Research Meetings

Academic Year: 2012-2013

4 July – 12 September – Summer Break

27 June   14.00 – 17.00 !

Computational Humanities Programme- Annual Symposium
During this final, extended meeting of the academic year, the four Computational Humanities projects will bring us up-to-date with their progress over the past year. For each project, there will be a short summary and then one or two current problems will be presented. After the four presentations, we will break into smaller groups to brainstorm possible solutions. All of the PhDs and postdocs working on the projects will be involved in the presentations.

The four projects are:

–          Elite Network Shifts during Regime Change: A computational approach to network analysis using Indonesian newspaper archive.

–          CEDAR: Dutch census data in a web of global cultural and historic information.

–          The Riddle of Literary Quality

–          Tunes & Tales: Modeling Oral Transmission

Conference posters and recent publications will also be on display.

Note that the meeting will start at the earlier time of 14.00h.  The presentations and discussion will finish at 17.00h, and will be followed by drinks.

20 June

Matthijs Dröes, Meertens Institute

! With apologies to non Dutch speakers: this workshop will be held in Dutch !

Workshop: interface design voor geesteswetenschappelijk onderzoek

Thema van de workshop: Zoeken voor onderzoek in grote hoeveelheden digitale informatie (big data)

Kernvragen waarop in de workshop een antwoord getracht wordt te vinden, zijn:

– Welke werkwijzen hebben verschillende geesteswetenschappers als het gaat om het inzetten van een digitale collectie voor onderzoek.

– Waarop wil je/een geesteswetenschapper/onderzoeker zoeken in gedigitaliseerde teksten/publicaties

– Wat kan men zoeken

– Wat wil men eruit halen

Het thema is te groot om geheel te omvatten, daarom wordt er gewerkt rondom relevante voorbeelden die in de workshop als casus dienen. Het kan zijn dat deze voorbeelden in de workshop bepaald worden.

Aangezien in delen van de workshop brainstormtechnieken worden toepast, wordt de workshop in het NL gehouden.

Graag inschrijven bij voor 18 juni.

(Presentation slides)


Matthijs Droes is mei j.l. bij het Meertens Instituut gestart als interactie ontwerper. Hij is daar op dit moment betrokken bij het Nederlab project. Zijn intresse in het ontwerpen van human computer interfaces richt zich op het gebruik (user centered design) en beleving, de mogelijkheden van techniek en de doelstelling van het product. Hij studeerde industrieel product ontwikkeling aan de TU Delft. De laatste jaren werkte hij voor een aantal grote automatiseringsprojecten bij De Belastingdienst, USG people, de Digitale Werkplek Rijksoverheid en Samsung. De nadruk lag daarbij op het ontwerpen van complexe taakgerichte interfaces met een hoog transactioneel gehalte. Zijn interesse voor dit soort complexe ontwerpvraagstukken vindt bij het Meertens Instituut vervolg.

13 June

No meeting due to Nijmegen e-Humanities conference

6 June

Dr. Emilia Gómez, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Towards Computer-Assisted Transcription and Description of Music Recordings

Automatic transcription, i.e. computing a symbolic musical representation from a music recording, is one of the main research challenges in the field of sound and music computing. For monophonic music material the obtained transcription is a single musical line, usually a melody, and in polyphonic there is an interest in transcribing the predominant melodic line. In addition to transcribing, current technologies are able to extract other musical descriptions related to tonality, rhythm or instrumentation from music recordings. Automatic description could potentially complement traditional methodologies for music analysis.In this talk I will first present the state-of-the art on automatic transcription and description of music audio signals. I will illustrate it with our own research on tonality estimation, melodic transcription and rhythmic characterization. I will show that, although current research is promising, current algorithms are still limited in accuracy and there is a semantic gap between automatic feature extractors and expert analyses.

Finally, I will present some strategies to address these challenges by developing methods adapted to different repertoire and defining strategies to integrate expert knowledge into computational models, as a way to build systems following a “computer-assisted” paradigm.


Dr. Emilia Gómez is postdoc researcher and assistant professor at the Music Technology Group (MTG), ICT Department in Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), and graduated as a Telecommunication Engineer specialised in Signal Processing at Universidad de Sevilla. In July 2006, Emilia completed her PhD in Computer Science and Digital Communication at the UPF, on the topic of Tonal Description of Music Audio Signals. Her main research interests are related to melodic and tonal description of music audio signals, computer-assisted music analysis and computational ethnomusicology.

30 May

No meeting due to CH workshop at NIAS

23 May

Seda Guerses, Catholic University Leuven

Exploring boundary work among computer scientists in the search for “privacy research paradigms”

Since the end of the 60s, computer scientists have engaged in research on privacy and information systems. Over the years, this research has led to a whole palette of “privacy solutions”. These solutions originate from diverse sub-fields of computer science, e.g., security engineering, databases, software engineering, HCI, and artificial intelligence. From a bird’s eye view, all of these researchers are studying privacy. However, a closer look reveals that each community of researchers relies on different, sometimes even conflicting, definitions of privacy, and on a variety of social and technical assumptions. These researchers do have a tradition of assessing the (implicit) definitions and assumptions that underlie the studies in their respective sub-disciplines However, a systematic evaluation of privacy research practice across the different computer science communities is so far absent.

During my talk, I hope to contribute to closing this research gap by presenting the preliminary results of an empirical study of privacy research in computer science. These initial results are based on 8 of the 30 interviews I conducted with privacy researchers from the USA. The focus of the study is on the different notions of privacy that these US based privacy researchers employ, as well as on the dominant worldviews that inform their practice. I use grounded theory to analyze the interviews in order to identify what the researchers demarcate as their topic of research in privacy. I then study how that boundary work affects what counts as “worthwhile problems”, “acceptable scientific evidence” and “potential privacy solutions”. Based on these preliminary analyses, I explore whether some of these demarcations may be useful in identifying different `privacy research paradigms’ in computer science.

As this is work in progress, I also hope that the presentation will attract your comments and insights on both the content and the methodology of the study.

(Presentation slides)


Seda Gürses is a post-doctoral researcher at COSIC (Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography), in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the KU Leuven and currently a visiting researcher at the e-Humanities group collaborating with Prof. Sally Wyatt on her study of privacy research paradigms in computer science. Seda received her Master degree in Computer Science at the Humboldt University Berlin (Germany), and her PhD at the Department of Computer Science at the KU Leuven. Her research interests are topics at the crossing of privacy technologies, surveillance studies and requirements engineering. She is currently also the coordinator of the project SPION (Security and Privacy in Online Social Networks [1]), funded by the Agency for Innovation in Science and Technology (IWT). The objective of the project is to explore interdisciplinary approaches to addressing privacy and security issues in online social networks while being aware of processes of user responsibilization.


