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CLIR Receives Grant to Explore Applications for Digital Humanities Research Derived from Intelligence Gathering Communities

subject: declassified tools
intelligence community
humanistic scholarship

CLIR Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2009

Amy Friedlander

CLIR Receives Grant to Explore Applications for Digital Humanities Research Derived from Intelligence Gathering Communities

Washington, DC—CLIR has received $28,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to investigate the possible relevance of declassified tools developed by the intelligence community to humanistic scholarship. The project builds on CLIR’s recent work in two areas:  identifying analytical tools that can be shared among investigators; and exploring the research potential of very large, heterogeneous digital collections.

The confluence of digital conversion activities and technological advances allows researchers in the humanities to examine questions that require scale and computational power. Intelligence-gathering agencies are a potentially excellent source for tools, resources, and methodologies that have direct bearing on and applicability to contemporary digital humanities research because of the similarity in the methodological challenges, namely, dealing with diverse source material at a scale that exceeds the capacity of humans.

Blogs, wikis, email, radio and television broadcasts, conference proceedings, folksonomies, and Web sites are just a few of the publicly accessible resources of potential interest to scholars. The analytical tools applied to these sources enable searching for patterns (linguistic and imagistic) against very large data sets, data mining, and semantic analysis, among other functions; in some instances they have already been used in the business community to navigate heterogeneous information.

The grant will support a literature search and evaluation of tool findability, a meeting to discuss how scholars might use such tools and how access to the tools could advance humanities scholarship, and publication of results.

“This award, and the research focus it will support, represents a new, vibrant, and potentially significant area of interest for CLIR, and one that may over time greatly benefit our constituency,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry.

CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good. Through publications, projects, and programs, CLIR works to maintain and improve access to information for generations to come. In partnership with other institutions, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of “library” and supports the providers and preservers of information. Information about CLIR and its work is available at

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