The Council on Library and Information Resources has been awarded a $28,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the potential use of declassified intelligence community tools in digital humanities research.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
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.