16 May

Junte Zhang and Erik Tjong Kim Sang, Meertens Institute

Technical aspects of Nederlab, such as searching and vizualisation

The goal of Nederlab is to provide a laboratory for research on the patterns of change in the Dutch language and culture to scholars in the humanities and to enable them to find answers to new, longitudinal research questions. For this purpose Nederlab aims at setting up a user-friendly tool-enriched web interface, allowing researchers to simultaneously search and analyse the digital historical texts made available by scientific libraries and institutions, at text and metadata level. See

(Presentation slides)


Erik Tjong Kim Sang is a computational linguist working at the Meertens Institute. He obtained a PhD from the University of Groningen in 1998 and has since then worked at the universities of Uppsala, Antwerp, Tilburg and Amsterdam, and at the Netherlands eScience Center. In the Nederlab project he is adapting tools for automatic linguistic analysis to historical texts.

Junte Zhang works on search technology at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. In 2011 he obtained a PhD from the University of Amsterdam with the thesis System Evaluation of Archival Description and Access.

9 May

Ascension day – No meeting

2 May

No meeting due to Workshop VU University

25 April

Ashley Burgoyne, University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Fishing for Hooks: An Empirical Approach to Understanding Long-Term Musical Salience

What makes music ‘catchy’? Most of us feel that we know the ‘hook’ in a piece of music when we hear it – but most of us are equally at loss to explain exactly why. This talk will introduce an ongoing study of musical catchiness from the perspective of music cognition. It will begin with an an introduction to some musicological theories of musical catchiness, most of which have never been tested empirically. It will go on to describe the design of a novel experiment that will test some of these theories: a name-that-tune game for iOS and Android devices that we hope will generate the largest database available to date for studying this question. The game is currently being piloted, and after a brief discussion of how to analyse data from such an experiment and some preliminary results from the pilot, members of the audience will be invited to try the game themselves.

(Presentation slides)


John Ashley Burgoyne is a postdoctoral researcher in the Music Cognition Group at the University of Amsterdam and a guest researcher in Research and Development at the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision. In 2012, he received his doctorate from McGill University with a thesis entitled ‘Stochastic Processes and Database-Driven Musicology’. He now works on the NWO-CATCH project ‘Cognition-Guided Interoperability Between Collections of Musical Heritage (COGITCH)’, a collaboration among the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision, and the Meertens Institute. He also recently developed a new course at the University of Amsterdam introducing quantitative methodologies to master’s students in musicology. Trained in musicology and in machine learning, Ashley is especially interested in ‘musicometrics’: trying to find statistical models that are conceptually sound and musicologically interpretable as music enters the digital humanities era. In his spare time – and when he is not in Dutch class! – Ashley is often looking for choirs who are looking for tenors.

18 April

1. Max Kemman, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Laura Hollink, VU University Amsterdam

Building the PoliMedia search system; data- and user-drive

Analysing media coverage across several types of media-outlets is a challenging task for (media) historians. A specific example of media coverage research investigates the coverage of political debates and how the representation of topics and people change over time. The PoliMedia project ( aims to showcase the potential of cross-media analysis for research in the humanities, by 1) curating automatically detected semantic links between four data sets of different media types, and 2) developing a demonstrator application that allows researchers to deploy such an interlinked collection for quantitative and qualitative analysis of media coverage of debates in the Dutch parliament.

These two goals reflect the two perspectives on the development of a search system such as PoliMedia; data- and user-driven. In this presentation, Laura Hollink (VU) will present the data-driven perspective of linking between different datasets and the research questions that arise in achieving this linkage: how to combine different types of datasets and what kind of research questions are made possible by the data? Max Kemman (EUR) will present the user-driven perspective: which benefits can scholars have from linking of these datasets? What are the user requirements for the PoliMedia search system and how was the system evaluated with scholars in an eye tracking study?

(Presentation slides)


Max Kemman is a junior researcher at Erasmus University Rotterdam, affiliated with the Erasmus Studio, specialised in the use of academic digital search systems. His main interests are the use of these systems and how they can be improved to enhance scholarly practices. His research mainly focusses on user requirements and evaluation of usability of prototypes developed. He conducts this research within research projects developing search systems for several types of datasets; audiovisual archives (AXES, FP7,, Oral History collections (Oral History Today, CLARIAH) and political debates with media coverage (PoliMedia, CLARIN).

Laura Hollink is assistant professor in the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning group of VU University Amsterdam. Since 2003 she has worked in a series of interdisciplinary projects on modeling, linking and enrichment of data, together with political and communication scientists, historians, cultural heritage and health professionals. In the PoliMedia project, her focus is on modeling political data, and linking this to media archives as well as publicly available Linked Open Data sources on the Web. Laura is part of the Ontology Alignment Evaluation Initiative, a major community effor for systematic evaluation of approaches to link datasets together, and is organiser of the USEWOD workshop series on the analysis of usage patterns in Linked Open Data. Currently, Laura is work package leader in the European FP7 project EURECA with a focus on integration of clinical care and clinical research data.

2. Maciej Eder, Pedagogical University in Kraków, eHg visiting fellow

Authorship attribution and beyond: techniques of assessing the literary style

In literary stylometry, which assesses literary texts using statistical methods, it is still a mystery why multidimensional analyses of word distributions are such an accurate a tool for authorship attribution: why a comparison of normalized frequencies of words from the top frequency range in a collection of texts is enough to group together these texts by individual authors. However, while the authorial signal is usually by far the strongest, skewing of varying degree has been observed towards signals of authorial gender, genre, sentiment, or chronology. These “interfering” signals — usually considered as unwanted noise — are very valuable from literary perspective, though. Discovering the mechanisms and the underlying patterns, or, in other words, finding and separating the other-than-authorial signals in stylometric images of literary texts, might provide an insight into hidden regularities of literary creation usually ignored or untraceable by traditional methods of stylistic analysis.

The presentation will discuss some of the tools and techniques used in stylometric authorship attribution, with special attention paid to the question whether the methodology suitable for attribution can be generalized into other issues of computational stylistics, such as gender differentiation or genre recognition. From a purely literary perspective, it will be also interesting to present some case studies assessing various text collections: a corpus of Ancient Latin classical prose texts, a collection of 19th-century English fiction, etc.

(Presentation slides)


Maciej Eder, Visiting Fellow of the eHumanities Group from April until July 2013, is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Polish Studies at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland, and at the Institute of Polish Language at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland. At the latter institution, he works as a lexicographer co-editing the Old-Polish Dictionary (i.e., a complete dictionary of Polish medieval language up to 1500). At the University, he teaches courses in early Polish literature, scholarly editing, and, occasionally, in computational stylistics.

