2014Q3 Reports: SIGHUM

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The ACL Special Interest Group on Language Technologies for the Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities (SIGHUM) is intended to provide a forum for CL researchers who are developing language technology for data from the socio-economic sciences or the humanities (SSH). It also functions as a contact point for SSH stakeholders. ACL SIGHUM stands officially since June 2012.

Organisation & Elections

The first SIGHUM elections took place in October 2013. The voting was anonymous and the process was organised by Caroline Sporleder and Andrei Beliankou (University of Trier). The following elected board officers are serving until October 2015:

* President: Antal van den Bosch (Radboud University Nijmegen)

* Secretary: Kalliopi Zervanou (Radboud University Nijmegen)

* Liaison officer: Marieke van Erp (VU University Amsterdam)

The next election process will begin in September 2015.


SIGHUM is open to all interested parties and does not charge any membership fees. Members should be however active in CL and SSH research and applications, as indicated by their affiliation and publications. Membership involves registration and participation in the mailing list & the elections. The membership roster is maintained by the Secretary and is updated online at SIGHUM Members List. Membership currently stands at 110. An overview of membership counts for the years of the SIGHUM standing is given below:

  • 2012: 70
  • 2013: 85
  • 2014: 110

Activities overview

  • LaTeCH 2014: The LaTeCH workshop series is the main annual event endorsed by SIGHUM and the venue for the SIGHUM annual research and business meeting. It aims to provide a forum for researchers who are working on language technology research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Cultural Heritage domains. LaTeCH 2014 was collocated with EACL 2014 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was co-chaired by Kalliopi Zervanou and Cristina Vertan (University of Hamburg), with co-organisers Caroline Sporleder and Antal van den Bosch. The workshop was attended by approx. 30 participants. The program included 17 papers and the acceptance rate was 68%. Apart for the recurring themes of linguistic variability in historical text, OCR error correction and annotation tools and resource development, LaTeCH 2014 had contributions about applications in social sciences and resource development for non-European languages and cultural heritage, such as the Tagalog language and the Wayang Indonesian shadow puppet mythology. For LaTeCH 2014 we have focused on Linked Data as a special theme and we had Gerhard Heyer as invited speaker for this topic. CLARIN-D sponsored a part of the traveling costs for our invited speaker.
  • ACRH-3 workshop: The Third Workshop on Annotation of Corpora for Research in the Humanities (12th December 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria, in conjunction with TLT12). The ARCH workshop aims at building a tighter collaboration between people working in various areas of the Humanities (such as literature, philology, history etc.) and the research community involved in developing, using and making annotated corpora accessible. It was organised by Francesco Mambrini, (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut), Marco Passarotti (Universitа Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) and Caroline Sporleder (University of Trier).
  • SIGHUM online presence: The SIGHUM website and mailing list were setup and activated in September 2013.

Planned activities

  • SIGHUM website: Improvements on the website content and appearance. Members are encouraged in content contribution regarding relevant research, tools, resources, use cases and projects.
  • SIGHUM endorsed workshops: For 2014-15, we plan to organise our annual LaTeCH workshop, preferably co-located with an ACL event. A potential venue could be the ACL-IJCNLP in Beijing so as to address our members request for a workshop organised in Asia. We would also wish to expand our liaison with Asian SSH researchers and stakeholders that are currently relatively underrepresented in our group. Moreover, we would like to be more actively involved in the Digital Humanities community, possibly by organising a SIGHUM endorsed event collocated with the DH conference.
  • SIGHUM volunteers: We plan to encourage our members to participate more actively in the SIG organisation. For this purpose, we seek volunteers to undertake mainly liaison activities with related communities, such as CLARIN, DH, etc.