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Research

Posted on Monday May 13, 2019

Next Generation Research with Europeana: the Humanities and Cultural Heritage in a Digital Perspective

On the occasion of the Digital Humanities Conference 2019, Europeana Research has organised a pre-conference workshop in Utrecht. It will bring together experts in the Digital Humanities, research data scientists and developers in a panel and a technical session. Join us on Tuesday, 9 July 2019, h 9-13 CEST, at TivoliVredenbug (location: Pit)!

Cultural Heritage represents a source for research in all the fields of the Humanities. Launched 10 years ago and funded by the European Union, Europeana is an unmatched example of a digital platform aimed at the cultural sector, not only in terms of partnerships reach but also of principles of sharing underpinning its creation. The platform currently gives access to 58+ millions of textual and audiovisual sources, provided by 3,700+ institutions: primarily, libraries, museums and archives. It also keeps growing thanks to projects selected on an annual basis under the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme, which funds initiatives that can contribute to “the creation of a European ecosystem of interoperable and interconnected digital services”.

In the past few years, the Europeana Foundation, which manages the platform, has strengthened its position in research. Supported by a research advisory board composed of academics with expertise in the digital humanities, it has developed the Europeana Research initiative. Digital humanists represent Europeana Research’s natural interlocutors, but at the same time, it aims to reach the humanists who are still quite traditional in their attitudes and might become the digital humanists of tomorrow. As part of its mission, Europeana Research facilitates them in their path towards new methodological approaches and research perspectives in regards to the use of digital cultural heritage, also by making available funding opportunities.

The workshop will show the potential of the Europeana Foundation as a partner in research projects that bring together researchers and heritage professionals with a specific interest in research, and/or in initiatives aimed at improving the advanced digital literacy among the researchers in the humanities. To them, the foundation does not offer only a huge amount of digital sources, but also digital tools in the form of APIs. The workshop speakers will address the DH 2019 Conference’s topic - Complexities - reflecting on the positive effects, but also the difficulties, generated by a dimension of research where the role of researchers and the one of IT-developers are both essential, but the main issue remains translating the language of the former into the language of the latter, and vice-versa, when using cultural heritage for their work.

The workshop will be articulated in two sessions: a panel discussion and technical session.

Panel Discussion

Speakers

Moderator

The panel speakers will discuss with the audience best practices and case studies related to the Europeana thematic collections that better lend themselves for extensive use in research, namely, the 1914-1918 Collection (2017), the Manuscripts Collection (2018), and the most recently set up Newspapers Collection (2019).

These collections have been already the focus of research funded by the Europeana Foundation. Berber Hagedoorn and Giovanni Colavizza will present the results of two projects supported in the Europeana Research Grants Programme’s framework. As a researcher in Media and Cultural Studies, Hagedoorn will give an account of her experience in leading research based on data science techniques, specifically, topic modelling and sentiment analysis. Her project aims to develop models suitable for exploring digital collections’ creative reuse and takes the 1914-1918 Collection as a case study. Colavizza will talk more about the second project under the lead of Matteo Romanello that aimed at expanding the features of the Venice Scholar, a citation index of literature related to the history of Venice. As a research data scientist, Colavizza will explain how data processing, machine learning and data analysis have enabled the link between the Venice Scholar and the Europeana platform in order to enrich the citation index with sources that Europeana continuously makes available.

Finally, Lorna Hughes and Seamus Ross will offer an overview of digital collections’ reuse cases and best practices, not only from their perspective of scholars but also from the broader perspective of the Europeana Research Advisory Board, of which they are members. In particular, they will discuss the new research perspectives opened up by the significant amount of sources in the Newspapers Collection, as well as the project and funding opportunities offered by Europeana Research.

Supporting Links

Technical Session

Speakers

Europeana offers a set of APIs - the Europeana REST API - with the goal to provide a service calibrated to the needs of professionals interested in the reuse of digitised or digital-born cultural heritage in education, research and the creative industries. They are all free of charge and require a simple registration. The set includes now the following services: Search API, Record API, Entity API, IIIF API, OAI-PMH and SPARQL services. Next in development is the Annotations API, seen as a high-potential service for research audiences.

The workshop’s second session will be organised as a technical session, where Europeana staff members will introduce the Europeana APIs and will invite the audience to discuss their needs for carrying on their research projects, particularly making use of the Newspapers Collection. It will be structured as follows:

Part I: General introduction of the Europeana APIs

On this part, Hugo Manguinhas and Nuno Freire - who are respectively the Europeana Product Manager API and the Europeana Senior Data Specialist - will introduce the range of APIs that make up the Europeana offer and will explain the model behind them, the Europeana Data Model (EDM). In addition, Manguinhas will make a brief tutorial on the Search and Record API taking Newspapers items as the main exploration use case.

Part II: APIs related to historical Newspapers

Behind the Europeana Newspapers Collection is a set of APIs that apply IIIF as their core technology. This part will walk the audience through the APIs and IIIF, explaining what data is available and how it is structured with a primary focus on the full-text associated with historical Newspapers. Manguinhas will also explain how large amounts of data can be accessed using the OAI-PMH service or downloaded directly as dumps.

Part III: Open discussion and feedback

We will end by asking the audience for feedback, including on how the Europeana APIs could be of use to the Research community.

Supporting Links and Documents

Participants are invited to bring their laptops. Don't forget to register on the DH 2019 Conference website.

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