Call for Participants

Building LLTDM Logo (swirl of blocks going from green to yellow, beginning with a circle symbol and ending with a plus symbol)

Join us June 23-26, 2020 to gain the skills you need for navigating law, policy, ethics, and risk in digital humanities text and data mining projects. Apply to attend #BuildingLLTDM.

Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining (“Building LLTDM”) is an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, and has been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

What is the purpose of the Building LLTDM Institute?

Our project team wants to empower digital humanities researchers and professionals (librarians, consultants, and other institutional staff) to confidently navigate United States law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining projects — so that you can more easily engage in this type of research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Why is help needed?

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining in the U.S. have had to maneuver through a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. As an example, take a researcher scraping content about Egyptian artifacts from online sites or databases, or downloading videos about Egyptian tomb excavations, in order to conduct automated analysis about religion or philosophy. The researcher then shares these content-rich data sets with others to encourage research reproducibility or enable other researchers to query the data sets with new questions. This kind of work can raise issues of copyright, contract, and privacy law. Indeed, in a recent study of humanities scholars’ text analysis needs, participants noted that access to and use of copyright-protected texts was a “frequent obstacle” in their ability to select appropriate texts for mining. It can also raise concerns around ethics, for example, if there are plausible risks of exploitation of people, natural or cultural resources, or indigenous knowledge.

Potential legal hurdles do not just deter text data mining research: They also bias it toward particular topics and sources of data. In response to confusion over copyright, website terms of use, and other perceived legal roadblocks, some digital humanities researchers have gravitated to low-friction research questions and texts to avoid making decisions about rights-protected data. When researchers limit their research to such sources, it is inevitably skewed, leaving important questions unanswered, and rendering resulting findings less broadly applicable. A growing body of research also demonstrates how race, gender, and other biases found in openly available texts have contributed to and exacerbated bias in developing artificial intelligence tools. 

When & where is the Building LLTDM Institute?

Building LLTDM will be hosted on the UC Berkeley campus, in Berkeley, California, from June 23-26, 2020.

Who is eligible to participate?

The Institute supports 32 participants — 16 digital humanities researchers and 16 digital humanities professionals. Digital humanities professionals are people like librarians, consultants, and other institutional staff who conduct digital humanities text data mining or aid researchers in their text data mining research.

Due to various restrictions on funding and terms, participants must be based in the United States.

Where possible, we encourage participation from pairs of participants (e.g. one digital humanities researcher and one professional affiliated with that same institution, organization, or digital humanities project).

Who is teaching the Institute?

The Institute will be taught by a combination of experienced legal scholars, digital humanities professionals, librarians, faculty, and researchers — all of whom are immersed in the Institute’s subject literacies and workflows. For a list of instructors, please see our Project Team page.

What will the Institute cover?

You will learn how the following law and policy matters pertain to text data mining research:

  • Copyright
  • Contracts & licensing
  • Privacy
  • Ethics
  • Special use cases (e.g. international collaborations, etc.)
  • Risk management

The Institute will teach you foundational skills to:

  • Navigate law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining projects
  • Integrate workflows for these law and policy issues into your text data mining research and professional support
  • Practice sharing these new tools through authentic consultation exercises
  • Prototype plans for broadly disseminating your new knowledge
  • Develop communities of practice to promote cross-institutional outreach about the digital humanities text data mining legal landscape

How will the Institute be structured?

To help your build skills tailored for your own digital humanities research agendas, the Institute incorporates a design thinking structure reliant upon experiential methodologies. The program will model four stages in design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, and prototype. The “testing” phase of design thinking will occur post-institute when participants implement the knowledge and solutions they developed, and report back.

The institute also offers an ample instructor-to-attendee ratio to accommodate the highly immersive and discursive aspects of a design thinking approach. To that end, a librarian, legal expert, and researcher instructor will co-teach each session. To reinforce deliberations about ideas and practice, participants will have periodic opportunities to conduct free writing reflections on institute experiences. An Institute Moderator will support this by gathering and affirming observations to bolster learning outcomes.

How much does the Institute cost to attend?

Our aim is for participants to have zero out-of-pocket costs to attend the Institute. Please read more on our Stipends page.

How do I apply for the Institute?

Check out our Attend section! You will need to submit the following two documents by e-mail to no later than 5 p.m., PST on December 20, 2019:

  • Current CV
  • 2 page (maximum) letter of interest addressing: your experience with or interest in the intersection of text data mining in digital humanities research and the law; your goals for applying knowledge and skills to be acquired at the Institute to your own activities; your goals for sharing knowledge and skills with others at your home institutions/affiliations; and, how you might support the Institute’s commitment to diversity and equity.

If you are applying with a colleague from your institution (e.g. researcher/librarian pairs), please indicate the name of your colleague in your Letter of Interest. You must each submit separate applications, however.

What’s the timeline for application and notification of acceptance?

  • October 2019: Call for applications
  • December 20, 2019: Applications due
  • January 2020: Application review
  • February 2020: Selection notifications

What if I have more questions?

Please check out the Building LLTDM website, or contact

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