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Posted on Friday April 21, 2023

Updated on Thursday April 11, 2024

AI tools in perspective: the potential for cultural heritage institutions, the responses of DH researchers

This event, hosted by the Europeana research community, offered a space to exchange thoughts and experiences on the use of AI tools. 

Between February and April 2023, the Europeana Research Community’s discussion list saw an unusual flow of messages.on the hot topic of the moment: ChatGPT, other AI-powered bots and search engines.

This lively debate resulted in a clear call to action for the community: organising an online event where the community could gather and exchange views on the topic. The community was aware that no event could address all the possible aspects relating to the use of AI tools even when limiting the focus to cultural heritage as a source for their application, but in the event, three invited speakers shed light on clear or emerging expectations towards these tools in the cultural heritage sector. One focused on libraries, one on museums, and one on archives. The speakers then opened to the floor to the audience with the aim of soliciting a response on the potential and limits of these tools especially from experts in digital humanities.

The event took place on 4 May 2023.


Dr Steven Claeyssens, KB | Royal Library of the Netherlands


Dr. Heli Kautonen is Library Director at the Finnish Literature Society. She is a member of the Executive Board of LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, and Chair of the LIBER Quarterly Editorial Board, the peer reviewed Open Access journal of LIBER. Heli Kautonen’s current research interests focus on the adaption of new information and communication technologies, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the work processes and services of research libraries. She contemplates the questions of Anthropocene, mnemnotechnology, and cultural sustainability through the lense of information science and by applying a designerly approach.

Dr. Allison Kupietzky is Collections Database Manager at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and is responsible for the development, construction, and maintenance of the museum-wide information system, including its Collections Management (CMS) and its Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems. Dr. Kupietzky is currently conducting research on Artificial intelligence (AI) and its uses in cataloguing museum collections, and has presented on topics such as cataloguing large photo collections and using AI and crowdsourcing to address bias in metadata generation for intangible heritage. This research was presented in 2022 at the following conferences: PhotoConsortium and Citizen Heritage Conference in Pisa and at the Image & Research Conference in Girona.

Eng Sengsavang is Reference Archivist at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France. She holds dual master’s degrees in Archival and Library Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her current research, as part of the interdisciplinary project InterPARES Trust AI, is focused on archives, digitization, and artificial intelligence. She is co-editor of Recordkeeping in International Organizations: Archives in Transition in Digital, Networked Environments (Routledge, 2021). She has conducted workshops for Magnum Photos, the Institute National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), and the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem. Most recently, she completed a research residency at Faberllull in Olot, Spain.


Dr Seamus Ross is a Professor of Information at the University of Toronto. Dr. Ross’s scholarly research has focused on Digital Preservation/Curation, digital archaeology, semantic extraction and genre classification, cultural heritage informatics, and knowledge representation and reasoning. His publications include studies of “Digital Archaeology”, and forensic storage formats, digital preservation and archival science, and some every realy work knowledge-based systems. Dr Ross’s research has been supported such funding agencies as the European Commission’s funding programs, the Joint Information Systems Committee in the UK, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), among others. He teaches a graduate course on Human Values in Data Science, which explores AI/ML and moral and ethical issues. He is a member of the Europeana Research Advisory Board.