In 2004, with the support of three private partners and the media, the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium) launched a project called "Faites don de vos SMS à la science". This first corpus, restricted to the French-speaking part of Belgium, enabled them to define a methodology for gathering SMS messages and to establish protocols for their analysis (anonymisation, transcription, annotation). The private partners (Proximus, Ogilvy and NEWAy) managed the technical aspects of the data collecting while the media helped create a buzz around this event in order to reach a larger part of the general public.
The media coverage exceeded our expectations, which proves both the media's and the public's interest in this subject. This project now includes about a dozen universities as partners. The Université de Montréal, in collaboration with the Université d'Ottawa and Simon Fraser University, is responsible for the Canadian branch of this research known as texto4science.