Audio-visual Collections and the User Need of Scholars in the Humanities - New trends in eHumanities

Stef Scagliola, Erasmus University Rotterdam Franciska de Jong, University of Twente and Erasmus Studio for e-research – Erasmus University Rotterdam Roeland Ordelman, University of Twente


March 29, 2012

Audio-visual Collections and the User Needs of Scholars in the Humanities;
a Case for Co-Development
One of the key factors for success of e-Humanities projects is the model of collaboration between humanities  scholars and ICT developers. Experience in a series of multidisciplinary projects aiming at the advancement of access and use of audiovisual archives has shown some recurring patterns that impede a smooth integration of perspectives. A first attempt to describe and analyse these patterns can be found in the attached paper (published in the Proceedings of Supporting Digital Humanties 2011, Copenhagen) One of the observations is that ICT-researchers who design tools for humanities researchers are less inclined to take into account that each stage of the scholarly research process requires ICT-support in different ways. Likewise scholars in the humanities often have prejudices concerning ICT-tools, based on lack of knowledge and fears of technology-driven agendas. The paper argues that the gap between the mindset of ICT-researchers and that of archivists and scholars in the humanities can be bridged by offering a better insight into the variety of uses of digital collections and a user-inspired classification of ICT-tools. Such an overview is presented in the form of a typology for the audio-visual realm with examples of what role digital audio-visual archives can play at various stages of the research process. Readers are encouraged to give feedback and references to relevant literature so that this paper can develop into an article for a journal in the field of e-humanities.

link to the full paper:

Prof. dr. Franciska de Jong is professor of language technology at the University of Twente and director of the Erasmus Studio for e-research at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She has a background in theoretical linguistics but switched to the area of computational linguistics and human language technology in 1985. Her current research focus is the field of multimedia indexing, text mining, cross-language information retrieval and the disclosure of spoken word content and cultural heritage collections for scholarly use. She was principal investigator of the NWO-CATCH project CHoral (2006-2011) and involved in more than 10 EC funded project throughout FP4-FP7. She is currently coordinating FP7 project PuppyIR.

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Roeland Ordelman is a senior researcher Multimedia Retrieval at the University of Twente (PhD 2003). Manager R&D at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and founder of a start-up company for audio search technology, Cross Media Interaction (X-MI). He is co-organizer of the Rich Speech Retrieval task in the MediaEval benchmark evaluation series. The main focus of his work is deploying state-of-the-art access technology in real-life scenarios aiming to enhance the exploitability of audiovisual content for various types of user groups such as professional archivists, broadcast professionals, researchers, and home users. Recent projects are among others AXES (Access to Audiovisual Archives), LiWA (internetarchiving), Verteld Verleden (distributed access to Oral History) and COMMIT (rich speech retrieval).

Stef Scagliola holds a PhD in Contemporary History from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. From 2006-2011 she was the coordinator of an oral history project conducted at the Netherlands Institute for Veterans resulting in a collection of 1000 life-history interviews from among a representative sample of Dutch war and military mission veterans. Through this ‘digital born’ initiative she became involved in various ICT-projects which aim at developing adequate tools and data standards for researchers who work with qualitative data. Currently she is a researcher at the Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication where she is involved in the design and evaluation of the usability aspects for scholarly users in AXES and CroMe, projects aiming at the application of access technology for multimedia content. For the Erasmus Studio she will guide the development of courseware and methodological training for humanities researchers with an interest in multimedia content collections.