Data Management Profiling
The ERC project AnonymClassic, led by Prof. Beatrice Gründler at the Freie Universität Berlin, has served as a kind of pilot program for sustainable data management practices within the broader Berlin research community. In simplified terms, the objective of AnonymClassic has been to assemble a large corpus of digitized manuscripts (mostly in Arabic) of the massively changing textual tradition of Kalīla and Dimna; and to develop a bespoke software platform for analyzing those manuscripts and creating textual editions based on them. There are, it should go without saying, many challenges associated with such a project—one of which is data management. How should a digital library of manuscripts be maintained, in order that researchers affiliated with the project can easily work with the materials—including being able to access them remotely—while also respecting licensing agreements with institutions that hold copyright over some of the images? How can it be ensured, from both a technical and a policy standpoint, that the corpus built by AnonymClassic will continue to exist and to be accessible (at least under certain conditions) after the main period of funding of the project? As complicated as these questions are, again, the digital manuscript collection is just one part of the work of AnonymClassic. There are similar challenges—in some ways even more difficult—relating to the software that has been developed within the project for the analysis and editing of Kalīla and Dimna text versions. The source code repositories, and the applications generated from them, will need ongoing hosting and at least a bit of maintenance in the years to come.
Partly on the basis of her work leading this ERC Advanced Grant project and the Leibniz-Prize project “Arabic Literature Cosmopolitan” (ALC) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), Beatrice Gründler has been renewed as a member of the Excellence Council of the Freie Universität Berlin, and she has been appointed to the Steering Committee of Objective 3, "Research Quality and Value," within the Berlin University Alliance (The BUA is a consortium of Berlin's leading academic institutions: Freie Universität Berlin; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Technische Universität Berlin; and Charité-Universitätsmedizin). Additionally, Prof. Gründler was awarded a two-year grant, hosted at the Institute of Arabic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, to lay the groundwork for sustainable data management practices for projects that work with textual materials in non-Latin scripts (NLS), which are characterized by the heterogeneity of their digital data. The project aims at the development and coordination of subject-specific infrastructures in the field of digital humanities and research data management for the group of research-intensive regional science and humanities subjects within the BUA. These efforts are helped by the fact that the Institute of Arabic Studies currently hosts two ERC projects—one with a premodern focus, the other contemporary—both of which work in close cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin Library. The priority is to ensure a stable digital future for Arabic-related research data, beyond the period of ERC Grant funding.