Eder is interested in European literature of the Renaissance and the Baroque, classical heritage in early modern literature, and scholarly editing (his most recent book is a critical bilingual edition of Andreas Volanus’ Latin treatise De libertate politica…, 1572, and its old-Polish translation: O wolności rzeczypospolitej…, 1606). A couple of years ago while doing research on anonymous ancient texts, Eder discovered the fascinating world of computer-based stylometry and non-traditional authorship attribution. His work is now focused on a thorough re-examination of current attribution methods and applying them to non-English languages, e.g. Latin and Ancient Greek.

11 April

No meeting due to EINS conference Brussels

4 April

No research meeting due to Spring school Nijmgen

28 March

1. Menzo Windhouwer, The Language Archive

Collaboratively Defining Widely Accepted Linguistic Data Categories in the ISOcat Data Category Registry

As is natural for a large and divers community as linguistics the semantics of the used data categories, terminology and concept systems are constantly in flux and often heavily debated. However, for correct future interpretation and semantic interoperability of, especially archived, language resources stable semantic descriptions of data categories are needed. In this talk I will present the collaborative efforts of ISO Technical Committee 37, Terminology and other language and content resources, and the European CLARIN infrastructure for language resources to create a stable core of widely accepted linguistic data categories in the ISOcat Data Category Registry ( CLARIN’s Component Metadata Infrastructure will be used to highlight the possibilities created by the use of ISOcat data categories, as well as the problems encountered.

(Presentation slides)


Menzo Windhouwer is a computer scientist and currently Head Knowledge Software at The Language Archive (; a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Society, the Berlin-Brandenburg-Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), where he works on semantic interoperability through the development of ISOcat and its companion registries. As a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam he developed the Typological Database System, which involved integration of data and semantics of databases on linguistic typology. His PhD research on the management of multimedia feature extraction using grammar systems was conducted at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science.

2. Eric Deibel, L’Institut francilien recherche, innovation et société” (IFRIS) en Centre d’Economie de l’Université Paris Nord (CEPN)

Open genetic code: informatic practices and the commodification of life

[ details to follow]

21 March

No meeting due to UvA-VU- KNAW- Seminar at NIAS

14 March

Willem Robert van Hage and Rinke Hoekstra, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Tutorial on Analyzing and Visualizing Linked Data with R 2013

The openly available R package SPARQL allows to directly connect to Linked Data and use the SPARQL querying language for selecting interesting part of data for analysis. Thus it enables to meet massive and rich data sets with the analytical power of the R language and environment.

This approach and tools contribute to Linked Science and Open Science movements to support the transparency of science and to conduct transdisciplinary research.

In this tutorial we will introduce the idea and concepts about Linked Science, and show via illustrative examples about how to practically query and analyze Linked Data from within R environment for visual and statistical analysis. Tutorial materials will be published online.

Teachers of the tutorial are

– Dr. Willem Robert van Hage (SynerScope B.V. / VU University Amsterdam)

– Dr. Rinke Hoekstra (VU University Amsterdam)


Willem Robert van Hage (PhD TNO / VU University Amsterdam, 2009) is lead data scientist at SynerScope B.V. and guest researcher at the VU University Amsterdam in the field of Information Integration on the Web. His main research topics in the past years are event modeling, geospatio-temporal semantics, ontology alignment, and ontology learning. He is principal investigator in the US ONRG funded COMBINE project on automating Web detective work, is work package leader in the EU FP7 project NewsReader on story line detection in news archives, and participates in the Dutch BSIK COMMIT Metis project on on automating Web detective work to do background checks on ships for maritime situational awareness. He is a co-organizer of the Detection, Representation, and Exploitation of Events in the Semantic Web workshop (DeRiVE 2011, 2012) and since 2006 he has been a co-organizer of the Ontology Alignment Evaluation Initiative (OAEI), a collaborative benchmarking effort for the evaluation of ontology alignment techniques. Together with Tomi Kauppinen and Rinke Hoekstra he organizes the Tutorial series on Linked Science (TOLSCI/LODR) about improving the speed, efficiency and transparency of Web research. He has led the development of the Simple Event Model (SEM), an ontology for the description of events. In the past years he has worked on the combination of Semantic Web reasoning (RDF(S), OWL) and geospatio-temporal reasoning, developing a spatiotemporal indexing package for the popular SWI-Prolog programming language, which has led to a best paper award at the EKAW 2010 conference, and Semantic Web packages for SPARQL querying and RDF storage for the R statistical programming language.

Rinke Hoekstra is researcher at the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Group of VU University Amsterdam, and at the Leibniz Center for Law of the University of Amsterdam. His research concentrates on the application of web-based knowledge representation technology to research data and publications, government and legal information. He is the project leader of Data2Semantics, a collaboration with DANS, Elsevier and both universities of Amsterdam. Data2Semantics explores essential tools and infrastructure for enabling Linked Science. Rinke Hoekstra recently published all Dutch legislation as Linked Data, developed a Linked Data version of the AERS dataset of the FDA. He am the main author of the LKIF Core ontology of basic legal concepts, and one of the initial developers of the MetaLex XML format for legal sources. He was a member of the OWL Working Group that developed OWL 2.

7 March

Wido van Peursen,  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Data and Debora:  New Avenues in the  Computational Analysis of the Old Testament

How can the rapid developments in Digital Humanities be made fruitful to the study of texts from Antiquity? How can a linguistic database be used in philological, literary and historical studies? How can new approaches (cf. Rens Bod’s “Humanities 2.0”) be combined with the results of a longstanding honourable tradition of scholarly investigation?

This presentation will address these questions from the perspective of Biblical Studies. Since the 1970s the Faculty of Theology of VU University Amsterdam hosts the Werkgroep Informatica Vrije Universiteit (WIVU). Under the direction of Professor Eep Talstra, the WIVU has been involved in the creation of an extremely rich database of the Hebrew Bible, containing linguistic encodings at morpheme, word, phrase, clause, sentence and  text levels.  Now that the database is almost completed, its potential becomes more and more visible. But the directions to take are not self-evident: how to proceed from linguistic structure to text structure, from the language system to literary design? And how can new methods of digital text comparison, author recognition or visualization be applied? What are the specific challenges when dealing with a corpus with a long and complex history of composition and transmission?

(Presentation slides)

Per 1 September 2012 Wido van Peursen has been appointed Professor of Old Testament at VU University as successor of Eep Talstra. In that function he has also become the director of the WIVU.

28 February

No Research meeting due to  SURF Research and Innovation Event at Haagse Hogeschool

21 February


14 February

Almila Akdag Salah, Samir Passi, Andrea Scharnhorst & Sally Wyatt (eHumanities Group)

Introducing the EU Network of Excellence about Internet Science: What does it mean for e-Humanities?

