Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks- New Trends in eHumanities

Leonor Álvarez Francés , UvA, Pim van Bree and Geert Kessels, Lab1100, Charles van den Heuvel, Huygens ING (KNAW)


October 30,2014. 15.00-17.00 hrs.  at the eHumanities group


Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks

Exploring potential relationships in biographical data and cultural networks in the creative industry in Amsterdam and Rome in the Early Modern Period.

Leonor Álvarez Francés; Pim van Bree, Geert Kessels, Charles van den Heuvel

Here we report on the first outcomes of the private-public project Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks, funded by the Dutch Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), in which Leonor Álvarez Francés as an embedded researcher experimented with Pim van Bree and Geert Kessels of LAB1100 for nine months for one day per week with the software NODEGOAT to create multi-layered networks of actors and documents that are potential relevant for the history of the creative industry in Amsterdam and Rome in the Early Modern Period.

The project started with the integration of three complementary, but heterogeneous (meta)datasets: the full text searchable Biographical Reference Works of the Huygens Institute ING, ECARTICO, a comprehensive database compiled by Marten Jan Bok and Harm Nijboer of the University of Amsterdam that allows analysing and visualising data concerning painters, art consumers, art collectors, art dealers and others involved in the cultural industry of Amsterdam and the Low Countries in the Early Modern Period and finally HADRIANUS, a database of Dutch artists and scholars from the Middle Ages up the 20th Century that stayed in Rome developed by the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). However, several researchers who heard of the initiative offered their own sets. 1 We embraced this rather arbitrary selection of sources to complement our three initial datasets for practical and theoretical reasons. First of all, this approach seems to reflect the way (digital) humanists assemble information on the basis of rather pragmatic criteria such as time, money and availability of data. If complete data-integration is impossible, a tool that on the basis of meta data enables to assess the likelihood that one combination might lead to better results than another, could at least support prioritizing the digitization program necessary for research. The second, theoretical argument is that the proposed incremental approach with changing perspectives on data in flux stands closer to hermeneutic methods. Such methods appeal to many humanities scholars who try to give sense to data from multiple perspectives in continuous processes of reinterpretation. For that reason we chose a couple of cases that demonstrate the multidimensional relationships from data about the cultural industry of Amsterdam and Rome from different perspectives. We will conclude with some plans for the future of the project.

[1] Charles van den Heuvel was main applicant and p.i. of the Mapping Notes and Nodes project. Leonor Álvarez Francés was coordinator and embedded researcher and Pim van Bree and Geert Kessels (LAB1100) developed Nodegoat. The presenters are indebted for the expertise and data of Marten-Jan Bok and Harm Nijboer (University of Amsterdam-Ecartico), Marieke van den Doel and Arthur Westeijn (KNIR-Hadrianus), Susanna de Beer (Leiden University), Hans Brandhorst and Etienne Postumus (Mnemosyne-Iconclass), Arjen de Koomen (UvA) and Frits Scholten (Rijksmuseum; VU Amsterdam) for Sculptors on the Move, Sebastiaan Derks and Ronald Sluijter (Huygens ING-Biographical Reference Works), Alette Fleischer (Corvinus and Bentvueghels), Erin Downey (Temple University Philadelphia: Patronage Guistiniani and Bentveughels) and last, but not least Ingeborg van Vugt (Leiden University: correspondence networks of Cosimo III and academies) and Simone Wegman (Leiden University, Corvinus and Bentvueghels) who worked as internees on this project.



Leonor Álvarez Francés (embedded researcher Huygens ING/LAB1100)
Leonor Álvarez FrancésLeonor Álvarez Francés followed the Research Master in History at the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis combined Imagology and Digital Humanities to study the cultural industry responsible for making Spanish drama a great success in Golden Age Amsterdam. At the moment she is working on a database for the study of the theatre industry in Amsterdam in the Early Modern period within the Digital Humanities project CREATE (UvA). She combines this position with her PhD project ‘War Heroes and War Criminals. The Spanish Commanders and their actions during the First Decade of the Dutch Revolt’ at Leiden University. From February until October 2014 she has been working as embedded researcher for the project ‘Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks’, which allowed her to delve into data curation and integration within the Digital Humanities.

Pim van Bree [left]  (researcher and software developer LAB1100)
Geert Kessels [right] (researcher and software developer LAB1100)

Pim van Bree   Geert Kessels LAB1100 is a research and software development firm established by Pim van Bree and Geert Kessels in 2011. LAB1100 partners with universities, research institutes and educational experts to conceptualise and produce dynamic applications. In 2014 LAB1100 has launched nodegoat, a web-based research environment specifically focused on research in the humanities. Using nodegoat, scholars define, create, update, query, and manage any number of datasets by use of a graphic user interface. Within nodegoat scholars are able to instantly analyse and visualise datasets. nodegoat allows you to enrich data with relational, geographical and temporal attributes. Therefore, the modes of analysis are inherently diachronic and ready-to-use for interactive maps and extensive trailblazing. Pim van Bree received his MA in New Media at the University of Amsterdam. Geert Kessels received his MA in History (research master) at the University of Amsterdam.  For more information on nodegoat, see:


Charles van den Heuvel (p.i/ main applicant Mapping Notes and Nodes project – Huygens ING)
Charles van den Heuvel
Charles van den Heuvel is Head Research of History of Science and Scholarship at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, he holds the chair: “Digital Methods and Historical Disciplines (in particular the History of Scholarship and Information Sciences)” at the University of Amsterdam. He has a background in history of art and published regularly on history of architecture and town planning, history of fortification and history of cartography. Recent research interests are digital humanities, history of science (in particular the Republic of Letters) and history of library and information science. Themes of interest in the latter discipline are the history of classification, history of the WWW and visualizations of knowledge.