December 3 – 8 , 2006, Dagstuhl Seminar 06491

Digital Historical Corpora - Architecture, Annotation, and Retrieval


Lou Burnard (University of Oxford, GB)
Milena Dobreva (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BG)
Norbert Fuhr (Universität Duisburg-Essen, DE)
Anke Lüdeling (HU Berlin, DE)

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Press Release

"Digitalisierung von historischen Texten" 27.11.06 (German only)


The seminar brought together scholars from (historical) linguistics, (historical) philology, computational linguistics and computer science who work with collections of historical texts. These texts or digital libraries or corpora1 are collected for a number of different purposes such as lexicography, history, linguistics, philology etc. This, naturally, leads to different decisions in their design and architecture.

The purpose of this seminar was twofold: First we wanted to inform each other about the decisions each of us had taken in building a historical corpus and discuss the options. Second, we wanted to build an international network of people working with historical corpora and explore the options for further partnerships or projects. We think that both goals were reached.

The seminar was very interesting and stimulating. In the final discussion of the workshop, a ‘grand picture’ of the research issues in the area of digital historic corpora was developed (see Figure 1). Here the arcs represent enabling/supporting methods. As can be seen from this picture, the major goal is the research on large historical corpora, which requires work on the areas pointing to it directly or indirectly. A researcher’s workbench should support personalization, collaboration as well as problem solving. It must be complemented by tools for the annotation and the analysis of corpora, as well as providing functions for visualization, browsing and retrieval (especially for spelling variants). These methods should first be applied to and tested on small corpora, before they can be used for large corpora. In this context, evaluation also plays a major role. For large corpora (stored in digital libraries), the choice of an appropriate architecture is a crucial issue.

Another issue that was of interest to all participants is quality control and standardization.


  • Interdisciplinary (Computer Science
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Literacy
  • Bioinformatics) Own Categories: Corpus Architecture
  • Processing And Representing Multilingual And Multimodal Parallel Text Corpora
  • Annotation Standards
  • Retrieval Facilities In Multilevel Hypertext


  • Corpus architecture
  • Annotation standards
  • Multilingual
  • Multimodal corpora
  • Fuzzy search
  • Multilevel hypertext


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