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Short Project Description

CLARIN-NL aims to design, construct, validate, and exploit a research infrastructure that is needed to provide a sustainable and persistent eScience working environment for researchers in the Humanities, and Linguistics in particular, who want to make use of language resources and the technology to use these resources for their research. This infrastructure will provide these researchers with a wide variety of resources and services, intelligent access methods for exploring the resources and innovative ways of combining different resources into virtual collections, so that information hidden in unstructured textual and multimedia documents can be disclosed. Inter-operability of independently developed resources and services will be key for a properly functioning infrastructure. The infrastructure will be easy to use for non-technical researchers. Targeted dissemination activities, educational programmes and training sessions will enable a whole generation of researchers and students to acquaint themselves with this new research methodology and the potential for groundbreaking research it offers, creating an advanced scientific environment in the Netherlands that will attract top-researchers and students from abroad.

CLARIN-NL forms the Netherlands national counterpart of the CLARIN enterprise on the European level (CLARIN-EU). It therefore resembles and complements the preparatory project that is currently being executed on the European level (CLARIN-prep). Many of the activities and sub-projects within CLARIN-NL implement activities in the Netherlands that in the programme of work for CLARIN-prep are envisaged to take place in every participating country and that will be funded through the national contributions to CLARIN. Such activities include (1) the design and implementation of the infrastructure technology; (2) application projects in which technology providers and the intended users integrate local repositories and set up local services for prototypical test installations as initial demonstrators, enabling evidence-based contributions to the discussion on standards and best practices for inter-operability, and to contribute to the  survey of requirements for the infrastructure technology; (3) the preparation of an essential data collection and service set for the locally relevant languages (ideally on the basis of existing tools and data) that allows for testing and validation of proposed standards, services and tools in the experimental prototype; and (4) the integration of advanced infrastructure services.

Since it is not possible to assign all these tasks to participants right from the start, CLARIN-NL has been set up as a mixture between a programme and a project.

CLARIN-NL, however, also contains a range of activities that aim to further strengthen the leading position the Netherlands currently has in CLARIN-EU (both the principal coordinator and the technical coordinator for infrastructure technology are based in the Netherlands). It has a separate line of activities aimed to position the Netherlands prominently in CLARIN-EU also beyond CLARIN-prep, and to extend its leading position further by initiating, in an early stage, projects with selected international partners to develop, in a multilingual setting, showcase demonstrators of the infrastructure and the services it offers, as well as by setting up at least two centres of expertise.

The CLARIN-NL proposal covers a period of 6 years, partitioned in three phases of two years: the preparation phase, the construction phase, and the first two years of the exploitation phase. Though the infrastructure is primarily aimed at language and humanities researchers, it offers various opportunities for usage in other domains and by other users, both for commercial applications as well as for important developments in society.