Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Digitizing Words of Power

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Following an introductory presentation at the conference The Social Life of Methods in Oxford this fall, a pilot project, Digitizing Words of Power, has been presented in Alfalab on December 2nd. A collaborative endeavor of the University of Amsterdam, Virtual Knowledge Studio and Meertens Institute, Digitizing Words of Power is a sub-project of the NWO-VIDI project The Power of Words. Project leader, Dr. Jacqueline Borsje, talked about some of the benefits and problems concerning the role of digital resources in analyzing ‘words of power’. Alfalab team members participating in this project, Anne Beaulieu and Smiljana Antonijevic, focused on challenges of e-research in the humanities scholarship, as well as on the importance of bottom-up initiatives.

Alfalab at Knowledge Exchange workshop on VREs

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Alfalab was recently presented at an international workshop Virtual Research Environments – the next steps. The workshop was held in Rotterdam on June23-24, 2010 and it was prepared and organized by the Knowledge Exchange working group on Virtual Research Environments.

The main aim of the workshop was to extend international dialogue and promote the development of VREs led by researcher needs. The sub-groups concentrated on the following four key themes: technological challenges; organisation & concepts ; researcher needs ; strategic issues.

    Alfalab microtoponym expert meeting

    Friday, April 30th, 2010

    On Monday April 8th the first Alfalab microtoponym expert meeting was held at the Meertens Instituut in Amsterdam. Here is the list of participants and summary report of the meeting: verslag Alfalab Microtopiemen EM 8-4-2010. And here are the presentations held during this meeting: Charles van de Heuvel, Rob Zeeman, Gerke Hoogstra and Douwe Zeldenrust.

    Alfalab at HASTAC 2010 conference

    Monday, April 26th, 2010

    Alfalab has recently been presented at the HASTAC 2010 conference Grand Challenges and Global Innovation, hosted by the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science at the University of Illinois.

    This entirely web-based conference was held in a multiplicity of digital spaces instigated from sites across the globe, and it brought together renown scholars and institutions in the field of digital humanities. The entire conference program, presentations and discussions are available at

    At this conference, Alfalab team was presented in a talk titled Crossing the Unexpected: Benefits and Challenges of Scholarly Collaboration in a Humanities Lab.

    Grab a book to read, celebrate World Book Day

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010

    If you have not done that yet, make sure to grab a book today and devote some time to good old ‘close reading’. Treat your mind and celebrate the World Book Day.

    By celebrating April 23rd as the World Book Day, UNESCO pays a world-wide tribute to books and authors, encouraging people to discover the pleasure of reading, and to gain respect for contributions of all those  brilliant minds who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

    World Book Day message from Director-General of UNESCO

    Alfalab in Oxford

    Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    At this week’s fifth IEEE e-Science conference, held in Oxford, UK from Dec 9-11, Alfalab and its members  are presenting a paper in the Art, Humanities and e-Social Science theme. This paper is entitled Alfalab, Construction and Deconstruction of a Digital Humanities Experiment, by Joris van Zundert (Huygens Institute), Douwe Zeldenrust (Meertens Institute) and Anne Beaulieu (VKS).

    The paper will  be published in the proceedings, and here is the abstract:

    This paper presents project ‘Alfalab’. Alfalab is a collaborative frame work project of the Royal
    Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). It explores the success and fail factors for virtual
    research collaboration and supporting digital infrastructure in the Humanities. It does so by
    delivering a virtual research environment engineered through a virtual R&D collaborative and by drawing in use cases and feedback from Humanities researchers from two research fields: textual
    historical text research and historical GIS-application. The motivation for the project is found in a number of commonly stated factors that seem to be inhibiting general application of virtualized research
    infrastructure in the Humanities. The paper outlines the project’s motivation, key characteristics and
    implementation. One of the pilot applications is described in greater detail.

    Cultural Heritage Online

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

    An international conference Cultural Heritage Online – Empowering Users: An Active Role of User Communities will be held on 15-16 December 2009 in Florence, Italy. The conference is jointly organized by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage, the US Library of Congress, and the Foundation Rinascimento Digitale.

    Observing that the Internet continues to have a significant impact on cultural heritage and humanist research communities—by affecting the way they work, use, exchange and produce knowledge—this conference explores, analyzes, and evaluates the state of the art and future trends in cultural contents on the web.

    The conference addresses a wide range of issues within the main topics of Cultural Heritage and Interactive Web, Digital Humanities, Digital Preservation and the like, and it brings together prominent international scholars, such as Dan Cohen, the George Mason University professor and the Director  of the Center for History and New Media; Laura Campbell, the Director of the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress; Daniel Teruggi, the Head of Research and Coordinator of the Presto Space project, Institut national de l’Audiovisuel, and many other experts in the field of digital humanities.

    At the conference plenary session, the Alfalab team member, Smiljana Antonijevic, will present her work on trust in online Interaction.

    TekstLab and Community Building

    Thursday, November 19th, 2009

    Representing TekstLab and the Huygens Institute Ronald and I are attending the ‘Interedition’ ( meeting on ‘Current Issues in Digitally Supported Collation’. Ronald and I have been presenting CollateX, a digital text collation tool that was well received by this scholarly community. Discussions were also on how larger infrastructures supporting scholarly work (or humanities in general) could be successfully conceived and implemented. The meeting yielded a number of main focuses or target areas that any infrastructure initiative should take seriously into account. They’re a sort of ‘usual suspects’ but still I think they’re also relevant to Alfalab as a sort of ‘check list’, are we paying enough attention to:

    • Institutional backing for organizing, networking and dissemination
    • Continued funding possibilities
    • Community building
    • Teaching
    • Open, light weight and distributed technological solutions for machine interfaces
    • Tangible user interfaces

    I think viable infrastructure will only arise if all those topics are tended to sufficiently. But in this case I draw special attention to teaching. It’s very clear from this meeting that at least this community lacks possibilities to carry its very valuable knowledge on computational solutions over to the next generation of scholars (current students). For me that feels like all that gained knowledge and experience on computational possibilities is not finding enough momentum in a very important part of the community: the future researchers. Indeed I got some worrying signals from early stage researchers that they only got to know about initiatives like these (and Alfalab?) when they all but reached the level of post doc applications.

    CATCH symposium 13 November 2009

    Monday, November 9th, 2009

    On Friday November 13th NWO (The Netherlands Science Foundation) organizes a symposium on the progress and future of the CATCH program. (See CATCH stands for Continuous Access to Cultural Heritage.  Since 2005 CATCH finances teams which focus on improving the cross-fertilisation between scientific research and cultural heritage. Douwe Zeldenrust will attend the symposium on behalf of Alfalab. Smiljana Antonijevic will attend the symposium on behalf of the VKS.