Talk of Europe – Travelling CLARIN Campus

In October we will be participating in a one week creative camp, organised by the Talk of Europe – Travelling CLARIN Campus project (ToE-TCC). Funded by Dutch agencies NWO and OCW, the project follows up on the PoliMedia project, which linked entities in Dutch parliamentary records to corresponding media sources archived by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

The CVCE was successful with two proposals submitted to ToE-TC, both focused on exploring social graphs.

  1. Visualising Co-occurrence networks of the plenary debates of the European Parliament
  2. Exploring the potential of multimodal graphs for modelling European Plenary Debates

We are excited to participate in travelling campus, as we are looking forward to finding new ways of structuring parliamentary data. We look forward to exploring how we can use such tools, techniques and data structures to shape future developments of the CVCE research infrastructure and develop new ways of exploring our collections.

There are three aims for the one week event, scheduled for 6-10 October 2014:

First Aim: “To translate the proceedings of the European Parliament debates (europarl) to CLARIN standards. In other words, the europarl data is curated to linked data so that it can be linked to and reused by other datasets and services. An interesting aspect of this dataset is that its available in 21 languages, enabling to link to other datasets in as many different languages. (…)

Second Aim: To research how this linked data can be exploited for use by humanities scholars. The combination of linked datasets with the base available in 21 languages should allow research questions not yet feasible. As such, interlingual comparative research through digital tools becomes possible. In comparison, where PoliMedia focused on how Dutch debates were covered in the Dutch media, the europarl data could be analysed to compare how European Parliament debates are covered in Dutch versus Polish media. Political scientists could analyse how subjects from EP debates relate to subjects in debates of national parliaments. In order to build tools helpful, we will investigate user requirements and possible research questions from humanities scholars. This second aim will be undertaken by Max Kemman, Martijn Kleppe and Henri Beunders from the History department of EUR.

Third Aim: To spark a transnational, European collaboration to create tools for scholars to analyse linked datasets. To this end, three meetings of a week will be organised in which teams from all CLARIN countries are invited to participate. Think hackathon, but a week long and with a European focus.”

The European parliamentary debates have been processed and are now available in RDF format. RDF, commonly associated with the buzz-word “Linked data“, “is based upon the idea of making statements about resources (in particular web resources) in the form of subject–predicate–object expressions. These expressions are known as triples in RDF terminology” (Wikipedia article on RDF). RDF is highly flexible and allows users to formulate very precise queries on their datasets.

A simple social network graph

The first proposal, in cooperation with Dr Fintan McGee of our neighbouring research centre CRP Lippmann, will explore the extent to which multimodal network analysis can be fruitfully applied to the study of the parliamentary debates. Where one-mode network visualisations can only represent one type of actor in a network (e.g. people), multimodal networks are capable of representing multiple types of actors, e.g. people, institutions, texts and places. This approach bears the potential to represent more closely the complexities of real-world networks.

An example of a geographic social network
(source: Nodegoat).

The second proposal was submitted with Lab1100, a Dutch company which develops Nodegoat. Nodegoat offers its users with simple yet powerful instruments to create relational databases online and visualise their data in form of maps and network graphs. Lab1100 will develop a way to link ToE-TCC data directly to Nodegoat using the formers SPARQL endpoint. This will ensure very quick and highly flexible data import and visualisations of the data.

CVCE researcher Marten Düring and Frédéric Allemand, Coordinator of the European Integration Studies Department at CVCE will participate in the project.