Experts bediscussiëren OAIS

Veertien Nederlandse en Vlaamse experts bespraken op uitnodiging van de NCDD hun dilemma’s bij de vertaling naar de praktijk van dé standaard in digitale duurzaamheid: OAIS (ISO 14721). Ze deelden een breed scala aan visies op OAIS. Is OAIS een bijbeltekst? Een magische tempel der waarheid? Een kompas om op te varen? Een donkere dreigende wolk of een wolk met af en toe een verkwikkend buitje? Een venster op je organisatie? Op de buitenwereld? Een vliegtuig, de machinekamer van een schip?

Vertaling naar de praktijk

OAIS is al ruim 15 jaar de internationale standaard die we gebruiken als we het hebben over digitale duurzaamheid. De gemeenschappelijke taal helpt ons bij het communiceren over complexe problemen. OAIS is de beschrijving van een conceptueel model voor digitale duurzaamheid, geen reeks van voorschriften. Je moet het model dus naar je eigen omgeving vertalen. Hoe weet je of je de standaard goed interpreteert? Als de groep van experts het ergens over eens was, dan was het wel de behoefte aan praktijkvoorbeelden. In het Engels is daar een begin mee gemaakt via een wiki OAIS community. Deze NCDD-bijeenkomst zou wel eens de opmaat kunnen zijn voor een Nederlandse variant [daar wordt aan gewerkt].


OAIS in aluminiumfolie

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Lets get to work!

Since 1 July, our new researcher-in-residence dr. Frank Harbers joined our Research Department to work on his project ‘Discerning Journalistic Styles. Exploring Automated Analysis of Journalism’s Modes of Expression’. He will share his experiences through regular blogposts and we’re happy to share his first below. If you would like to be our researcher-in-residence in 2017, please see the Call for Proposals which is currently open.

Frank Harbers

Lets get to work!

Two weeks ago I took the train in Groningen at 7.16 AM and arrived around 10 AM in The Hague to start my fellowship as researcher-in-residence. My first day mainly consisted of tasks of practical and organizational nature (login data, an access pass, printer codes, etc.). Martijn Kleppe gave me a tour of the building with all its corners and corridors. I hadn’t seen more than the general and special collections reading room, where I spent quite some time perusing the original historical newspaper material during my PhD research into the development of the press from the 19th century onwards.

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KB Digital Humanities Team at DH2016

This year we will again be at the Digital Humanities Conference. After visiting the conference in Nebraska, Lausanne and Sydney we very much look forward to meeting international Digital Humanities scholars this year in Cracow, Poland. Three members of our Digital Humanities team will be attending the conference: Juliette Lonij, Steven Claeyssens and Martijn Kleppe.

Juliette Lonij will present a paper together with our former researcher-in-residence Pim Huijnen on his KB project ‘From keyword search to discourse mining – the meaning of scientific management in Dutch vocabulary, 1900-1940’ during the session ‘Extracting textual content 6’, Friday 15 July 2.30-4pm in room MSWB. During the poster session on Wednesday afternoon, Martijn Kleppe will present our new KBK-1M dataset at booth 066: ‘1 Million Dutch Newspaper Images available for researchers: the KBK-1M dataset’. We published both short abstracts below. Martijn is also one of the co-organizers of the AVinDH workshop and will chair a session on ‘Images and Art’ Friday 15 July 11.30 am-1pm in room MADB.

We look forward to the conference and are also eager to get in touch with researchers who are interested in the call for our (fully paid!) Researcher-in-Residence program 2017 which is currently open. If you would like to hear more on our program and possibilities please do not hesitate to approach Steven, Martijn or Juliette if you see them at one of the sessions or breaks. If you want to be sure to meet them you can also send them an email at or send a tweet to our @KBNLResearch account.

Schermafbeelding 2016-07-08 om 08.17.12

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Call for proposals KB Researcher-in-residence 2017

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), National Library of the Netherlands is seeking proposals for its Researcher-in-residence program to start in 2017. This program offers a chance to early career researchers to work in the library with the Digital Humanities team and KB data. In return, we learn how researchers use the data of the KB. Together we will address your research question in a 6 month project using the digital collections of the KB and computational techniques. The output of the project will be incorporated in the KB Research Lab and is ideally beneficial for a larger (scholarly) community.

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FAQ Call for Proposals Researcher-in-Residence 2017

 I don’t live or work in the Netherlands. Can I apply? 
Probably! Contact us at and we’ll discuss your options.

I want to use my own dataset. Is that possible?
Sure! As long as you also use one of the datasets of the KB and it doesn’t limit the publication of the project end results.

I don’t know how to code, is that a problem?
Not at all. We have skilled programmers who can help you with your project or we will try to find a match for you if you prefer someone else. This would mean submitting as a team and will cut the budget in half. Reach out to us to discuss the options.

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KB at DHBenelux 2016

This week, the annual DHBenelux conference will take place in Belval, Luxembourg. It will bring together practically all DH scholars from Belgium (BE), the Netherlands (NE) and Luxembourg (LUX). You can read the full program and all abstracts on the website. Two presentations are by members of our DH team (Steven Claeyssens & Martijn Kleppe) and one presentation is by our current researcher in residence (Puck Wildschut – Radboud University Nijmegen). Please find the first paragraphs of their abstracts below:

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Dataset KBK-1M containing 1.6 Million Newspaper Images available for researchers

Each year the KB invites two academics to come and work with us as researchers in residence: early career researchers who work in the library with our Digital Humanities team and KB Data.  Together we address their research questions in a 6 month project using our digital collection and computational techniques. The output of the project will be incorporated in the KB Research Lab. Today we are happy to announce the output of the PhoCon project (‘Photos in and Out of Context’) by dr. Martijn Kleppe and dr. Desmond Elliott: the KBK-1M Dataset containing 1.6 Million Newspapers Images

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Valid, but not accessible EPUB: crazy fixed layouts

EpubCheck is an invaluable tool for assessing the quality of EPUB files. Still, it is possible that EPUBs that are valid according to the format specification (and thus EpubCheck) are nevertheless inaccessible to some users. Some weeks ago a colleague sent me an EPUB 2 file that produced some really strange behaviour across a number of viewer applications. For a start, the text wouldn’t reflow properly after re-sizing the viewer window, and increasing the font size resulted in garbled text. Running the file through EpubCheck did return some validation errors, but none of these were related to the behaviour I was getting. Closer inspection revealed some very peculiar stylesheet and HTML use.

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The future of EPUB? A first look at the EPUB 3.1 Editor’s draft


About a month ago the International Digital Publishing Forum, the standards body behind the EPUB format, published an Editor’s Draft of EPUB 3.1. This is meant to be the successor of the current 3.0.1 version. IDPC has set up a community review, which allows interested parties to comment on the draft. The proposed changes relative to EPUB 3.0.1 are summarised in this document. A note at the top states (emphasis added by me):

The EPUB working group has opted for a radical change approach to the addition and deletion of features in the 3.1 revision to move the standard aggressively forward with the overarching goals of alignment with the Open Web Platform and simplification of the core specifications.

As Gary McGath pointed out earlier, this is a pretty bold statement for what is essentially a minor version. The authors of the draft also mention that they expect it “will provoke strong reactions both for and against”, and that changes that raise “strong negative reactions” from the community “will be reviewed for future drafts”.

This blog post is an attempt to identify the main implications of the current draft for libraries and archives: to what degree would the proposed changes affect (long-term) accessibility? Since the current draft is particularly notable for its aggressive removal of various existing EPUB features, I will focus on these. These observations are all based on the 30 January 2016 draft of the changes document.

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