Analysing 600 years of music, drilling down into population databases, understanding social unrest through digitised newspapers – these are just some of the new lines of research that the winners of the second Digging into Data Challenge will now undertake.
Their research is part of an international competition that promotes innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis.
Funded by eight international research organisations from four countries – including Jisc, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the arts and humanities research council (AHRC) from the UK - the successful 14 teams are mixed groups of researchers from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States.
They will receive grants of over £3m in total to investigate how computational techniques typically applied to the sciences can also be applied to change humanities and social sciences research.
Alastair Dunning, digitisation programme manager at Jisc, said, "Digitised data offers researchers radically new
opportunities for understanding old questions and formulating new ones. The
range of projects demonstrate some of these opportunities."
The successful projects being led by UK organisations are:
- Cascades Islands or Streams? (Indiana, Wolverhampton and Montreal universities) will measure the impact of humanities and social science research on traditional scholarly sources but also across social networks, blogs and other informal modes of communication.
- ChartEx (Washington, Leiden, York, Toronto, Brighton and Columbia universities) will develop new ways of exploring medieval charters in their full text versions
- Digging into Connected Repositories (The European Library Office, Open university) will analyse the effects of open access publishing on research
- Digging by debating (universities of Indiana, East London, Dundee and London) will develop and implement a workbench called InterDebate, with the goal of digging into data provided by millions of expert books and articles
- Digging into Metadata (Universities of Drexel, Manchester and Glamorgan) will create new metadata tags to help researchers discover information across multiple repositories
- Electronic Locator of Vertical Interval Successions (ELVIS) (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, universities of Aberdeen, McGill and Yale) will study changes in Western musical style from 1300 to 1900, using the digitized collections of several large music repositories
- Imagery Lenses for Visualizing Text Corpora (Universities of Utah and Oxford) will explore whether data visualization can help researchers make new observations and generate new hypotheses about literature and linguistics
- Integrated Social History Environment for Research (ISHER)-Digging into Social Unrest (Manchester, Illinois and Tilburg universities and International Institute of Social History) will develop an integrated tool to help social history researchers use sophisticated text mining
- Integrating Data Mining and Data Management Technologies for Scholarly Inquiry (University of California, Berkeley; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of Liverpool; the Internet Archive and JSTOR) will integrate large-scale collections into a stored and managed preservation space
- Mining Microdata (Minnesota, Leicester, Guelph, Alberta, Montreal and Essex universities) will make use of make use of data-mining technology to exploit one of the largest population databases in the world originally digitized for genealogical research
- Trading Consequences (Universities of Edinburgh, York and St Andrews) will examine the economic and environmental consequences of commodity trading during the nineteenth century using information extraction techniques to study large corpora of digitized documents
Total programme funding is approximately £3,075,000