The EU Network of Excellence in InterNet Science (EINS) is funded under the Seventh Framework Programme. It aims to develop a network of researchers and professionals to analyze internet systems from a multidisciplinary perspective. The presentations on 14 February will not only showcase the early results of two working groups (JRA1 and JRA5) but will also provide insight into what EINS implies for digital humanities

JRA1 is concerned with the development of a multidisciplinary scientific approach to understanding internet networks from a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives such as mathematics, physics, sociology, information science, information visualization, and performance analysis. For JRA1, Andrea Scharnhorst will give a talk about the nature of the publishing and citation network that exists within the EINS community, drawing on work she did together with Almila Akdag Salah.

JRA5 is concerned with online identity, privacy, reputation, and trust mechanisms. Through a multidisciplinary perspective, JRA5 explores issues of privacy and trust on online social networks, analyzes online privacy beliefs and behaviors, and enquires into the heuristics of online identity formations. Concerning JRA5, Samir Passi will talk about the issues of collapsing contexts owing to large-scale convergence of information within mobile applications. Finally, Sally Wyatt will talk about what the EINS project means for the discipline of digital humanities.

See for details of all EINS activities.

(Presentation slides)


Alkim Almila Akdag Salah has received her BS in industrial design and MA in art history from Istanbul Technical University. Her master thesis was on semiotic analysis of perfume bottles, which exemplify how industrial objects carry artistic and historical meaning through an ever-developing symbolic language. She continued her doctoral studies at the Art History Department of UCLA, under the supervision of Prof. Donald Preziosi, focusing on technoscience art and its place in the art historical canon. She obtained her PhD degree in 2008.

During her PhD at UCLA, she worked two years as an ITC (Instructional Technology Consultant) at the Center for Digital Humanities. She was one of the first Digital Humanities Fellows of UCLA. Her focus as a fellow was on citation networks, through which she aimed to map out the network of three semi-related discipline’s (cognitive science, visual culture and art history) interaction with each other.

She obtained a three month Postdoc fellowship at Virtual Knowledge Studio (reorganized as e-Humanities Group KNAW), she followed up on her digital humanities project, but this time trying to locate a single journal’s place in the interdisciplinary arena by using Bibliometrics.

She became a part of Knowledge Space Lab, a project that contributed to the new research area of “maps of science”. The project developed an innovative research line addressing the difference between representing scholarly knowledge in (external) classifications systems (such as thesauri, ontologies, bibliographic systems) and “internal” representations based on data and user-tagging (such as network analysis, user annotations/tagging, folksonomies). As a case study, the category structure of Wikipedia is compared to the Universal Decimal Classification system. The resulting map has won the Places Spaces Exhibition competition, and can be found here:

“Design vs Emergence: Visualization of Knowledge Orders”

Current research: Almila has received a Veni award from NWO to conduct her own research for 3 years. The project is a combination of the application of various scientific methodologies (mostly social network analysis and analysis of image archives) to answer humanities questions. In that sense, it is a Digital Humanities project, one that will contribute to theoretical discussions about the nature of (high/low) art and the art market, and its relation to online art communities.

Samir Passi is currently working on the EINS project with the e-Humanities group at KNAW. Within the project, his work involves researching the social shaping of the notions of privacy and trust in relation to online social media technologies as well as analyzing how various online technologies handle user privacy. He is especially interested in working at interdisciplinary projects operating at the intersection of Information Technology (IT) and society.

His academic and research experiences stem from the disciplines of sociology of science and technology and IT engineering. He finished his Research Masters in Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. At an undergraduate level, he has been trained as an engineer of ICT at DA-IICT, India.

Research Interests: Sociology of scientific knowledge, social media, usability studies, media studies, UX design, sociology of testing, solution architecture, sociology of user expectations, and emerging technologies.

Sally Wyatt is Professor of ‘digital cultures in development’, Maastricht University, Programme Leader of the eHumanities Group, KNAW, and Director of WTMC (Wetenschap, Technologie en Moderne Cultuur). Her background is in economics (BA McGill, 1976; MA Sussex, 1979) and science and technology studies (PhD Maastricht, 1998). She has more than 25 years experience in teaching and research about technology policy and about the relationship between technological and social change, focusing particularly on issues of social exclusion and inequality. She has worked at the Universities of Sussex, Brighton, East London and Amsterdam as well as at the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). She co-ordinated PhD training in the Dutch Research School for Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC) between 2005-10. She was President of EASST (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology) between 2001-4. Recently, she has worked on the internet and social exclusion and the ways in which people incorporate the internet into their practices for finding health information. Together with Andrew Webster, she is editor of a book series, Health, Technology and Society (Palgrave Macmillan).

Andrea Scharnhorst is Head of Research at DANS and member of the e-humanities group at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. Her work focuses on modelling and simulating the emergence of innovations (new modes of behaviour and learning, forms of communication, technologies or scientific ideas) in social systems. She has worked on transfer of concepts and methods at an interface between physics and social sciences and humanities.

Dr. Scharnhorst has developed a specific framework (Geometrically Oriented Evolutionary THEories) to describe processes of problem solving and learning as an evolutionary search process in unknown knowledge landscapes. She has coordinated and participated in several EU- and national funded projects, such as “Web indicators for scientific, technological and innovation research”,”Competence and innovation in research networks – modeling self-organized learning of heterogeneous agents”, “Dissimilar simulation – the epistemics of simulation in the humanities” and “Critical Events in Evolving Networks”.

Currently, she coordinates the Computational Humanities Programme at the e-humanities group. She leads the working group “Information and Knowledge” of the COST action MP0801 “Physics of Competition and Conflicts”. Together with Andreas Pyka she edited a book on “Innovation networks” (2009), a special issue together with Katy Börner on “ Science of Science” in the Journal of Informetrics (2009), and another special issue on “Modeling science: studying the structure and dynamics of science” (together with Katy Börner, Wolfgang Glänzel and Peter van den Besselaar). Another book on “Models of Science Dynamics – Encounters Between Complexity Theory and Information Sciences (co-edited with Katy Börner and Peter van den Besselaar) will appear in 2011.Main research interests: – Simulating innovation – innovation as simulation – Models of self-organisation for complex systems – Innovation dynamics and evolution of social systems – Bibliometric analysis and evaluation – “Landscape theories of social change” – G_O_E_THE – Evolution of research technologies, in particular Web technologies – Web based science, technology and innovation indicators.

31 January

Christine Arnold, Maastricht University

Facets of Political Representation: Data and Measurements

The question of how governments can better connect with their citizens is a central concern for national and European policy-makers. A central tenet of representative democracy is that there is a reciprocal link between the provisions of public policies and the wishes of the citizens. A key question is: Are the policy preferences of the public providing guidance for policy-makers? In my talk I will discuss findings of two studies: one on the European Parliament and the other on European legislation. Furthermore, I will present the NWO project “Database on Political Responsiveness” in which we are assembling a unified and cross-indexed resource on the preferences of the European electorates, political parties and governments, and legislative outputs ( This database will allow researchers and citizens to evaluate political representation across policy areas, countries, levels of governance, and time.


