Digital Humanities


The activities of the research unit “Digital Humanities” are mainly focused on the development and implementation of techniques for semantic analysis of texts and their application to inter-disciplinary projects, in collaboration with social and political scientists, history scholars, education and cultural heritage institutions. Another topic of interest is the study of language complexity, both in diachronic and synchronic perspective, and its impact on automated text simplification.

Contributions to Smart Cities and Communities

The unit contributes to the activities of the Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) impact area in several ways: it adapts and extends semantic and simplification technologies to the public administration domain, for example by targeting the extraction and modelling of domain-specific information. Furthermore, the research unit is involved in several collaborations and training initiatives with schools and education institutions, which are important stakeholders in SCC activities. The Digital Humanities group is also active in monitoring social media content related to hate speech, migration and cyberbullying, which are all topics related to the SCC research area called “City sensing”.

Contributions to Artificial Intelligence

The unit contributes to advancing research in artificial intelligence in several ways. For example, it analyses how the strategies behind agreement and disagreement in the political domain and on social media can be automatically understood, combining supervised classification and argumentation mining techniques. The research group also develops text simplification systems using both supervised and unsupervised techniques and taking advantage of recent efforts in embedding-based text representations.

Other research directions

Some activities and projects led by the research unit deal with the digitization and management of archives in the cultural heritage and the history domain. The group has an extended knowledge of the frameworks and data formats for digital editions, as well as experience in implementing tools for the transcription and annotation of archives.

Key projects and results

  • SIMPATICO (H2020) – In this European project, led by FBK, the DH group is in charge of the development of a text profiling and adaptation system for Italian, in close collaboration with the Trento Municipality. The group has worked at the annotation of data and the implementation of software to understand what dimensions of a text are hardly readable for different user profiles, and how to simplify them accordingly.
  • CREEP (EIT Digital) – In this project, funded under the EIT-Digital framework, the group is in charge of monitoring cyberbullying phenomena on social media and devise strategies to counter them. The activities are carried out in collaboration with local schools, where also training and co-design sessions are conducted.
  • EPISTOLARIO DE GASPERI (MiBACT/CaRiTRo) – In this National project, supported by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the activities led by the Digital Humanities unit deal with the digitization, transcription and automated analysis of Alcide De Gasperi’s correspondence, currently kept in different archives worldwide.

Head of Unit