Charles van den Heuvel


Charles van den Heuvel (1956) studied Art History and Archeology at Groningen University with a specialization in the history of architecture, town planning and planning sciences (PhD 1991). He was a librarian and PhD researcher of Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence (Italy) where he lived for 8 years. Since then he worked as a senior-researcher for the universities of Groningen, Utrecht and Maastricht in the Netherlands and for research institutes such as the Maastricht McLuhan Institute. Furthermore, he was as an Inspector of Cultural Heritage for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences and a curator of the cartographical collections of the University Library of Leiden.

Charles’ research interests are history of art, architecture and town planning, history of cartography, history of science and more recently history of library and information sciences. Within the Virtual Knowledge Studio he is involved in various research projects on visualization in history, web archiving for research, expert and lay-expert views in humanities research and cultural heritage.


Paper and Virtual Cities

New methodologies for the use of historical sources in virtual urban cartography.

This project assesses degrees of historical evidence of paper and digital maps in relation to function and context of use. Please see:

Charles  initiated this research project together with Elwin Koster of the Department Information Science Humanities Computing of Groningen University. In this project one PhD researcher is involved on the supervision of John Nerbonne. The project is supported by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO).

Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the 17th century Dutch republic. A web-based humanities’ Collaboratory on Correspondences

A consortium of Dutch universities, research institutes and cultural heritage institutions (Huygens Institute, Utrecht University-Descartes Center, University of Amsterdam, KB-Dutch National Library Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and the Virtual Knowledge Studio) studies the dissemination and appropriation of knowledge using letters of Dutch scholars of the 17th Century. In this project the VKS works together with InfoVizlab/Cyberinfrastructure for network Science Center of Indiana University Bloomington and the Spatial History Lab of Stanford University on dynamic visualizations of circulation of knowledge in the 17th century. Please see:

(Dutch version)

Knowledge Space Lab

The Virtual Knowledge Studio recently started the Knowledge Space Lab in which experiments are set up to visualize and mapping the sciences. Charles is involved in experiments with knowledge visualizations of Paul Otlet, developer of the Universal Decimal Classification system. Please see:

MAPS (Manuscript Annotation and Presentation System)

MAPS focuses on experiences of two distinct groups of users (expers and lay-experts): researchers in the special collections of university libraries and non-professional genealogists in archives that reconstruct historical contexts by means of bottom-up geo-references and annotations, complementary to the Encoded Archival Description standard used by the involved heritage institutions. The project a collaboration between the VKS, the Department of Computing Sciences of Utrecht University, the Dutch National Archives and the cartographical collection of Leiden University Library will be partly developed within the Alfalab. Recently the initiative has been taken to join with the MATCH-maps (Multi-Agent Technology Contextualizing Historical Maps) project of Utrecht University together with the National Archives. This project is designed as a multi-agent environment that complements the MAPS system. It will assist curators in restoring connections between manuscript maps and contextual archival documents and help users in searching for maps.