• 19 April 2023

CLARIAH Tech Day 30 March: A Short Recap

For those who unfortunately missed Open Tech Day last 30 March: here is the day in retrospective.

But first: why do we organize Tech Days in the first place? When organizing these Tech Days, we like to think from the perspective of the researcher and what we can contribute to their process. Furthermore, we think it is useful and important to have regular discussions with other Digital Humanities projects and developers in the Netherlands working on similar topics about the technical solutions, possibilities, preconditions and choices when developing a joint infrastructure, and to make use of the enormous potential of knowledge and expertise present in this broad field. Hence, we always invite various speakers from the broad network of subjects – no Tech Day is the same as the other. Even better: they are freely accessible to everyone and they are hosted both on location and online.

Themes and aspirations

On our last Tech Day, held on 30 March, the public was welcomed to the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in the east of Amsterdam. Known for its robust exterior and labyrinth interior, IISH has functioned as Tech Day’s location numerous times. The day’s narrative centered around the technical necessities of the humanities researcher. Taking aspirations starting with “as a researcher I want/need…” as a starting point, a comprehensive program was assembled. Here are some examples of possible needs and wishes which we pondered:

As a researcher, I want to…

  • ... find data for my research that I can use in a FAIR way;
  • … use, process and analyze geo-information;
  • … align different mentions of the same individual under a single identifier;
  • … analyze data sets that are not accessible due to copyright or privacy protection;
  • … analyze social media data;
  • … find tools that I can use for my research;
  • ... discover interesting and novel patterns in my data.

The answers: presentations about varying tools, resources and methods that provide answers and possibilities for the aspirations mentioned above. Firstly, CLARIAH itself provides FAIR datasets, tools and vocabularies to the community. Our developers are also involved in many diverse projects. Regarding geo-information, CLARIAH is involved in projects such as the Historical & Geographical Information System (hisGIS), which basically allows you to travel in the past. Another peek in the past is provided by BurgerLinker, which allows you to link birth, marriage and death records and how this affected people’s life courses in the past. In short, DH tools can provide you with an new glimpses into the past.


Collaborations surrounding CLARIAH also provide answers to difficulties such as data that is inaccessible due to copyright or privacy protection. SANE (Secure Analysis Environment) may then be the solution: it allows the researcher to run analyses on protected data, either in ‘thinker’ mode (the researcher can view the data) or ‘blind’ mode (the researcher cannot see the data and has to test analysis with example data).

Another example of a project that takes privacy-issues into consideration, is Twi-XL. The Twi-XL project aims to provide access to social media data such as Twitter and webdata for analysis without sharing the raw Twitter posts (which is not allowed). The participation of these kinds of projects in CLARIAH’s Tech Day provide a valuable opportunity to showcase all the work happening within our infrastructure and engage in productive discussion with other projects and developers.

Upcoming Tech Day

Our next Tech Day will also center around data, making it our first Tech & Data Day. This event will be held on Thursday 29 June. Keep an eye on our event calendar for more information. For now, please save the date!