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Text and Grid: Research Questions for the Humanities, Sciences and Industry


Textual resources play a pivotal role not only in research, but also in business. In 2003 alone, 300 Terabytes of textual data were produced, without counting more dynamic texts like blogs, wikis, websites, etc. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are all working on creating gigantic digital libraries for textual resources that would both be more accessible and comprehensible than any other digital library in history. Project partners in "Cultural Heritage Language Technologies" like the Perseus Project promote the use of modern computational and storage techniques to integrate tools and data for research on and with texts in different formats. In the UK, the AHRC E-Science Scoping Study expert seminars in textual studies, linguistics and history have discussed the potential of Virtual Organisation and Grid technologies for humanist textual analysis.

Innovations in Grids and other e-Science technologies can help researchers deal with the new requirements stemming not only from the growing size and number of digital corpora, but also from the specific characteristics of digital text editing. Rationalisation and improvement of the editing workflow, and mass text throughput abilities lead to new research opportunities. For the first time, it seems feasible to effectively support researchers building editions encompassing text, images, and deep level annotations in XML, e.g. in the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) format. With e-Science tools and methods for computation and storage, many of the repetitive tasks associated with text editing can be at least semi-automated. Citation indices can be built as well as authority lists of people, places, dictionary entries and organizations. Data Grid technologies make it relatively easy to create new virtual corpora out of existing textual resources. However, the new technologies also engender new challenges. The protocols for publishing research need to be adjusted; peer review and validation of scholarship need to be re-evaluated.

The workshop is targeted at people working on research or business applications meeting the challenges of unstructured resources such as texts for research and business computing. Details on the submission process can be found on the All Hands website (www.allhands.org.uk). Submissions are subject to a peer review process and will be published in the conference proceedings. Informal enquiries about the mini-workshop can be directed to Dr. Tobias Blanke (tobias.blanke@kcl.ac.uk) or Dr. Stuart Dunn (stuart.dunn@kcl.ac.uk).


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