CLARIN’s main purpose is to build research tools for the enhanced access to large collections of source texts, spoken language records and multimedia resources, and for their automated analysis. CLARIN also allows users to store written and spoken sources, and share them in a Europe-wide scientific network infrastructure. CLARIN supplies tools which make it possible to search for resources, describe them with meta-data, and access them securely under licenses specified by their authors.
CLARIN network services are available, on open-source licenses, to scientists from the member countries of the CLARIN ERIC consortium. The services especially target researchers in the humanities and social sciences, and all those who work with written documents and records of speech in any European language. CLARIN will give them universal tools for natural language processing, and an open, public archive of language resources and source material.
Network user applications based on the CLARIN infrastructure are now being developed. They enable enhanced automatic analysis of the structure of text and speech archives, and – to some degree – of the meaning of natural language documents and recordings.
The construction of CLARIN ERIC was initiated in 2005 by those who noted the obstacles in the widespread use in scientific research of the achievements of natural language engineering.
The consistency of language technologies. The dynamic growth of language technology has resulted in many standards and data formats. It is necessary to achieve interoperability of programs and resources, so they can be easily used and flexibly combined.
Technical and conceptual availability. Some researchers in language technology inhabit a closed world with a specialist terminology, and even information technology experts may find it hard to install certain language processing tools. Thanks to CLARIN, there will be no need for specialised knowledge and no trouble with installation.
Level of support for individual European languages. The privileged position of English means that much text processing is only done of English data. In order to make it possible to apply language technology to other European languages, it is necessary to expand the available technology at least to the level of basic usability.
The CLARIN initiative enjoys a broad support in the scientific community: over 100 European research institutions have already joined the network. That is why there is a good chance to remove these obstacles and to develop the necessary standards.