“Digital humanities” — the study of society, history, linguistics, and culture through digitized data — has become a recognized sub-section of humanities in general. Many modern-era groups have worked hard to advance this field, providing stunning research or resources. Google, already an established provider of resources in the field, is also helping to sponsor research in 2010.
As announced on the Google Research Blog, Google is providing research grants for twelve additional projects over the next year. This is the second set of projects that Google is sponsoring, and this time the focus is on European universities. The twelve projects sponsored earlier this year were exclusively to North American universities.
Each project awarded with sponsorship will receive funding for one year, with the possibility to renew the grant for one additional year. Additionally, researchers will be able to work directly with Google experts on the digital information aspect of the projects, and will receive exclusive access to Google datasets, tools, and technologies.
Much of the information for digital humanities comes from Google’s digital library, a resource that has digitized about one-tenth of all the books currently known of across the globe. Associated tools for this library allow for easier quantification of data and viewing of trends. The dataset of the library was released for free to researchers across the globe earlier in December.
While the exact amount of funds distributed for each project wasn’t specified, Google did state that they had “committed nearly a million dollars to support digital humanities research over the next two years.” It’s certainly a field the company feels strongly about. Jon Orwant, the Google Books Engineering Manager, wrote, “We’re eager to see what results [projects like these] yield and what broader impact their success will have on the humanities.”