Christine Arnold is Assistant Professor at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Her research and teaching interests are in comparative politics, public opinion, political representation, web-harvesting, quantitative text analysis and research methods. Some of her work has been published in West European Politics, European Union Politics, Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary European Research and several edited volumes. []

The question of how governments can better connect with their citizens is a central concern for national and European policy-makers. A central tenet of representative democracy is that there is a reciprocal link between the provisions of public policies and the wishes of the citizens. A key question is: Are the policy preferences of the public providing guidance for policy-makers? In my talk I will discuss findings of two studies: one on the European Parliament and the other on European legislation. Furthermore, I will present the NWO project “Database on Political Responsiveness” in which we are assembling a unified and cross-indexed resource on the preferences of the European electorates, political parties and governments, and legislative outputs ( This database will allow researchers and citizens to evaluate political representation across policy areas, countries, levels of governance, and time.

24 January

Maarten de Rijke (UvA), Ridho Reinanda (KITLV, eHg)

Why Is Digital Humanities Interesting For A Computer Scientist?

In the talk we explain and illustrate how search and analysis problems that emerge from the research activities of digital humanities scholars give rise to interesting research challenges for computer scientists. What are the search processes of digital humanities scholars? To which extent do our current search algorithms support these processes? It turns that digital humanities practices ask for new approaches to many aspects in the information retrieval process. These include querying, exploring, ranking as well as interaction patterns. One of the key messages is that, as long as intelligent information access for digital humanities scholars is still an unsolved problem, successful digital humanities research teams consist of scientists from both the humanities and computer science alongside tool developers. The talk will be supported by evidence from cases studies in media studies and ongoing work in the Elite Network Shifts project.

Presentation slides Maarten de Rijke

Presentation slides Ridho Reinanda


Maarten de Rijke is full professor of Information Processing and Internet in the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam. He holds MSc degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics (both cum laude), and a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science. He worked as a postdoc at CWI, before becoming a Warwick Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK. He joined the University of Amsterdam in 1998, and was appointed full professor in 2004.

De Rijke leads the Information and Language Processing Systems group, one of the world’s leading academic research groups in information retrieval. During the most recent computer science research assessment exercise, the group achieved maximal scores on all dimensions. His research focus is on intelligent information access, with projects on social media analytics, vertical search engines, machine learning for information retrieval, and semantic search.

A Pionier personal innovational research incentives grant laureate (comparable to an advanced ERC grant), De Rijke has generated over 35MEuro in project funding. With an h-index of 44 he has published over 500 papers, published or edited over a dozen books, is (associate) editor for various journals and book series, and a current and former coordinator of retrieval evaluation tracks at TREC, CLEF and INEX. He is co-chair for SIGIR 2013 and general chair for ECIR 2014.

He is the director of the University of Amsterdam’s Intelligent Systems Lab (ISLA), its Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT), and a board member for the Ad de Jonge Centrum voor Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsstudies.

The retrieval and language technology developed by his research group is being used by organizations around the Netherlands and beyond, and has given rise to various spin-off initiatives.

Information and Language Processing

Intelligent Systems Lab Amsterdam

Center for Creation, Content and Technology

Ad de Jonge Centrum voor Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsstudies

Ridho Reinanda

Ridho Reinanda is a PhD candidate at KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) and Institute for Informatics, University of Amsterdam. He is currently joining the e-Humanities group to work on the Elite Network Shifts project. In this project, he will to try to extract the social network of elites in Indonesia from a large collection of historical news archive.

He received his bachelor degree in informatics engineering and master in informatics/computer science from Institut Teknologi Bandung. His research experience started as a student assistant in programming lab and later as a research assistant in the language processing group STEI-ITB. His main research interests are information retrieval, information extraction, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Before starting the doctoral study, he also worked as a software entrepreneur, developing various applications for government and private institutions. His previous works include implementing document management, digital libraries, and data collection & aggregation systems.

17 January

Smiljana Antonijević and Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Penn State University

Following  Workflow of a Digital Scholar

In this talk we present the initial findings of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project currently underway at Penn State University. In the project, we explore digital scholarly workflow of the Penn State faculty across disciplines encompassing the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The project explores scholars’ practices and needs related to information management at all stages of the research lifecycle.

The first research phase of our project includes a web-based survey, followed by face-to-face interviews, log-file analyses, and a set of focus groups.

The talk will present results of the web-based survey completed by over 300 Penn State faculty members during Fall, 2012, as well as preliminary analysis of ethnographic interviews conducted at the same period of time. The survey consisted of twenty-five questions, which, in addition to demographic information, included queries about data searching, storing, citing, sharing, and archiving practices, as well as about scholars’ experiences in using digital research tools and resources. The ethnographic interviews were designed to further explore faculty practices regarding digital workflow, including user challenges surrounding self-archiving and curation of personal information collections.

The talk harvests a comparative multidisciplinary perspective of our study in order to explore specificities of scholars’ digital workflow across the academic disciplines. This gives us a further opportunity to identify architecture that supports digital scholarship and facilitates the development of literacies for faculty personal information management needs. Therefore, while focusing on the survey and interview findings, the talk also highlights the future trajectory of our study, as well as planned next steps regarding educational and technological initiatives aimed at addressing management of scholarly workflow.

(Presentation slides)


Smiljana Antonijević is Assistant Professor of Culture and Technology at Roskilde University, and a Research Anthropologist at Penn State University. Her research focuses on topics such as affective computing (forthcoming, Palgrave); scholarly collaboration in virtual environments (MIT Press, 2012); digital humanities (Palgrave, 2012); information literacy (Wiley, 2011); trust in online interaction (Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, 2009); digital fieldwork (Francis&Taylor, 2008). For more information see

Ellysa Stern Cahoy is an Education & Behavioral Sciences Librarian in the Penn State University Libraries, University Park.  She has conducted and published research on information literacy, evidence-based librarianship, and personal archiving.  She was recently awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to explore faculty’s personal scholarly archiving practices. Cahoy is past chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards Committee and recently chaired the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards Review Task Force.

10 January

Folkert de Vriend, Meertens institute

Tools for Computational Analyses of Dialect Geography Data

In dialect geography various methods are used for systematically collecting evidence for dialect differences. My PhD thesis contains five studies on tools and infrastructure for computational analyses of dialect geography data. In my talk I will discuss two of these studies in more detail. The first study is on a unified structure for different sets of dialect dictionary data. The second study is on visualization as a research tool for dialect geography using a geo-browser. I will also discuss challenges related to implementing several of the results of these studies and I will illustrate these challenges with examples taken from the CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technologies Infrastructure) projects I have worked on.


