Past, Present and Future of Digital Humanities & Social Sciences in the Netherlands – Programme and Abstracts


9.30-10.00 Coffee & registration
Morning: Computational Humanities projects – Tinbergenzaal (unless otherwise indicated)
10.00-10.30 Welcome – Sally Wyatt, eHumanities group, KNAW

Achievements of Computational Humanities programme – Theo Mulder, KNAW


10.30-11.30 Highlights of Computational Humanities projects

CEDA_R From fragment to fabric – Dutch census data in a web of global cultural and historic information
Presenters: Ashkan Ashkpour, IISG,  Albert Meroño-Peñuela, IISG
Elite Networks Shifts during Regime Change in Indonesia
Presenter: Gerry van Klinken, KITLV
The Riddle of Literary Quality
Presenters: Rens Bod, UvA,  Karina van Dalen Oskam, Huygens ING
Tunes and  Tales, Modeling Oral Transmission
Presenters:  Peter van Kranenburg, Utrecht University,  Theo Meder, Meertens Institute

Chair: Andrea Scharnhorst, DANS

11.30-12.30 Hands-on demonstrations for each project – demonstrating tools, data, results, focus on legacy of project in terms of open access to data & tools

In hallway and foyer

12.30-13.30 Lunch
Afternoon: Launching DASSH.NL – Tinbergenzaal (unless otherwise indicated)
13.30-13.45 Welcome and Introduction – José van Dijck, KNAW
13.45-14.30 Keynote 1
Collaboration and its Discontents? The Digital Humanities as (Wildly) Productive Interdisciplinary Space
by Ray Siemens, Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing, University of Victoria.

Chair: Sally Wyatt, eHumanities group, KNAW
14.30-15.30 Parallel sessions

  1. Using the digital to enhance and access cultural heritage – Hendryckkamer
    Digital enrichment of concert experiences, by Cynthia Liem, TU Delft
    Crowdsourcing & Nichesourcing: Lessons learned from Enriching Collections with Experts & Crowds, by Lora Aroya
    Getting Insight in Large Collections of Paintings, by Marcel Worring, UvA

    Chair: Maarten de Rijke, UvA

  2. Collecting, Infrastructuring, Disseminating-Louyskamer
    Improving access to Holocaust Sources: the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), by Annelies van Nispen, NIOD
    Digital Scholarship Resources at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, by Martijn Kleppe & Steven Claeyssens, KB
    Interactive publication and on-demand print using dynamically (user-)generated paths, by Pim van Bree & Geert Kessels, Lab1100, Joep Leerssen, UvA

    Chair: Andrea Scharnhorst, DANS


    1. Hooking into the Linked Open Data Cloud, Jauco Noordzij, Huygens ING
    2. Advanced Search for (Linguistic) Research, Sjef Barbiers, Meertens Institute
    3. The structured data hub: linked data, big and small, Auke Rijpma, Utrecht University
    4. Cooking with Audiovisual Data: Digital Tools in the Media Suite, Julia Noordegraaf, UvA & Marijn Koolen, Beeld & Geluid

Chair: Lex Heerma van Vos, Huygens ING

15.30-16.00 Coffee & tea
16.00-16.45 Keynote 2
Infrastructure for DH and the pendulum that is pushing the boundaries of knowledge

by Franciska de Jong, Utrecht University, NWO, CLARIN-ERIC, EUR

Chair: Antal van den Bosch, Radboud University

16.45-17.15 Panel Session – Future of Digital Humanities and Social Sciences in the Netherlands.

Moderated by Marjan Slob

Susan Aasman, University of Groningen
Frans Wiering, Utrecht University
Sally Wyatt, Maastricht University, and  eHumanities group, KNAW
Joris van Zundert, Huygens ING

17.15-18.30 Reception


10.30-11.30 Highlights of Computational Humanities projects

CEDA_R From fragment to fabric – Dutch census data in a web of global cultural and historic information
In the final eHumanities event, the CEDAR team will showcase the final harmonized dataset of the Dutch historical censuses (1795-1971). We’ll demonstrate how the application of Semantic Web technology to Social History research did not only produce a valuable database for historians, queryable with no knowledge at all of such technologies, but how it brought new ideas to the Semantic Web. We’ll show how this can be achieved by mixing semi-automatic algorithms with expert knowledge, following an accountable approach. We’ll provide insight on the data itself, the reusable workflows that we built, and the possibilities for both in other datasets beyond the project.

Elite Networks Shifts during Regime Change in Indonesia
Elite Network Shifts (ENS) is a ‘blue sky’ research project, marked by high ambition, a high level of interdisciplinary collaboration, and high uncertainty over outcomes. Its purpose is to use computational techniques to plot shifts in the networks among top Indonesian elites. The networks are read from a large digital news archive. Behind this specific goal lies an exciting bigger question – is it possible to automatically extract interesting sociological information from large digital textual archives? ‘Automatically’ means: without too much manual list-making or searching. ‘Interesting sociological information’ could include all kinds of trends involving people, places, events or ideas.

