CLARIN-PLUS Workshop "Working with Parliamentary Records"

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Participants of the CLARIN-PLUS workshop in Sofia

Goals | Topics and perspectives | Videos | Practical details

Goals of the workshop

Parliament speech has always been in the center of the humanitarian and societal interest with its influential language and content for the policy making as well as for the social and political environment. There are many ongoing initiatives on European and national levels for compiling digital collections of parliament data, varying from creation of parliament-focused corpora to task-oriented ones. Examples of the first kind are: EuroParl; the Dutch PoliMedia project on political debates; European Parliament Interpretation Corpus (EPIC); UK parliamentary proceedings, including nearly every speech given in the British Parliament from 1803-2005; speech data from the Czech parliament; and the Talk of Norway corpus, a collection of proceedings from the Norwegian parliament.  Examples of the second kind are: War in Parliament (WIP); the language of ethnic conflict in Latvian parliamentary debates; linking the historical and contemporary political records (LIPARM), among many others.

The availability of big parliamentary multimodal data in digitized form poses a number of problems, related to its proper archiving, structuring, synchronizing, visualizing. It is not a trivial task to search in such data, to extract relevant information, to make observations on specific topics. Thus, adequate approaches are required for its focused, easy and efficient usage from various perspectives, such as political sciences, sociology, history, psychology, etc. and also from the perspective of multilinguality.

This workshop aims to discover the ways in which technology, developed within CLARIN, would be helpful for curating parliament records and for answering research questions in the field of Digital Humanities given in by parliamentary datasets. One such successful initiative was the Talk of Europe – Travelling CLARIN Campus (ToE-TCC) project, within which the EU parliament debates have been presented as Linked Open Data. At the workshop, we will prepare an overview of the recent and on-going national and international projects and collections of parliamentary records. In addition to talks, there will be demonstrations, discussions and hands-on sessions.

This workshop is the third in a series of four as part of the CLARIN-PLUS project and aims to demonstrate the application strength of language and speech technology in the domain of the humanities and social sciences beyond the field of linguistics.

Researchers who are currently working outside of CLARIN projects and networks, but with a background relevant for the topic of the workshop are very welcome, since one of the main aims of these workshops is to reach new users and start new collaborations. However, places are limited, and mostly allocated via the national CLARIN consortiums, but please get in touch with if you are interested in participating, adding information to the overview of relevant data sets and initiatives, or contributing otherwise.

Topics and perspectives

Perspective of curators and researchers:

  • Historical perspective: the specifics of diachronical perspective; time dynamics per topics, etc.
  • Political science perspective: political activity of parties and politicians; the role of the various public political bodies; policy comparison; language differences as indicators to differing political views etc.
  • Sociological perspective: conflicts in parliament; attitudes of politicians to critical issue: trending topics; patterns of language use reflecting societal dynamics, models of parliamentary communication, control, commissions, etc.
  • Psychological and language perspective: language portraits of politicians; semantic differences of political terms; gestures; behavior in parliament, etc.

Developers' perspective:

  • Design of parliamentary speech corpora: annotations, visualization, etc.
  • Text analytics, semantic processing and linking of parliamentary data
  • Searches and information extraction from parliamentary corpora
  • Multilinguality issues in parliamentary data


Videos of invited contributions, presentations and interviews have been published on the CLARIN Videolectures channel

Practical details

Date workshop: 27-29 March 2017 
Venue: Sofia City Hotel (
Host: IICT-BAS, Sofia, Bulgaria
Logistics: all travel information and local logistics can be checked here: pdf

Programme (detailed version: link)

Day 1: Monday 27 March

10:00-12:00 Focus group session (details below)
12:00-13:30 Lunch
14:00-14:15 Welcome, introduction to CLARIN(slides)
14:15-14:30 CLARIN support for research based on of parliamentary data (slides)
14:30-15:30 Invited contribution 1 by Laura Hollink (CWI, The Netherlands)
Linking Parliamentary Data: an event perspective 
15:30-16:00 Coffee break
16:00-17:20 Presentations by participants(slides)
17:20-18:00 Questions, discussion on obstacles, gaps, requirements 1

Day 2: Tuesday 28 March


09:00-10:00 Invited contribution 2 by Andreas Blätte (University of Duisburg)
The preparation and analysis of corpora of parliamentary debates. Ideas for making things sustainable (abstract)
10:00-10:30 Coffee break
10:30-12:00 Hands-on session 1 by Laura Hollink (CWI, The Netherlands) (abstract)
12:00-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:10 Invited contribution 3 by Manuela Ruisi (Italian Senate)
Parliamentary proceedings in Italian Senate. Current management and perspectives (abstract, slides)
14:10-15:10 Presentations by participants (slides)
15:10-15:30 Questions, discussion on obstacles, gaps, requirements 2
15:30-15:50 Coffee break
15:50-16:40 Presentations by participants (slides)
16:40-17:00 Questions, discussion on obstacles, gaps, requirements 3
17:00-17:30 Exploration of possibilities for funding new projects (slides)

Day 3: Wednesday 29 March (half day)

09:00-11:00 Hands-on session 2 by Andreas Blätte (University of Duisburg) (abstract)
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-12:30 Workshop findings, agenda for the next steps

Focus Group
Before the start of the workshop a User Involvement Focus Group will be organized. The goal of the focus group is to gain insight into the familiarity of researchers from different backgrounds with the CLARIN infrastructure relevant for their work, the obstacles they face in using the infrastructure, their suggestions for further improvement as well as the support and training needed for greater accessability and usability of the infrastructure. The Focus Group will take place on Monday 27 March, 10:00 - 12:00. Everyone is welcome to take part but we need an appropriate number of participants in order to plan the activities in advance.


Sofia City Hotel
6 Stara Planina Str.