Using CLARIN for Digital Research

Submitted by Martin Wynne on 15 July 2014

Many researchers in the digital humanities will have heard of CLARIN, and the efforts to build a persistent, reliable and sustainable infrastructure for language resources and tools. Since the first plans in 2008 CLARIN has been under way, first in a preparatory phase project to prepare the way for funding and to set up the organizational structures, and since 
2012 in the construction phase to build infrastructure services and integrate resources. CLARIN aims to provide services to support and faciliate support the use of digital language resources and tools in the humanities and social sciences, and has been adopted as a key component in the national roadmaps for research infrastructure in numerous European countries. Now is a good time to ask "What can CLARIN do for me?" and "What can I do for CLARIN?". A tutorial workshop at the Digital Humanities 2014 Conference in Lausanne in July gave a practical introduction to CLARIN, focussing on providing answers to these key questions. Presentations and the more detailed agenda can be found on the page for the event Using CLARIN for Digital Research.

How can I find resources using CLARIN?

The Virtual Language Observatory brings together the records for all of the linguistic data resources held in all of the CLARIN centres, plus many more besides. The VLO is the place to start to find resources:

Many of the resources which you will find in the VLO are available via open access, but some are restricted. Thanks to CLARIN's federated login system, the following applications and data sets are available to anyone with an academic account from Denmark, Finland, Germany or the Netherlands. We are working hard to extend this to the rest of Europe. In the meanwhile, you can request a CLARIN account if you want to access these services from another country (and feel free to ask your national access management federation to join the CLARIN Federation - find yours here):

And another excellent resource, for the study of the German language, and of texts in German, can be found at the Digitale Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache website:

How can CLARIN archive and curate my resources?

Several CLARIN centres offer repository services allow deposit, archiving, distribution and long-term preservation of language resources. Deposit with a CLARIN centre also offers opportunities for integration of the resources into services for the online exploration and analysis and combination with various tools. The (growing) list of CLARIN centres offering repository services is below. Get in touch if you want help to find the right repository for you.

How can I integrate my tools and services with the CLARIN infrastructure?

Digital research in the humanities could be enhanced if it were easier to combine existing datasets, and if it were easier to deploy and combine software tools in chains and workflows. CLARIN aims to promote interoperability by offering an infrastructure for the deployment of software as reliable services available via standard licences and access arrangements. The route to CLARIN compliance is explained, and a demonstration of building web service processing chains with Weblicht. 

How can I do research in the humanities with CLARIN?

CLARIN is collecting and presenting examples of CLARIN-powered research. Please get in touch if you want to find out more, or to tell us about your experiences. We need more case studies to help us to understand requirements and to improve services. Here are some links to what we have already:

See also the new CLARIN Centre Vienna language resource portal, with some exciting examples of the latest research being done in Austria with the help of CLARIN -