonian Literary Museum)  who explained how they collaborated with their different expertise on the creation of a correspondence corpus with the help of KORP. Marin is a literary scholar while Olga is an expert in digital methods and a member of the CLARIN User Involvement Committee. Olga’s expertise in digital methods helped Marin solve a research question focused on detecting the Estonian-European identity of different authors of correspondence between 1911 and 1940. 

In the second presentation, Beatrice Nava (University of Bologna) shared her experience as a traditional scholar starting to use digital methods for her research. Beatrice, with a background on modern and Classical philology, could familiarise and develop her research within the DEA project: Digital Edition of Archilochus, thanks to the support of CLARIN-IT. The aim of the DEA  project is to complete a scientific scholarly digital edition of the whole corpus of Archilochus’ work for scholars and non-specialised users. Beatrice explained the implementation phases of the projects, also addressing the first results and problems encountered. The annotated corpus of DEA is deposited at ILC4CLARIN CLARIN Italian consortium. Finally, Beatrice highlighted the role of CLARIN  as a valuable entry point for those researchers that are not familiar with digital methods and need a first introduction to this environment. She also pointed out  CLARIN Mobility Grants as an invaluable opportunity for researchers who want to exchange and gain expertise on specific topics.

The third presentation was given by Joanna Byszuk (Institute of Polish Language of the Polish Academy of Sciences) who shared her experience in textual analysis and stylometry with the use of WebStyML, a multilingual, web-based tool developed by CLARIN-PL in cooperation with Maciej Eder. After briefly introducing the concepts of distant reading and mechanics of stylometry, she described the practical applications of stylometry, such as solving authorship attribution problems or examining textual corpora to study idiolects, stylochronology or cross and inter genre relationships. 

With a total of 65 participants this third edition of the CLARIN Cafè can be considered a success, the round of presentations was followed by a lively discussion between the audience and the presenters, which showed the need for such events to exchange expertise. This Cafè, specifically tailored to a non-specialised audience managed to bring together literary scholars with very diverse research focuses but a common interest in how to apply digital methods to classical humanities research, a valuable step in the process of bridging the gap between digital humanities and disciplinary research. 

The recordings of the Cafè are now available at this link. If you are interested in showcasing a collaboration between humanities scholars and digital experts you can consider to submit an abstract for the virtual Twin Talks II workshop at DHN 2020. To be regularly updated on the CLARIN activities, you can subscribe to the newsletter. To have more information on the funding opportunities offered by CLARIN you can visit our funding page. At this link you can also find information on the CLARIN resource families