The mission of ACE is to support researchers engaged in investigating what can be characterised as atypical communication. Atypical communication is an umbrella term used here to denote language use by second language learners, people with language disorders or those suffering from language disabilities, but also more broadly by bilinguals and users of sign languages. It involves multiple modalities (text, speech, sign, gesture) and encompasses different developmental stages.
The target audience for ACE includes:
- computer scientists
- speech and language therapists
- education specialists
Data originating in a context of atypical communication are particularly sensitive as regards privacy and ethical issues. While collecting, storing, processing and using such data researchers are bound by strict rules and procedural requirements imposed by ethical committees and the GDPR.
At all stages appropriate measures must be in place so as to prevent unwanted disclosure. In some cases, this requires that the original data remain stored in a dark archive and cannot be copied or distributed in any form. ACE can advise resource owners and users on how they can preserve sensitive data in a safe manner, from the point where the raw data come into existence up to the moment where the data and information obtained from it are shared with others.
Atypical communication data are also special when it comes to the methods and tools for processing and using the data. Often guidelines and tools that have been developed and are used for standard data cannot be used or require adaptations or special settings; in some other cases dedicated tools are available. ACE is well-positioned to inform researchers who want to work with language development data, data of adults and children with speech disorders, or users of sign language on the availability of such tools and guidelines. ACE can advise on what is feasible and how to go about it.
Within Radboud University the Knowledge Centre has CLST as its core but it has close links to researchers and research groups within the Centre for Language Studies with ample expertise in the fields of language acquisition, language learning and therapy, and sign language.
Within CLARIN, CLST has the status of C Centre and Trust Centre and as such provides metadata to the infrastructure and enables access to tools and web applications through the Federated Identity services that CLARIN offers. For hosting data and corpora for atypical communication and making these accessible in a FAIR manner, CLST has established a close collaboration with The Language Archive (TLA). TLA is situated at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI) in Nijmegen. As a CLARIN B Centre the goal of TLA is to provide a unique record of how people around the world use language in everyday life. They focus on collecting spoken and signed language materials in audio and video form along with transcriptions, analyses, annotations and other types of relevant material such as photos and accompanying notes. TLA offers storage of sensitive data (speech, audio and transcripts) and supports the CMDI metadata framework. TLA also supports strong authentication procedures, layered access to data, and persistent identification.