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FOSTERING INTERDISCIPLINARY INTEGRATION IN THE E-HUMANITIES

Complex multimodal bodies of data such as text production behavior data and combined speech and communicative action data represent a new frontier in humanities research, demanding novel approaches to the mathematical modeling, mining and quantification of these data. In the interdisciplinary project e-cosmos an integrated set of tools - the e-cosmos platform - is developed in a joint endeavor between computer scientists and linguists. This platform helps researchers to process new combinations of data, detect cross-modal clusters as well as hidden patterns in multimodal and time-displaced data streams, and undertake fine-grained (linguistic) investigations into these structures.

To face the challenges addressed in this project, an interdisciplinary cooperation which combines and integrates the diverse disciplinary competences of the different partners is required. In this process the cognitive distance and the differences in the mental models of the participants need to be bridged. Due to different cultures of the research fields certain paradigms and methods have evolved and meet in this project. While this interdisciplinary integration is necessary in every interdisciplinary endeavor, the e-cosmos project defines measures to foster this integration explicitly to support every partner in contributing their expertise to its outcome.

In this Scientific Cooperation Engineering (SCE) approach the partners are sensitized to their diversity as well as brought together - physically as well as virtually - to coordinate their efforts in a common space and integrate into the consortium. The needs for support within this integration process have to be captured in special requirements workshops, initiating at project start but continuing at regular intervals in order to nurture the interdisciplinary integration. The supporting means, once introduced, are continuously evaluated and adapted to the current requirements. Special emphasis is placed on an efficient communicative integration, since a common understanding of interdisciplinary terms is especially important to ensure a joint success in interdisciplinary cooperation.

To address this special emphasis, an approach to capture and visualize the distinct terminologies of the project partners is developed. This fosters awareness of these differences inside the consortium and supports an advanced understanding of differing definitions of common terms. Moreover, the project partners are aided in coping with terminologies in their daily work throughout the funding phase, e.g. by being pointed to possible sources of misunderstandings. The goal is not to create a common language but to cultivate a common understanding of terminologies, thereby also enhancing joint publications.