Today one ENS researcher will demonstrate a new technique to identify national elites from electronic news archives, and illustrate networks connecting them. Another will demonstrate how attributes of such elites can be automatically determined from texts. And another will explain what the legacies of ENS have been for future researchers.

The Riddle of Literary Quality
What makes texts literary? This has been the main research question in the Riddle of Literary Quality. We will present a range of stylometric and machine learning results on the corpus of recent Dutch novels we have studied. We will then connect these results to the large online survey conducted among Dutch readers.
Each novel is associated with a range of textual features, metadata, and survey outcomes. The hands-on demonstration will consist of analyzing interactions between these variables. For example, is there an effect of genre or author gender on the ratings.
It will also be possible for the audience to participate by suggesting queries and other textual aspects to analyze and visualize. For example, is the number of adjectives correlated with high literary ratings? Or a specific phrase?

Tunes and  Tales, Modeling Oral Transmission
The Quest for Motifs in Tunes and Tales
The departure point of our Tunes and Tales journey is the notion that both folk songs and folktales contain salient passages, or motifs, which allow us to recognize a melody or narrative even if they are varied through oral transmission. As evident as such motifs seem to the reader or listener, however, it is not trivial to infer them computationally. This means that our journey took some different paths than projected at its beginning. On the way we have developed a range of computational approaches leading us to insights on the change and stability in Dutch folktales and folksongs. We end the tale of our journey by showing possible directions digital humanists might take folk song and folktale research into in the future.

13.45-14.30 Keynote 1 – by Ray Siemens, Canada Research Chair in Humanities

“Collaboration and its Discontents? The Digital Humanities as (Wildly) Productive Interdisciplinary Space”
Situated in reflections on elements of Claire Bishop’s “The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents” (ARTFORUM, 2006), Murray Goulden et al.’s Wild Interdisciplinarity: Ethnography and Computer Science” (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 2016), and Rens Bod’s A New History of the Humanities (Oxford, 2013), this talk explores notions of collaboration in the Humanities’ past and present, and projects into future possibilities.  Examples draw on interdisciplinary, inter-institutional (national and international), and inter-sectoral collaborations and collaborative possibilities, from the presenter’s experience as director of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments major collaborative research initiative (, of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (, of the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (, in the context also of works like the Companion to Digital Humanities (ed. with Susan Schreibman and John Unsworth; Blackwell, 2004) and the New Companion to Digital Humanities (ed. with Schreibman and Unsworth; Blackwell, 2016), across theme such as social knowledge creation, consensus-driven pedagogical communities, and collaborative research partnership.

Ray Siemens (U Victoria, Canada; is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, in English and Computer Science, and past Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing (2004-15). He is founding editor of the electronic scholarly journal Early Modern Literary Studies, and his publications include, among others, Blackwell’s Companion to Digital Humanities (2004, 2015 with Schreibman and Unsworth), Blackwell’s Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007, with Schreibman), A Social Edition of the Devonshire MS (2012, 2015; MRTS/Iter, Wikibooks), Literary Studies in the Digital Age (2014; MLA, with Price), and The Lyrics of the Henry VIII MS (2016; RETS). He directs the Implementing New Knowledge Environments project, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, recently serving also as Vice President / Director of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences for Research Dissemination, Chair of the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions, and Chair of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations.

16.00-16.45- Keynote 2 – by Franciska de Jong (NWO, CLARIN-ERIC, EUR)

Infrastructure for DH and the pendulum that is pushing the boundaries of knowledge
Research infrastructure  is higher on the agenda of researchers and research policy organizations than ever before. The attention for infrastructural facilities in the humanities and social sciences (HSS) can therefore be attributed to the increased interest in this topic in general, and this definitely holds for the increased levels of funding for infrastructure and Digital Humanities (DH).  But the interest of scholars in the potential of DH can be considered to be an even stronger driving force.

As is often the case in dynamic eras, in the discussion on infrastructure the buzz words mark where the heat is. In between concepts such as ‘distant reading’ and the ‘open science cloud’  many other buzzy concepts that are typical for the digital turn in SSH are featuring the scholarly debate. But the real transition that is taking place is not necessarily pertaining to the topics that are most debated.  In this talk I will review the themes that are emerging from a number of recently or nearly completed  PhD projects in SSH. The projects were highly dependent on digital infrastructure, but the insights reported and what is now identified as “open issues for future work” were seldom mentioned at proposal time.  What does this tell us about the forces determining our next agenda?

