University of Helsinki


The University of Helsinki (legal name “Helsingin yliopisto”) was established in 1640 and is the largest and most versatile university in Finland. It has eleven faculties, ca. 36,000 students and 8,600 employees. The University of Helsinki is a member of more than half of all national and Nordic centres of excellence in research.

The University of Helsinki is represented by three different research groups: computer science (UH-CS), digital humanities (UH-DH) and the National Library of Finland (UH-NLF), legally part of the university.

The Department of Computer Science (UH-CS), within the Faculty of Science, is the leading institute of computer science research and education in Finland, ranked #1 in all of Scandinavia (Times Higher Education 2017). The department participates in several national centers of excellence in research and has been a national center of excellence in higher education.

The focus of Prof. Toivonen’s Discovery research group is in developing novel methods and tools for data and text mining and computational creativity. The group’s methodological backbone consists of algorithms for discovering links and patterns in data, especially textual data. In computational creativity research, they capitalize on the data mining background by investigating the use discovered patterns in creative systems, especially for linguistic creativity. A common characteristic for the methods developed in Toivonen’s group is, both for text analysis and generation, that they aim to be language-agnostic and thus are easily applicable to different languages.

This profile is a strong match to the text analysis and generation needs of the NewsEye project. Specifically, results and experience from text analysis methods will be used in NewsEye WP3 (Semantic text enrichment) and WP4 (Dynamic text analysis) to analyse historical newspaper contents, while results and experience from computational creativity and text generation methods will be used to build the intelligent Personal Research Assistant (WP5) that produces reports in natural language.

The Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (UH-DH) at the University of Helsinki is a Finnish research network and infrastructure for solving research problems in humanities and social sciences with novel computational methods, and for studying digitalization as a phenomenon. Initiated as a major strategic profiling initiative, the goal is to form an ecosystem that fosters collaboration between academic research groups, memory organizations, companies, and the general public. UH-DH specializes in reengineering existing tools for Digital Humanities application and metadata enhancement, having a strong track record of innovative student-focused training events including hackathons. UH-DH operates in close relationship with language technology and computer science and has a strong background in natural language processing, machine learning, information retrieval, and data analytics using large text corpora.

Prof. Mikko Tolonen leads a digital history research group in UH-DH working on Large-scale data integration to analyse public discourse and knowledge production in Europe, 1470-1920. The objective of this long-term project is to offer a new understanding of the development of public discourse and knowledge production in different parts of early modern Europe. Increased availability of large-scale data collections of printed materials from the hand-print era (1470–1830) calls for an integrated study of public discourse and knowledge production that combines metadata from library catalogues as well as full-text libraries of books, newspapers and periodicals. Thus the group has begun already to organize text and data mining efforts and historical analysis into a gradually advancing open collaborative project.

This group provides an ideal partner for collaboration between WP6 and other work packages in the NewsEye project because a comprehensive study of transformations of public discourse from several different perspectives, such as printing history, political history and intellectual history, is greatly facilitated by large-scale integrative analysis of complementary data sources.

The National Library of Finland (UH-NLF) is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland as well as one of the largest independent institutes at the University of Helsinki. It is responsible for the collection, description, preservation and accessibility of Finland’s printed national heritage and the unique collections under its care. The National Library also serves as a national service and development center for the library sector and promotes national and international cooperation in the field.

The Centre for Preservation and Digitisation of the NLF is the participating partner in this project. It has been Project Coordinator and Work Package Leader in several national and international projects and is a member of the IMPACT Centre for Competence and EROMM. The experts of the Centre are members of the METS and ALTO Editorial Boards and several IFLA Sections.