Folkert de Vriend studied General Linguistics at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. After obtaining his degree he worked on several projects at the Radboud University and the Meertens Institute aimed at digitization and curation of language resources and the development of tools for eHumanities research. In 2012 he obtained his doctorate at the Radboud University on his PhD thesis “Tools for Computational Analyses of Dialect Geography Data”. Currently, Folkert de Vriend works on metadata for resources and web services in the CLARIN project ‘Interactive migration maps for the 20th century’ (MIGMAP).

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13 December – 3 January 2013

X-mas break

6 December

Annual e-Humanities lecture

Dr Juan Garcés, Academic Coordinator, Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities: the cultural evolution

The rapidly evolving field of Digital Humanities is clearly en vogue. Judging from its presence in esteemed Humanities super-events such as the conferences of the Modern Language Association or the Society of Biblical Literature, it is also seemingly catching on with the mainstream academic discourse. Yet, despite its impact as the new kid on the block, Digital Humanities comes with a bag of insecurities: Is it its own discipline or merely a Hilfswissenschaft? Is it here to reform or to revolutionise?

In addressing Digital Humanities’ identity crisis, I will remind the audience that this development converges with several broader social and technological phenomena: the digitisation of society, the transformation of information into a key commodity, and the crisis of the Academy, in general, and the Humanities, in particular, to name but a few. In understanding it as a product of these phenomena, I will make the argument for Digital Humanities as a new opportunity to reconfigure our social (and technical) protocols in order to fulfil the promise of critical knowledge in the current context.


After studying theology in Giessen and Marburg, Germany, Juan Garcés received a doctorate in Biblical Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2003. He has since gained experience in the field of Digital Humanities as an analyst, consultant, and adviser for digitally-based research projects, particularly in the field of Greek texts. Before coming to Göttingen University to take over the academic coordination of the recently created Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (, he worked for the ReScript Project at the Institute of Historical Studies, University of London, and as Project Manager of the Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Projects at the British Library. His grounding in Digital Humanities comes from the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, which awarded him an MA in Digital Humanities. He is one of the founding members of the Digital Classicist (, the organiser of the Open Source Critical Editions workshop, and co-author of ‘Open Source Critical Editions: a Rationale’ (in: Text Editing, Print, and the Digital World, eds. Marilyn Deegan and Kathryn Sutherland, Ashgate Press, 2009).

29 November

Gerrit Bloothooft, Universiteit Utrecht and Jan Pieter Kunst, Meertens Institute

Detailed interactive mapping of migration in the Netherlands in the 20th century

People migrate and take their social-cultural-linguistic identities with them. Since in their new environment this leads to interactions, knowledge of migration is of high interest to the understanding of, for instance, sociolinguistic and dialect diffusion processes. Based on the availability of places of birth and residence (in 2006) of the Dutch population (16 million alive, 6 million deceased but included) and their family relations from the Civil Registration, migrations patterns between municipalities (and immigration from abroad) can be presented over three generations in the 20th century.

The project has developed a web application where the user first chooses generation (forward or backward in time) and gender, while subsequently the migration map of The Netherlands related to an interactively pointed municipality (443 units), or other aggregation unit such as province (12) or COROP area (40) is shown. To this end, the existing map-making software module “Kaart”of the Meertens Institute has been transformed into a generic, standards-based  tool for the creation and presentation of maps with complex spatio-temporal diffusion data in a user friendly and interactive way.

We will not only present the backgrounds of the migration map and its technical realisation, but will also discuss options to present the migration map as a layer in Google Earth/Maps on which for instance maps of dialect data can be superimposed. This opens ways to explore possible effects of migration on diffusion of linguistic phenomena.


Gerrit Bloothooft is staff member of the Linguistics section at Utrecht University. He coordinates name projects at the Meertens Institute related to the data from the Civil Registration (GBA). In conjunction with the IISG he is involved in population reconstruction for the 19th century and earlier. He has written a wide range of papers on these and related topics (see

Jan Pieter Kunst is a software developer at the Meertens Institute. He designed the relational database built upon the raw data delivered by the Civil Registration, and developed the “Kaart” mapping tool, which is also used in the Corpus of Dutch First Names ( and various other online corpora of the Meertens Institute.

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22 November

Christophe Guéret, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and e-Humanities Group

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and

Clement Levallois, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Workshop on Linked Data: “Linked Data: Is It For Me?”

This workshop takes place on Thursday Nov 22, 2012 (1pm -> 4pm) in the symposium room of the Meertens Institute.– Participation is free — Limited number of seats, register now! — Please bring a laptop (for very simple operations, no coding skill will be needed). — Content: Presentation of the principles of linked data: definitions, examples of use cases, clarifications of how “linked data” relate to the “semantic web”. — Format: Hands-on session where the principles of linked data will be illustrated in a small project conducted in teams by the participants, in parallel with a presentation. Q&A are encouraged during the workshop. —


Christophe Guéret is a postdoc from the eHumanities group working on the project CEDAR. Besides this project about the publication of the Dutch census data as Linked Data, he is active in several Linked Data activities related to putting that technology in use.

Clement Levallois is a historian of science with interests in network analysis, text processing and other compartments of the digital humanities. He co-organized a workshop on “Data visualization for the Digital Humanities” in January 2012 at the e-Humanities group. Clement is based at Erasmus University Rotterdam and is an Associate Researcher of the eHumanities group of the KNAW.

To register please follow this link:

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15 November

Peter Wittenburg, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Interoperability – is it feasible –

Society, politicians and researchers all dream from an integrated domain of data which allows them to easily find evidences for new yet undiscovered phenomena and solutions for the Grand Challenges humans are faced with such as the stability of climate, health, societies, minds etc. Consequently one of the most used terms currently is “interoperability”, but certainly at political level no one exactly has an idea where we are talking about, what is needed and what is possible. Also for research infrastructures in the humanities “interoperability” is an issue. With the help of some examples the term “interoperability” and its different flavors will be analyzed in more detail.


After finishing the Diplom-Ingenieur Degree in Electrical Engineering at the Technical University Berlin in 1974 with computer science and digital signal processing as main topics, I started working as research assistant setting up a center for control computation at TUB. In 1976 I got the chance to act as head of the technical group at the newly founded Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics. In 2011 I became the head of the new unit called The Language Archive that was built as a collaboration between Max-Planck-Society, Berlin-Brandenburg-Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

(Presentation slides)

8 November

2 presentations:

1. Hui Jung Chang, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan. Visitor e-Humanities group

Social Networking Sites and Interruptions in Organizational Settings:

A Media Uses Perspective

The goal of this paper is to systematically examine the associations between SNSs affordances and perceived level of SNSs interruption in the workplace in Taiwan, using Facebook as an example. It was examined from two aspects: why use Facebook (media characteristics and social influence models) and how Facebook is used (organization of work, knowledge-work activities, social, caring, climbing, and campaigning).

