Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovina Memories “Unveiling personal memories on war and detention” - New trends in eHumanities

1. Alesia Zuccala, University of Amsterdam (UvA) and 2. Peter van der Maas, Erasmus University Rotterdam


June 7, 2012

1. Alesia Zuccala, University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Book reviews as ‘mega-citations’: a fresh look at citation theory.
We review the history of citation theory to show how the book review fits the role of ‘megacitation’ due to its formal, public presence within the scholarly communication system.  The purpose of a book review is to alert readers to a newly published book and to cite different parts of the book in the assessment of its scholarly credibility-quality.  A book review rarely receives citations from other documents, but as a content-rich ‘mega-citation’ it has potential to join the ‘citation proper’ in the development of a composite indicator for evaluating the impact of a book.  Thomson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge (WoK) is currently in a strong position to compile data necessary for this composite indicator.  While the selection of books for the new Book Citation Index (BCI) is still underway, work needs to be done to ascertain the ‘language’ of reviewing across different fields.  Then, if database links between books, book reviews, journal articles and publishers become more accurate, bibliometricians may consider applying the ‘mega-citation’ to large-scale research evaluations.

Alesia Zuccala is a graduate (PhD) of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Information Studies.  Previously she has held research appointments with the Science System Assessment Unit of the Rathenau Institute in Den Haag, and the Center for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.  She is now a research fellow with the Faculty of Humanities/Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam.  Dr. Zuccala’s work focuses primarily on scholarly communication and citation patterns in academic research and her current interest is to develop new approaches in the evaluation of research outputs in the humanities. She has contributed both quantitative and qualitative-oriented research to a variety of international journals including Scientometrics, Information Research, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology.

2. Peter van der Maas, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovina Memories “Unveiling personal memories on war and detention”

The oral history projects are managed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Twente in a consortium together with local partners; in Zagreb, Croatia, Center for Dealing with the past and in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina, with CIN, Center for Investigative Journalism and the HRC, Human Right Center of the University of Sarajevo.
The projects Unveiling Personal Memoirs on War and Detention is an initiative to create a collection of video-recorded testimonies on a wide range of war experiences in Croatia and BiH and proposes the use of oral history as a method to collect and open up individual memories on past traumatic events from a wide range of perspectives, including those of minorities, victims, women, war veterans… It is our contention that revealing and disseminating the variety of perspectives on how war affects an individual will contribute to a better understanding of what the circumstances are that can lead to the collapse of civil society. The project aims to combine the method of collecting personal memories, with innovative ICT tools in order to make these sources accessible and searchable through the Internet for a wide range of audiences.
The purpose is to record a set of 500 interviews and narratives on personal experiences on various wars and political violence in the period between 1941 and 1995 in Croatia; in Bosnia we will record 85 interviews. The interviews will be transcribed, elaborated, translated and indexed, and an appropriate subset of the material will be stored on an open internet platform with direct access possibilities, enabling the editing, publication and streaming of interviews with advanced search options in the Croatian, Bosnian and English language. A separate research platform is build; here the full unedited interviews are available for research purposes.
Our intention is to affirm personal memories of all interested witnesses of historical events in Croatia and BiH to preserve them from oblivion. We believe that, through recording and transferring of subjective experiences of people, it is possible to gain deeper insights into seemingly hidden aspects of political turmoil and war conflicts which had happened in these areas. Our aim is to support and strengthen personal and social processes of dealing with the past, which we find as a necessary pre-condition for building sustainable peace and stability in the society.
The CroMe and BiHMe projects are funded by the Matra fund of the Netherlands ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Peter van der Maas studied new- and theoretical history and international relations and law at the University of Amsterdam. He followed the training course Foreign Relations (Leergang Buitenlandse Betrekkingen) at Clingendael (The Hague) and also studied Computer Science and Knowledge Management at the University of Amsterdam. He took ICT courses at the University of Bergen (Norway), London (Kings College) and studied Information, Document and Records Management (IDRM) at the Koenen Baak & ICT Academy in Voorburg. Peter van der Maas was a research assistant and ICT project manager for 25 years at the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) in Amsterdam. He has worked as project manager and project consultant in the former Yugoslavia. Since 2010 Peter van der Maas is, as a staff member of the Erasmus Studio of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, general project manager of CroMe and since 2011 of BiHMe.

(Presentation slides)