September 24, 2019

This is the first blog post from the team at CLARIN-IS. We have had a relaxing summer but a very busy and productive autumn. We are in the process of building a CLARIN Centre and have already applied for recognition as a C Centre, with the aim of becoming a B Centre in the near future. Samúel, our technician, has been delving into all the details of the CLARIN technical infrastructure since he started his work in CLARIN-IS in April. It is a tremendous task to catch up with countries which have been members of CLARIN for several years building up knowledge and skills step by step, but we hope to have gained a solid ground by the end of the year.

In June, the Icelandic Parliament (Alþingi) passed a new law on research infrastructures which enables Iceland to apply for full membership in CLARIN ERIC. The National Coordinator has written to the Ministry suggesting that an application for full membership be submitted.

On September 4, a contract was signed between Almannarómur, a self-owned organization which has been commissioned to implement the five-year Language Technology Project Plan which the Government has decided to fund, and the SÍM Consortium which consists of nine members – three academic institutions, the State Broadcasting Service, the Association of the Visually Impaired, and four private IT companies. According to this contract, the SÍM Consortium will carry out the research and development work necessary for this project. Within the project, a great number of resources and tools will be developed, which will be described according to standards adopted within CLARIN and will be stored and distributed by the CLARIN-IS Centre which is explicitly mentioned in the contract.

The CLARIN Annual Conference takes place in Leipzig, Germany, on September 30 – October 2. No less than seven people from Iceland will attend the conference – three from the Icelandic National Consortium, three authors of regular papers which will either present their papers orally or as posters, and a PhD-student who will take part in the student posters slam.

To celebrate the start of the Language Technology Project Plan, and to raise awareness of the importance and potentials of Language Technology among the industry and the general public, a workshop will be held in Reykjavík on October 16, organized by Almannarómur, the University of Iceland, and CLARIN-IS. The President of Iceland and the Rector of the University of Iceland will address the workshop, the CLARIN National Coordinator will give an introductory talk, a number of people from IT companies and academia will give short talks, and the workshop will close with a panel discussion where both the Minister of Education, Science and Culture and the Minister of Industries and Innovation will take part, among others. An international Expert Panel led by Steven Krauwer will also participate in the workshop.

Our next tasks will be to strengthen the cooperation between members of the National Consortium and promote CLARIN within the research community.