Data was gathered via convenience sampling and snowball sampling of “computer-using workers” in Taiwan between December 2010 and February 2011. The results indicated that while social presence, media richness and social influence are all significantly related to Facebook interruption, only one of Facebook-use purposes, organization of work, was negatively associated with the perceived level of Facebook interruption.


Hui Jung Chang is Professor at the Graduate Institute of Mass Communication, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan and Visiting fellow at the e-Humanities Group from August 2012 until January 2013.

Her research interest are: Network Analysis, Interpersonal Communication within Virtual Communities, Computer-mediated Communication, Cross-cultural Communication

Media Usages within Organizational Settings, Organizational Boundary Spanners.

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2. José de Kruif , Utrecht University

Text Mining a Nineteenth Century Media Hype

This paper records the results of research into publications (pamphlets and newspaper articles) on a nineteenth century political conflict: the ‘aprilbeweging’ of 1853, a passionate dispute between the government and protestant and Roman Catholic citizens. Digitized documents containing texts on this issue were researched with the help of state of the art text- and data mining tools.This software normally functions within commercial companies for analysis of for instance call centre databases. What do the customers think of our products? And within governmental institutions such as security, customs and police, for analyses of e-mails and phone taps.

But in this case, the instrument was employed to systematically take stock of the publications in this nineteenth-century media hype. It was used to answer such questions as: What contribution did the specific form of the nineteenth-century media landscape make to the development of the hype? What format of publication seems to fit the contents best?  And which genres can be distinguished and what kinds of argument do people use in these publications?

Sentiment analysis was used to list opinions on crucial actors and issues. Finally, the results of the text mining of media content, could systematically be compared to metadata like authorship, publisher, genre etc. by using data mining tools like cluster analysis.

Texts were thus surveyed on content as well as on other characteristics. The knowledge we thus acquire on the way conflicts were fought in the media will be discussed and may be we can talk about the issue which text mining components are a suitable method for this kind of research as well.


I studied social and economic history and wrote a masters thesis on poverty and poor relief. I obtained my PhD in cultural history. My thesis was on reading culture in the 18th century. In 2004 the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research awarded me the Innovational Research grant VIDI, thus enabling me to start my own research group on the topic of 19th century news media. For this research I deployed the text mining techniques that will be the subject of the paper of November 8th.

I work part time as a researcher and part time as an ICT consultant for my colleagues at the Research Institute for History and Culture of the Humanities faculty of Utrecht University. Starting in 2013, I will take part in our new project: E-Humanity Approaches to Reference Cultures: The Emergence of the United States in Public Discourse in the Netherlands, 1890-1990.

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1 November

Junte Zhang, Meertens Institute

Digital Archiving at the Meertens Institute

The Meertens Institute is also a memory institution, where records are digitally preserved and curated. This talk will give an overview of the different types of  records currently digitally curated at the Meertens Institute. We highlight our recent projects, such as the Sailing Letters project, where we use crowd sourcing to transcribe centuries-old handwritten letters, or the Radical Political Representation project, where we crowd source the analysis of political cartoons. These are all exemplary Digital Humanities cases, and we show our approach to the digital archiving of these materials, from creation to (re-)use.


Junte Zhang obtained his doctorate in September 2011 at the University of Amsterdam on his PhD thesis “System Evaluation of Archival Description and Access,” in which he designed, evaluated and looked at the use of archival search engines for finding aids in the standard Encoded Archival Description (EAD). He is a specialist in Digital Libraries, particularly on using metadata or digital finding aids for vertical search engines. Currently, he works on advanced search technology at the Technical Development department of the Meertens Institute.

(Presentation slides)

25 October

No New Trends in e-Humanities due to Autumn break

18 October

No New Trends in e-Humanities due to 4S-EASST conference

11 October

Marten Düring, Radboud  University Nijmegen

Project MERIT

MERIT connects research in text analytics, contemporary history, cultural heritage, as well as memory studies. From a technological perspective, the project will help to develop existing tools in information extraction of unstructured and semi-structured texts. We move beyond the state of the art; aside from being able to identify names of persons, locations, organizations, and time expressions, we develop new methods for event identification in multiple texts, i.e. discovering that differently phrased descriptions of an event actually refer to the same event. As we work with English, Dutch, and German texts, we will need to combine the use of pre-existing tools with new cross-lingual tools. The lack of proper multi-lingual domain ontologies furthermore suggests a data-driven, bottom-up approach.

This bottom-up approach is notably similar to the practice of historical research: It offers both historians and cultural heritage centres help in the often laborious task of retrieving and combining specific factual information from large corpora of sources which are typically spread across several archives. Historians typically need to rely on their memories or notes to piece together bits of information spread across sources. MERIT will provide a user-friendly working environment in which historians can make use of the results of the semi-automatic content analysis, edit them and manually enter additional information. This approach allows historians to store and quickly retrieve factual information. Yet still, it ensures full control over the interpretation and verification of the retrieved information.

With regard to the history of the Battle of the Rhineland, MERIT offers a multi-faceted view of the past by linking the experiences of Allied and German soldiers and Dutch civilians who witnessed the events and/or participated in them e.g. in resistance activities. This strong commitment to multiperspectivity not only stands in accordance with good practice in historical research but also with our partners’ concepts for commemorating the  Second World War in the Netherlands and in Germany.#

MERIT’s method not only helps to view past events from more than one perspective, it also allows the study of the development of these views. MERIT will be able to semi-automatically identify the key components in the narratives of the Battle of the Rhineland and analyze their distribution over time since 1944.


Prof. dr. Antal van den Bosch (MA, computational linguistics, 1992, Tilburg University; Ph.D., computer science, 1997, Universiteit Maastricht) held research positions at Tilburg University, the Netherlands and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (1993-1994), Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands (1994-1997) and Tilburg University (1997-2011), where he was appointed full professor in computational linguistics and AI in 2008. He is also guest professor of the University of Antwerp. In 2011 he took on a full professorship in language and speech technology at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His research interests include memory-based natural language processing and modeling, text analytics and applications thereof in cultural heritage and digital humanities, machine translation, and proofing tools. Prof. Van den Bosch has led several cross-disciplinary projects on improving access to cultural heritage with innovative ICT methods: with Naturalis, the National Natural History Museum in Leiden he worked on enriching digital versions of historical fieldbooks and registry books in the NWO CATCH ‘MITCH’ project. With the International Institute for Social History (IISH, Amsterdam) he carries out the NWO CATCH project ‘HiTiME’ (Historical Timeline Mining and Extraction) and the NWO Digging Into Data project ‘ISHER’ (Integrated Social History Environment for Research) on exploiting, linking and enriching primary and secondary historical texts on the history of the social movement.


