Marc Parry, Google Starts Grant Program for Studies of Its Digitized Books, Chronicle of Higher Education (Mar. 31, 2010):
The company is creating a “collaborative research program to explore the digital humanities using the Google Books corpus,” according to a call for proposals obtained by The Chronicle. Some of Google’s academic partners say the grant program marks the company’s first formal foray into supporting humanities text-mining research.
The call went out to a select group of scholars, offering up to $50,000 for one year. Google says it may choose to renew the grants for a second year. It is not clear whether anybody can apply for the money, or just the group that got the solicitation. …
Literature is one of eight “disciplines of interest” that Google has identified for its program. The others are linguistics, history, classics, philosophy, sociology, archaeology, and anthropology.
The effort seems largely focused on building tools to comb and improve Google’s digital library, whose book-search metadata—dates and other search-assisting information—one academic researcher calls a “train wreck.” These are some of the sample projects that Google lists in its call for proposals:
- Building software for tracking changes in language over time.
- Creating utilities to discover books and passages f interest to a particular discipline.
- Developing systems for crowd-sourced corrections to book data and metadata.
- The testing of a literary or historical hypothesis through innovative analysis of a book.