Since September 2015 Franciska de Jong is professor of e-Research for the Humanities at Utrecht University and executive director of CLARIN ERIC, the governing body of European research infrastructure CLARIN, which has the objective to provide seamless access to digital language data and processing tools to scholars in the humanities and social sciences across Europe.Franciska de Jong studied Dutch language and literature at the University of Utrecht, did a PhD in theoretical linguistics and started to work on language technology in 1985 at Philips Research where she worked on machine translation. She has been a full professor of language technology at the University of Twente within the Human Media Interaction group since 1992, and is also affiliated to Erasmus University Rotterdam where she is director of the Erasmus Studio.
Currently, her main research interest is in the fields of access technology for digital libraries, text mining, the disclosure of cultural heritage collections (in particular spoken word audio archives), and e-research at large. Since 2008 she has been a member of the Governing Board of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

14.30-15.30 Parallel Sessions

Digital enrichment of concert experiences, by Cynthia Liem, TU Delft
Music consumption has increasingly moved into the digital realm, although it still is a struggle to find sustainable service models capable of handling this new social and media-rich consumption context.
In this talk, we will discuss both recently concluded and ongoing collaborative research work in the field of digital enrichment of concert experiences, which is considered from an interdisciplinary viewpoint involving computer scientists, performing arts institutions, media SMEs, and by now also humanities scholars. We discuss how this interdisciplinary approach has helped in innovating practical workflows, deepening appropriate research directions, and uniting and transforming fundamental perspectives on the problem in various disciplines at once.

Improving access to Holocaust Sources: the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), by Annelies van Nispen, NIOD
The EHRI portal has been online since 2015 and gives access to 152,740 holocaust related archival descriptions in 473 institutions. This is quite an achievement, but EHRI-2 aims to further improve access to Holocaust archival source material  and develop tools & services that support the research  of holocaust researcher, digital humanists and archivists/collection specialists. The lightning talk will:

  • give a short overview of the current EHRI-portal (country reports; archives; archival descriptions) and give some information on the ongoing work of giving access to (in particular Eastern-European) Holocaust archives
  • show sharing & annotations functions,
  • discuss organizing user feedback and the outcome of the usability test of the EHRI portal
  • will touch upon barriers to giving access  to a digital/digitized archive, like privacy protection laws
  • and highlight the plans for future development (work on vocabularies, online courses, document blog, development of data services/API’s )
  • touch upon the development of Digital Holocaust Research Use Cases and more specific the NIOD Holocaust Research Use Case

Interactive publication and on-demand print using dynamically (user-)generated paths, by Pim van Bree & Geert Kessels, Lab1100, Joep Leerssen, UvA
Creation and curation of research data in an online research environment presents two opportunities for its publication. First, the data can be instantly published in various configurations based on a chosen theme, perspective, or narrative. Users are able to explore these pre-configured paths in a user interface. The research data and the paths can constantly updated and reconfigured. Second, users can be given the opportunity to explore the data themselves and generate/annotate a path of their own based a theme, perspective, or interest that is relevant to them. Users can request a physical copy of the curated and user-generated paths by means of a print-on-demand (POD) process. We will discuss this approach by means of our collaboration with the Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms (SPIN) and Amsterdam University Press on SPIN’s Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe (

Getting Insight in Large Collections of Paintings, by Marcel Worring, UvA
Large digital collections of paintings hold tremendous potential for art historic insight. But what is insight and how do we get to it? We present methods that help experts in understanding large visual  collections by combining the strengths of human experts and computers and supporting this process with advanced visualizations.

Digital Scholarship Resources at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, by Martijn Kleppe & Steven Claeyssens, KB
We give 1) an overview of the different collections, services, programs and tools at the KB to facilitate digital scholarship, 2) the research projects the KB participates in and 3) a sneak preview of our new Research Lab, with tools and experimental data sets.

Crowdsourcing & Nichesourcing: Lessons learned from Enriching Collections with Experts & Crowds, by Lora Aroya
Crowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon in cultural heritage, and in the last years is gaining more and more attention. But not all crowdsourcing initiatives are successful, lead to useful data collection and are ultimately replicable. In this presentation we share our experiences with applying crowdsourcing and nichesourcing with a number of cultural heritage collections, e.g. Rijksmuseum, Sound & Vision.

CLARIAH is the Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (, a major initiative funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). During this session, different aspects of the infrastructure will be presented.

