• 13 April 2023

Three projects selected for the Heritage Data Research Project

Last December, CLARIAH opened a call for research projects using data from Dutch heritage institutions. The aim is to provide access for researchers to new data and to give heritage institutions the opportunity to have their data developed and disseminated. Now, three projects have been selected.

During the official kick-off presentation session held on February 12, the researchers that received the grant presented their projects. The involved researchers were able to discuss their projects, ask questions and share the potential challenges ahead. The session was hosted by Dirk van Miert (PI at CLARIAH) and Jetze Touber (Data Station Manager at DANS). The CLARIAH-PLUS partner DANS has coordinated the call for proposals and is heavily involved in the expert support offered to the projects. According to Touber, the projects are a great showcase for how CLARIAH should be able to accommodate all kinds of datasets. According to him, they engage the broader humanities community and create awareness of the possibilities.

What does the Heritage Data Research Project entail?

The overall objective is to make more datasets available for Digital Humanities research and to widen CLARIAH’s content provider community. During this project, the FAIRness of data sets plays a significant role – FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. These data projects are a pilot to test and evolve FAIRification.

The funded projects receive 35.000 euros, 8 months of time and extensive support. Around each project, a Data Steward team is formed. This team consists of Data Stewards/PI of the grant receiving institution, the CLARIAH Chief Data Officer, engineers from the CLARIAH and NDE infrastructure and selected members of the CLARIAH Interest Group Curation. All research output and datasets will be made available through the CLARIAH-infrastructure and Ineo. It will also contribute to future SSH data infrastructures.

The three chosen projects

These projects will receive funding: Thunnis van Oort’s PARAWARD, Leon van Wissen’s FAIR Photos, and Amaury de Vicq’s TW-NL.

Thunnis van Oort: PARAWARD, “The Paramaribo Ward Registers: Time Machine of a Colonial City”

Thunnis van Oort (Radboud University) is no stranger to CLARIAH: he was one of the 2021 fellows with his project “Women of Colour and their Environment. Linking data on Paramaribo (1846)”. This is the project that he can now continue with and expand. During the current project, van Oort works with a detailed register kept from 1828-1846 in the Surinamese city Paramaribo. The registers contain rich information with names, age, occupation, ethnicity and religion of (free) inhabitants, as well as the number of enslaved people living on an address. During this project, he aims to harmonize this data and make it available as a FAIR database that can be used for both scholarly research as well as by a wider public for family history.

Leon van Wissen: FAIR Photos, “Making Photos FAIR: Transforming a Collection of Two Million Historical Press Photos Into Five Star Data”

With his project, Leon van Wissen (University of Amsterdam) aims to enrich the metadata of the collection of the Fotopersbureau De Boer (Noord-Hollands Archief). This collection is notable for its abundance of subjects and size and contains valuable material for research on current topics and provides a glimpse into the everyday lives of people. The collection is accessible through the archive’s website, however, it cannot easily be used due to its lack of standardization and the omission of external references. Van Wissen therefore aims to link the metadata of the collection to thesauri of locations, persons, and keywords to further open up the collection for use in research and the cultural heritage sector.

Amaury de Vicq: TW-NL, “Tracing Wealth: Individual Level Micro-Data on Dutch Inherited Wealth”

With the “Tracing Wealth” project, Amaury de Vicq (University of Groningen) aims to link the Memories Database with the civil registry datasets available in CLARIAH and LINKS. The so-called Memories Database contains detailed information on the end-of-life portfolios for a representative sample of people who passed away in The Netherlands in 1921. This project will enrich both the CLARIAH data coverage, which is still lacking wealth-information, and the Memories Database by providing more socioeconomic details on the individual level. The integrated Memories Database resulting from “Tracing Wealth” can be used to answer questions related to intergenerational wealth patterns. It will also allow future researchers to answer other questions that lie at the frontier of current research in economics and the broader social sciences.