Marten Düring (BA European Cultural History, 2001, MA War & Memory Studies, 2006, Ph.D. Contemporary History, 2012) worked as Junior Research Fellow and Research Fellow at Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen, Germany in the project Frames of Reference of Help. In July 2012 he defended his PhD thesis on support networks for persecuted Jews during National Socialism. In 2012 he joined Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen as eHumanities guest Post Doc. His research interests revolve around software applications in historical research, he has hands-on experience with Social Network Analysis, qualitative data analysis and computer simulations.

(Presentation slides)

4 October

Iina Hellsten, VU Free University Amsterdam

Activist Networks online: Methodological experiments

Rapid rise of web-based media for communication poses new theoretical and methodological challenges for organization sciences, for instance the tactical repertoires of activist groups are broadening and the Internet offers an instant platform for debate over firm – activist group relationship. We will use data available in the Internet to study the way activist group networks try to target companies on issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the Web. We focus on activist networks around SOMO, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations ( (de Bakker & Hellsten, 2011).

The way networks of activist groups operate online versus firms on issues of CSR is an emerging field of research. What is the virtual presence of complex networks of activist groups? To what extent do they use the web to frame certain issues? What could these websites teach us in terms of activists’ institutional change efforts? Answers to these questions require collaboration between computer sciences (tools and software for tracking and modelling online activism networks) and social scientists (providing theoretical research questions and interpreting the resulting networks).

In the KNAW Academy Assistant project “Mapping Online Activist Networks” MONA (lead by  Frank de Bakker, Iina Hellsten in the Faculty of Social Sciences & Lora Aroyo in the Faculty of Computer sciences, at the VU Amsterdam, the Network Institute), we focus on developing new, semi-automated tools for mapping the virtual presence of activist networks on the Web, the content they communicate online and the tactics they use in this communication. These three steps are analysed with different methods: virtual presence is mapped using hyperlink networks, the content of communications with semantic co-word maps and the tactics using event-centered model, called ACTEVE (ACTivist EVEnts) model. In the eHumanities presentation results of using these three methods will be presented and further avenues of methodological experimenting will be discussed.


Dr. Iina Hellsten is Associate Professor at the VU University Amsterdam, Department of Organization Sciences and affiliated to the Network Institute at the VU. Her research has focused on the politics of metaphors, the dynamics of social avalanches in communication networks, and the development of new methods for the analysis of Web based texts. Her current research interests focus on the dynamics of social avalanches – tracking networks of communication, see

She is leading the research projects on Climate change as a complex social issue (funded by the NWO and ESRC in the ORA scheme, 2011-2014),  Inter-organizational dynamics of economic crisis (funded by NWO-Aspasia, 2011-2015), Mapping online activist networks (KNAW-assistants project (programme led by Prof. Groenewegen), together with Dr. Frank de Bakker and Dr. Lora Aroyo, 2011-2013) and Spreading of metaphors and key-phrases on the Web (KNAW-assistants project together with prof. Vossen and Prof. Steen, 2012-2013).

(Presentation slides)

20 September

Karina van Dalen, Huygens ING

Names, Novels, and Namescape

One of my research interests as a literary scholar is the usage and the function of proper names in literary texts. This kind of research belongs to a subdiscipline of onomastics (name studies), called literary onomastics. Scholars working in this field mostly use a qualitative approach, close reading texts, analysing one text, or describing the usage and function of one or just a couple of names. At the same time, scholars in literary onomastics wish that all names in a text or in an oeuvre, genre or time period should be analyzed together as a whole, as a kind of ‘onymic landscape’. However, this is not easy to do. The assumption would be that existing tools for named entity recognition and classification can be of great help is this. In my own research, in which I also want to analyse the names in their onymic landscape, I have experimented with NER tools and found several reasons why the applications did not speed up my data preparation and therefore were no useful tools in my analysis. I will explain how I approached the analysis in my pilot project, and how my experiences in the end proved to be a challenge for specialists in several other disciplines to design a new project in which the main drawbacks of applying a linguistic tool to literary research would be addressed. So my talk will sketch how in my life with literary names one thing lead to another, resulting in the CLARIN-project Namescape which is currently running and in which the University of Amsterdam (Maarten Marx c.s.) and the Institute for Dutch Lexicology (Katrien Depuydt c.s.) are partners. More about the project can be found at


Karina van Dalen-Oskam is a literary scholar working in the digital humanites disciplines of stylometry and authorship attribution. She is research leader of the department of Textual scholarship and literary studies of Huygens ING (KNAW) and professor of Computational Literary Studies at the University of Amsterdam. More information about her projects and publications  can be found at

(Presentation slides)

13 September

Anja Volk, Utrecht University

Modelling music similarity in MUSIVA: addressing interdisciplinary challenges of computational humanities

In this talk I present my interdisciplinary VIDI-project MUSIVA at Utrecht University on the topic of music similarity and will discuss interdisciplinary challenges we are facing in computational humanities with examples from computational musicology. The VIDI-project “Modelling musical similarity over time through the variation principle” (MUSIVA) investigates musical similarity, a key concept within music information retrieval (MIR) for developing search engines for digital music collections. While similarity is considered fundamental in Cognitive Science, no comprehensive model exists for similarity in the domain of music. Musicology offers a general approach to similarity through the universal principle of variation.  MUSIVA aims to build cognition-based computational approaches to music similarity grounding in the variation principle employed in classical, folk and popular music. This requires substantial contributions from Musicology, Music Information Retrieval and Cognitive Science. Discussing these contributions, I address issues of interdisciplinary collaboration within computational humanities, such as the use of models and abstractions for humanities research and the evaluation of computational models with respect to both standardized methods in computer science and regarding their contribution to humanities research. I will reflect on how differences between the disciplines, rather than being just stumbling blocks of mutual understanding, might become a stimulating source for interdisciplinary research and discuss what we might envision as important contributions of humanities to e-Humanities beyond the mere provision of “data”.


Anja Volk’s research is dedicated to integrate humanities research and computational methods into a comprehensive approach to the study of music. She holds master degrees in musicology and mathematics and received her PhD in computational musicology from Humboldt University of Berlin. The results of her research have contributed to areas such as computational musicology, music information retrieval, digital cultural heritage, music cognition, and mathematical music theory. After two post-doc periods at the University of Southern California and Utrecht University, she has been awarded a prestigious VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in 2010, which allowed her to start her own research group at Utrecht University. Her current project ‘Modelling musical similarity over time through the variation principle’  (MUSIVA) investigates music similarity in an interdisciplinary manner comprising Music Information Retrieval, Musicology and Cognitive Science. Anja is a board member of the international Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music.

(Presentation slides)

Please click on Archive for an overview of former Research Meetings