Introducing the Literary and Linguistic Data Service

A new repository is under construction in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford. This repository will build on the collections, experience, expertise and connections of the Oxford Text Archive, but will also be part of a new initiative to build an innovative and effective national and international research infrastructure.

Why a new name?

The Oxford Text has existed since 1976 and is almost certainly the oldest repository of digital resources in the Humanities in continuing existence. As current repository director, I have been working with the OTA for the past twenty years, and Head of the OTA since 2003. The OTA has good brand recognitiion, and an international reputation. So why change? There are good reasons for a fresh brand-name.

More than Oxford

The service will continue to accept deposits from outside of Oxford, as the OTA has done for all of its history, but with a new mission as a national service for all of the UK, and as a national node in the CLARIN European Research Infrastructure. So let's make it clear that it's not just for Oxford, it's for everyone.

More than text

As a national service for the deposit of digital literary and linguistic resources, the repository will have to deal with more than text. Increasingly, we expect to see audio, video and multimodal resources created by research projects and others. We need to increase our expertise and capacity to deal with these resources, and to make it clear that we are not just about text, although we expect textual resources to remain a key part of the collections.

More than an archive

The Data Service will do more than archive resources. It will be a living repository, engaging with users and resource creators, looking for innovative ways to support the re-use and sharing of resoures, while continuing to take seriously the security, sustainability and long-term preservation of data. While the OTA has typically taken and preserved resources in the form in which they were deposited, LLDS will seek to improve the ongoing usefulness of resources through improvements to metadata, formats, annotation in order to improve interoperability and sustainability, and will connect data to APIs allowing users to choose tools for the analysis and exploration of datasets.

Continuity and change

The new LLDS repository will offer all of the functionality of the current website at, and more. The Oxford Text Archive collections will continue to be made available via the Literary and Linguistic Data Service (LLDS). Resource creators wishing to deposit their datasets should get in touch with LLDS. The LLDS will take over as the official CLARIN repository for the UK, with a plan to move towards certification as a CLARIN-B Centre.