CREATE Salon 8 March: Analysing Newspapers in the Digital Humanities

The upcoming CREATE Salon takes place on 8 March between 3-5pm
(Turfdraagsterpad 9 BG 1 eLab (0.16)).

This Salon focuses on the use of Newspaper collections in the Digital Humanities. Recent digitisation efforts have resulted in large digital newspaper corpora, spanning centuries and comprising a wide array of local and national publications. The KB’s newspaper depot, Delpher, alone boasts over 11 million Dutch newspaper pages for the whole of the Netherlands. In this Salon, the speakers will discuss and showcase innovative digital approaches that interrogate these collections from a visual and spatial angle.

Dr. Melvin Wevers presents his work on visual patterns in advertisements. Advertisements shed light on the aspirations and ideals of the past. Even though Delpher contained millions of advertisements in digital form, querying them–searching for a specific visual style or ads for a particular product–remained troublesome, as standard OCR-software fares poorly on such items. Building on recent advances in Computer Vision, Melvin shows how SIAMESE (a tool created at the KB LAB) allows researchers to identify visual trends in advertisements, which in turn can be used to tackle specific historical problems.

Antoine Peris investigates how local newspapers construct to the image of cities. His project highlights the geographic dimension of newspaper articles.  The specific way newspapers report and describe cities has shaped their image, which in turn may have affected how citizens and firms perceive these locations. By combining several techniques–Named Entity Recognition, Sentiment Analysis and Spatial Analysis–Antoine scrutinises whether positive coverage (or vice versa ‘bad rap’) has actually influenced the development of Dutch cities.