DISCOVERY - Digital Semantic Corpora for Virtual Research in Philosophy (2006-2009)

DISCOVERY will unite a large collection of philosophy texts with emerging web-based technologies to create a sophisticated, integrated, and scholar-friendly research infrastructure. With the arrival of Web 2.0 and 3.0 already on the horizon, the Web is increasingly hospitable to philosophy. Socrates was, after all, a social networker par excellence and a proto-blogger, constantly exchanging ideas in a public venue. And the ontologies and semantic structuring that promise to revolutionize Web architecture in the near future can trace their lineage back to Aristotle. The affinities run deep. And yet the full potential of these technologies for philosophical research has not yet been explored. This is the task of DISCOVERY.

The project has a duplex structure which combines the stability and integrity of a digital library with the freedom and energy of an open, collaborative forum. And it employs emerging semantic Web technology to optimize access, structure, and integration:

  • Philosource, a federation of websites that together constitute an extensive digital library and publishing venue. It will contain reliable scholarly editions of key philosophical texts from the Presocratics through Nietzsche to Wittgenstein plus a wealth of other material including peer-reviewed essays, commentaries, books reviews, video lectures, and specially made “video monographs” by leading thinkers such as H. G. Gadamer, Gilles Deleuze, Gianni Vattimo, and many others.
  • Philospace, a desktop peer-to-peer semantic Web application that will harness the power of collective intelligence to organize, enrich, and augment the source material. It is a communal workspace in which scholars can freely engage with primary sources, making notes and annotations, adding metadata, developing ontologies, and sharing their work with other scholars on the network.
DISCOVERY is co-financed by the European Commission under the eContentplus programme and was launched in November 2006. An organizational infrastructure will be established to sustain the project after the end of the EU founding period by attracting other organizations to join and support the initiative. For this reason, workshop and training courses will be organized during the course of the project to involve not only project partners, but the scholarly community in general and various stakeholders.

WAB creates for DISCOVERY Wittgenstein Source and Wittgenstein Space.

  • Full title: DISCOVERY - Digital Semantic Corpora for Virtual Research in Philosophy
  • Proposal: 24.11.2005. Proposal participants: CNRS - Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, DEIT - Department of Electronics, Artificial Intelligence and Telecommunications at the Polytechnic University of Marche, ILIESI - Lessico Intellettuale Europeo e Storia delle Idee, Net7 - Internet Open Solutions, RaiNet, WAB - Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen. Coordinator of proposal: Paolo D'Iorio, CNRS, Paris
  • Approval date (signature of contract): 13.11.2006
  • Funding institution: European Commission: Information Society and Media Directorate-General: eContentplus, Luxembourg
  • Budget: euro 2 912 289; EU grant: euro 2 000 000
  • Contract no.: ECP 2005 CULT 038206
  • Type of project: R&D
  • Duration: 36 months from 1.11.2006
  • Coordinator: Paolo D'Iorio, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris
  • Project site: http://www.discovery-project.eu/ [archived August 2015]


  • Project participants:
  • CNRS - Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Paris (coordinator: Paolo D'Iorio)
  • DEIT - Department of Electronics, Artificial Intelligence and Telecommunications at the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona (coordinator: Christian Morbidoni)
  • ILIESI - Lessico Intellettuale Europeo e Storia delle Idee, Rome (coordinator: Antonio Lamarra)
  • Net7 - Internet Open Solutions, Pisa (coordinator: Michele Barbera)
  • RaiNet, Rome (coordinator: Espedito Longo)
  • WAB - Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen, Bergen (coordinator: Alois Pichler)


  • Norwegian participation:
  • WAB - Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (Alois Pichler, T.M. Bruvik, Øystein Reigem, Eldbjørg Gunnarson, Sindre Sørensen, H.W. Krüger, Deirdre Smith, PhD fellow Christian Erbacher, Daniel Apollon, Claus Huitfeldt, K.S. Johannessen, a.o.; participation coordinated by Alois Pichler)
  • Budget for WAB participation: euro 773 704; EU grant: euro 437 981


  • For project members only:
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Last change: 2008.02.04 by tmb