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CD - 5/11/2014

Inria supports the development of digital Humanities through DARIAH

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

With its official status as an ERIC, DARIAH aims to use digital sciences in the interests of the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). The consortium’s Director is Laurent Romary, an Inria Research Director. The consortium will be inaugurated on 17 November at the French Ministry for Research.

Over the summer, the European Commission established the DARIAH consortium (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities), dedicated to Digital Humanities.

The establishment of this ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) is a major step for DARIAH and will give increased visibility to research in the Social Sciences and Humanities in the long term, given that the ERIC has been set up for a (renewable) term of 20 years.

A trans-European project

The consortium has come into being as a result of sustained commitment to an initiative launched back in 2006 by the CNRS in liaison with the Max Planck Society (Germany), the Arts and Humanities Data Service (Great Britain) and the Data Archiving and Networked Services (the Netherlands) aiming to deploy Digital Humanities within the framework of the ESFRI Roadmap (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures).

DARIAH is the second consortium to be set up for Digital Humanities, following CLARIN, which is dedicated to linguistics resources and technologies. It is also one of Europe's largest consortiums, with 15 founding members: Austria, Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, France (the host nation), Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Serbia and Slovenia. Ivan Tasovac, the pianist and conductor and currently Serbia's Minister for Culture and Information, is an enthusiastic supporter of the initiative.

The directors

The three Directors who sit on the DARIAH Board of Directors were appointed at the first meeting of the General Assembly held on 5 September:

  • Laurent Romary (France), Research Director at Inria Saclay-Ile-de-France, and former Head of the Max Planck Society's Digital Library. He has been elected Chairman of the DARIAH Board of Directors;
  • Tobias Blanke (Germany), with a PhD in Philosophy and Digital Sciences, Professor at King’s College London, specialising in Media Studies;
  • Conny Kristel (Netherlands), an historian specialising in the Second World War and Project Director of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI).


DARIAH's objective is to bring together, within a "connected network of skills", the digital building blocks of expertise in the Arts and Humanities in order to help structure research within scientific communities (linguistics, philologists, historians, etc.), in particular through:

  • the development and management of digital source material
  • analysis and data visualisation tools
  • formats, standards and related good practices

For researchers in the member states, DARIAH will form a platform for sharing and collaborating with a view to informing, submitting and sustaining technologies, as well as networking between experts across Europe. It will thus play a part in influencing the priorities set under national and European funding programmes.

As an example, Laurent Romary cites the CENDARI project, launched when DARIAH was still an infrastructure project supported by the European Commission: “The idea is to provide researchers with access to all the archives across Europe to enable them to search for information on a specific place or a specific period, in this case the First World War, or on the movements of an historical figure. " Other research using DARIAH focuses on the 3D rendering of archaeological objects and the transcription of Mediaeval manuscripts.

Keywords: ERIC SSH Europe Horizon 2020 Digital Humanities