Exploring austrias culture through the language glass

This project aims to reveal unique insights into the rich texture of the German Language, especially in Austria, by providing state of the art tools for exploring the unique collection (1911-1998) of the Bavarian Dialects in the region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This corpus is large and rich, estimated to contain 200,000 headwords in estimated 4 Million records. The collection includes a five-volume dictionary of about 50,000 headwords, covering a period from the beginning of German language until the present (DBÖ, WBÖ).

In order to create enduring value from this resource, the project will apply open science and citizen science techniques to improve access and to leverage the crowd’s wisdom. The engagement of users with the system will be the subject for mind-brain studies, and the results and records will be enriched and interlinked using the best practices of semantic content publishing of Linked Open Data on the Web of Data. The key tasks are to:

1. Explore Austrian culture within a Pan-European and international setting, concerning both concepts of rural life of the multicultural Habsburg Empire, as well as supplementing historical and sociological inquiry with an understanding of the role and implementation of Lexicography over time.
2. Discover challenges and chances of a transformation process from a traditional lexicography project to an open cultural knowledge base and the role of lexicographic knowledge, especially with respect to automatic and semi-automatic techniques for publishing the results as five-star linked data.
3. Invite researchers, professionals, academics and amateurs, to participate, share and grow in the framework of up to date collaborative lexicography.
4. Create an open multilingual infrastructure for all to explore the world described by the corpus as documented in languages.
5. Reflect best practice for publishing multi-lingual linked open data, connecting the lexical, temporal, geographical and historical features of the corpus with the global and European knowledge web.

We are an interdisciplinary, international team of researchers from Ireland (Trinity College Dublin, ADAPT Centre; Alexander O´Connor), Spain (Universidad the Salamanca, Departamento de Informática y Automatica; Roberto Theron) and Austria (Zentrum für Soziale Innovation; Barbara Kieslinger), coordinated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Eveline Wandl-Vogt), looking forward to reaching our goals via the following key steps:

1. Create a web-based collaborative, multilingual infrastructure for archiving, editing, publishing and analysing non-standard data (historical, dialectal), it´s lexicographic output and it´s knowledge resources for scientific as well as amateur purposes.
2. Create links between different lexicographic data sets to foster exchange and interoperability at international level.
3. Engage the larger public in exploring and contributing to lexicographic data in a playful and educational approach (e.g. gamification).
4. Challenge further research for innovative ways to explore the data by means of highly interactive visual tools aimed leveraging insights to improve the understanding of the German language.
5. Connect to other initiatives across the globe, e.g. DARIAH.EU, COST ENeL, EUROPEANA, LIDER, W3C Ontology Lexica Community Group, SOCIENTIZE, European School of Social Innovation (ESSI), opendataportal.at, Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), European childrens universities network (EUCU) and WIKIMEDIA.AT.

This project is innovative both from technical and humanities perspectives: there is a key interest in creating effective, reusable, domain-tuned IT infrastructure for hosting historical-lexical content. The platform will include an environment for inquiry of the database and, importantly, the connected and linked knowledge from European and Global infrastructures. This will facilitate scholarly and amateur inquiry from both shallow browsing to deep research from around the world. From a humanities perspective, the insight into how users interact with this content, and what riches they can discover in the corpus will likely greatly advance knowledge of the evolution of German and human language in general.

Eveline Wandl-Vogt (eveline.wandl-vogt@oeaw.ac.at)