Data Infrastructure and Digital Humanities: Digital Practices in the Humanities
Team INF conducts its own research and accompanies the SFB’s projects’ research in two fields: data infrastructure and digital humanities (DH).
Digitalisation is an ongoing process of cultural change which, above all, affects the way humanities scholars approach their work. Digital Humanities (DH) is a growing field within existing disciplines; it addresses both the application of digital methods for research in the humanities, and tackles questions regarding the influence of digital practices on research practices within the various humanities disciplines.
We continue to work on central service tasks in infrastructure development and data management for the SFB and on ensuring the sustainable provision and long-term availability of data generated throughout the SFB by accompanying standard-compliant data documentation. At the same time, INF is advancing methodology and the development of digital humanities procedures in the SFB’s sub-projects.
To this end, we are currently developing two platforms: 1) service platform nopaque and 2) data publication platform DKAN.
Both ensure quality-conscious handling of data generated and utilised in the SFB – nopaque ensures a workflow for processing digital text material, from scanning to OCR and NLP to corpus analysis, whereas the publication platform DKAN makes available the results of computer-aided research in suitable formats such as datasets and data stories. Both environments are continuously adapted and further developed to the specific requirements of the subprojects.
We shall also be investigating what added value digital practices may hold for the humanities. This is achieved by establishing working groups across the subprojects dedicated both to the development of methods and to self-criticism on the part of the participating disciplines and the transformation of their practices in the digital age. Here, the focus is on text mining and machine learning as methodologies in historically oriented humanities, annotation and data modelling as practices of hypothesis generation, digital visualisation and comparison practices as challenges in the humanities.
The nopaque web application features coordinated digital methods. The range of functions comprises, among other things, data editing tools in optical character recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP) as well as comprehensive corpus analysis software.
nopaque provides the option to use all tools individually or as a workflow. All steps are coordinated such that individual services may be applied sequentially. The platform supports researchers in converting their files into formats to be further processed, before automatically enriching them with information and analysis. Thus, nopaque maps a large part of the research processes in the humanities. With this toolbox, we address humanities researchers from all disciplines and levels of knowledge. The data generated during the processes may be downloaded after each step, namely, for evaluation or further processing with other (external) tools.