  1. Hooking into the Linked Open Data Cloud, Jauco Noordzij, Utrecht University
  • How CLARIAH connects to the Linked Open Data platform
  • Demonstration of the GUI which researchers can use to explore linked data graphs
  • Status update of the guidelines for making sustainable software
  • Status update of the data repositories that have been made
  • And, if time, a demo of the PICCL pipeline
  1. Advanced Search for (Linguistic) Research, Sjef Barbiers, Meertens Institute
  • MIMORE is a CLARIN research tool for dialect research that contains three annotated Dutch dialect databases, search and analysis tools and a cartographic tool to visualize results geographically. This tool has now been integrated into the digital research environment Nederlab, which makes it possible to use Multitier Annotation Search. Demo: some new research possibilities.
  • PaQu makes it possible to search in parsed corpora of spoken and written Dutch without technical knowledge, knowledge of specific query languages or of the data structure. It is also possible to upload, parse and search your own texts in various formats. Demo: a use case that compares the relation between language norms and actual language use.
  • Searching in Linked Open Data: We have converted and published Dutch historic and contemporary lexicons and ontologies to Linked Open Data. Exposing these lexicons as LOD makes it possible to easily create mappings between different ontologies and data models, thus connecting them to sources as DBPedia, Europeana and other available RDF datasets.
  1. The structured data hub: linked data, big and small, Auke Rijpma, Utrecht University
  • Hub aims to solve two issues regarding structured data in economic and social history: using large, complex datasets is difficult for many users; and many small-to-medium size datasets exist that are not shared and not connected to other datasets.
  • Qber demo: tool to upload, annotate, and link small-to-medium datasets.
  • Demo linked data as a platform for storing, sharing, exploring and querying structured data.
  • Grlc demo: reusable and pararametrised queries.
  1. Cooking with Audiovisual Data: Digital Tools in the Media Suite, Julia Noordegraaf, University of Amsterdam & Marijn Koolen, Beeld & Geluid

Media Suite makes audiovisual data en tools available. This presentation will include a short demo of a collection description and of the CKAN environment for data registration. Sustainability is key – connecting collections and functionalities in order to better maintain the Media Suite, and to make it easier and more flexible for future users. The MediaSuite provides details about provenance and missing data, and includes search, analysis and visualisation functionalities, that users can personalize. Datasets can be registered via CKAN, offering an overview of the availability of collections. An automatic workflow connects registration to search engine, and to analysis and visualisation functionalities, leading to greater availability of datasets and tools.


16.45-17.15 Panel Session – Future of Digital Humanities and Social Sciences in the Netherlands


Marjan Slob is an independent writer, critic and moderator. Recent projects include essays for the Ministry of Internal Affairs on ocular democracy, for the national Delta Programme on the core values of Dutch water governance, and for the Rathenau Instituut (an independent institute for science and technology assessment) on evidence based policy. She moderated the meetings of ‘Hacking Habitat: art of control’, a grand art-event which explores ways in which technology might help citizens to resist the tendency of companies and administrations to monitor and nudge them. This April her personal essay on the philosophical implications of brain sciences, Hersenbeest, was published bij Lemniscaat. Marjan has a biweekly column in de Volkskrant. She graduated in philosophy.

Susan Aasman is assistant professor Contemporary History at the University of Groningen. Within a few months, she will move to Media Studies and to the new master Digital Humanities (as program coordinator). She is a member of the board of the Center for Digital Humanities. Her field of expertise is audiovisual culture, media history, amateur media and everyday uses of technologies of memory.

Frans Wiering received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Amsterdam in 1995. For several years he worked at the Department of Computers and Humanities of Utrecht University, where he founded the Thesaurus musicarum italicarum, an online corpus of Italian music treatises from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1999 he moved to the Department of Information and Computing Sciences, where he is currently an Associate Professor at the Interaction Technology division of the department. Additionally, since the end of 2015, he is Digital Humanities Research Fellow at the Faculty of Humanities. His research is at the intersection of computer science and music, and he has participated in several large-scale projects in Music Information Retrieval, such as WITCHRAFT, COGITCH and Transforming Musicology. As a member of the Computational Humanities programme committee he has been closely involved with the Tunes and Tales project.

Sally Wyatt is Professor of ‘digital cultures in development’, Maastricht University, and Programme Leader of the eHumanities Group, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). She originally studied economics (BA McGill, 1976; MA Sussex, 1979), but later did a PhD in science and technology studies (Maastricht, 1998), which focused on different ways of transmitting data over networks. Her current research interests include digital media in the production of knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences, and the ways in which people incorporate the internet into their practices for finding health information. On the latter, she has a new book (together with Anna Harris & Susan Kelly) called CyberGenetics. Health Genetics and New Media, published by Routledge earlier this month. In 2015, she co-edited with Delia Dumitrica a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication, called ‘digital technologies and social transformations, what role for critical theory?’

Joris J. van Zundert is a researcher and developer in the field of digital and computational humanities. He works at the Huygens Institute for the History of The Netherlands, a research institute of The Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He is also program leader of the Methodology research program, which fosters discussion and research on textual scholarship, documentary editing and their relation to digital and computational methods. As a researcher and developer his main interest lies with the possibilities of computational algorithms for the analysis of literary and historic texts, and the nature and properties of humanities information and data modeling. His PhD research focuses on computer science and humanities interaction and the tensions between hermeneutics and ‘big data’ approaches.