CLARIN – What’s in it for us?

Originally posted at on September 17, 2015 by Martin Wynne. IT Services at the University of Oxford has decided to delete a large number of historical blogs, and this is one of a number of posts related to the Oxford Text Archive which are being re-published here, after being laboriously retrieved from the archive provided by the Wayback Machine.

Now that the UK has joined the CLARIN European Infrastructure Consortium, it time to consider the actual and potential benefits for UK researchers. See also CLARIN for Beginners and UK joins the CLARIN family for more background.

Exploring online language resources

The CLARIN Virtual Language Observatory offers a single point to search for thousands of language resources held in hundreds of repositories around the world. The CLARIN Federated Content Search allows researchers to search for patterns in these resources, for example cross-searching multiple corpora held in different repositories with a single query, such as searching for occurrences of a word or phrase.

Access to protected resources via single sign-on

While CLARIN aims for open access where possible, in many cases, for a variety of good reasons, users need to log in and obtain authorization to access certain online resources. For this to work for you in the CLARIN domain, you need to have a Shibboleth identifier and password supplied by your parent institution, which needs to be registered as an identity provider with the UK Access Management Federation, and to have opted in to eduGAIN. Usually, this just means using your usual institutional single sign-on credentials. You can see some of the resources which are available this way on the web page Easy access to protected resources. As well being used for negotiating authentication and authorization to access data and tools, having a persistent and reliable identifier enables services to recognize you and this allows you to save settings, datasets, workflows, etc., enabling an enhanced user experience.

Single sign-on access to your resources

As well as all researchers in the UK having access to protected resources in all of the CLARIN repositories via eduGAIN and the CLARIN Federation, you can use these mechanisms to control user access to your online resources. To do this you need to register as a shibboleth service provider with the UK Access Management Federation, and then to make some configuration changes on your web server to allow authentication via eduGAIN. The Oxford Text Archive is currently going through this process, and I’ll report back in a future blog with more information on how to do this.

Attending events

Certain CLARIN events are only open to, or offer preferential access to, persons working in CLARIN member countries, so now we are eligible to attend these. In occasional cases, but by no means all, funding is available to facilitate attendance (see for example this workshop) last year, and this forthcoming ‘Creative Camp’. More events to follow soon!

Eligibility to access services.

Certain CLARIN services (e.g. the legal helpdesk) are only available to  persons working in CLARIN member countries. As the number of advice centres increases in the ‘knowledge-sharing infrastructure’, this is likely to become a more significant benefit.

Mobility grants

Researchers in CLARIN countries are eligible for small CLARIN mobility grants to facilitate short visits between centres in different countries, to carry out CLARIN-related work. There is a call open now for proposals for mobility grants.

Other benefits for CLARIN-UK consortium members

  • Visibility in the Virtual Language Observatory for online resources and repositories
  • Publicity and dissemination via, email lists and newsflashes
  • Funding to attend CLARIN workshops, conferences and events in the CLARIN-PLUS Horizon2020
  • Opportunities to host events
  • Participation in future Horizon2020 projects.

This last point is likely to be of particular importance. Participation can take place if your institution joins a project consortium, which is similar to how it worked in FP7, or via a new mechanism which allows individuals to work on H2020 projects on secondment to CLARIN ERIC. Such secondments usually include payment of full direct costs plus an overhead, although the arrangements in particular funding schemes and projects may vary.

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