Annamaria Carusi visits Alfalab

October 14th, 2010 by Joris Van Zundert

We have the pleasure of welcoming Annamaria Carusi of the University of Oxford at Alfalab today. Dr Carusi is Senior Research Associate of the Oxford E-Research Institute, and is currently a visitor of the Virtual Knowledge Studio. She has recently completed a major survey of  Virtual Research Environments, which is highly relevant to Alfalab.

28 Digital Humanties Projects awarded NEH grants

September 6th, 2010 by Smiljana Antonijevic

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced 28 new awards from the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program.  These grants support innovative projects in the digital humanities.

Here is the list of awarded projects.

Alfalab at Knowledge Exchange workshop on VREs

July 20th, 2010 by Smiljana Antonijevic

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.

    Going further

    May 5th, 2010 by Maarten Hoogerwerf

    Last week I talked to colleagues from UBA/DPC and they mentioned their plan to build a VRE for archaeologists. So far it is still a plan, but the interesting thing is that this VRE is supposed to assist researchers in (collaboratively) creating a publication rather than in the “usual” creation and analyzation of research data. Within the Alfalab context this can be a nice example of (forward) vertical integration, for example by allowing researchers to easily transform the methodology and results from their “research” VRE into a publication.

    Of course the opportunities for such assisted transformations are currently limited, but this is about to change with the many developments like SURFfoundations Enhanced Publications, Elseviers Cell or NISOs standardization of supplementary materials.

    Alfalab microtoponym expert meeting

    April 30th, 2010 by Joris Van Zundert

    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

    April 26th, 2010 by Smiljana Antonijevic

    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

    April 23rd, 2010 by Smiljana Antonijevic

    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

    The first Alfalab microtoponym expert meeting

    March 23rd, 2010 by Douwe Zeldenrust

    On April 8th the first Alfalab microtoponym expert meeting will be organised at the Meertens Instituut. The meeting aims to discuss the wishes and demands of researchers who want to use the microtoponyms in a GIS environment. These wishes will be translated into a functional design of a web-based system that will be developed and tested in the coming year. The meeting consists of a brief introduction of Alfalab and microtoponym collection of the Meertens Instituut and a plenary discussion. For more information contact Douwe Zeldenrust (douwe.zeldenrust @

    Are we coming of age?

    March 18th, 2010 by Joris Van Zundert

    We just wrapped up our 4.5 minutes presentations session. René van Horik of DANS ( kept every speaker strictly to their 270 seconds, using a annoying ‘tjing’ sound producing device. With hilarious consequences of course: people pleading and bargaining for 15 extra seconds.

    In the conference room next to the usual suspects (like researchers such as Antal van den Bosch ( and Arjen van Hessen ( we had new faces, but we’re not sure who. They looked like policy makers. Well, if they were I hope we had an interesting talk. The audience seemed to appreciate our message. We lined up with me starting off with a talk about Alfalab en how we hope that will create a common interest between humanities and computational science. Anne stressed the social and usability aspects of such a move. Douwe made the concrete case about microtoponyms. Karina closed our Alfalab-interlude with an overview of eLaborate, the successful transcription and publishing framework for literary editions.

    Now at lunch we’re wandering around at the World Trade Center Rotterdam ( where the conference is based, and  we’re suddenly discovering ourselves as peers amidst the guys from hard core computational science, simulation people, and robotica scientists. During earlier of such mix ups we found ourselves always a bit out of place, to be honest. We were always trying to just catch up with the real players. Now however, we seem to be quite level with what we used to call the ‘tech guys’. Are we indeed realizing an impetus for computational approach in the humanities?

    Karina and Joris demonstrating eLaborate/TextLab

    Karina and Joris demonstrating eLaborate/TextLab

    Douwe at the same event

    Douwe at ICT Delta 2010

    Anne at the ICT Delta 2010

    Anne at the ICT Delta 2010

    Alfalab at work in the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam

    March 11th, 2010 by Douwe Zeldenrust