KB Research

Research at the National Library of the Netherlands

Month: October 2013

The KB, Big data and digital humanities at the kick off of the Dutch weekend of Science

The KB, Big data and digital humanities at the kick off of the Dutch weekend of  Science

The KB gave a presentation at  the Science dinner, the official kick off of the Dutch weekend of Science. Main theme of the walking dinner was digital treasures.

The Science dinner at the Van Nelle fabriek

The Science dinner at the Van Nelle fabriek

In between courses there were presentations which all related to this theme.  The first presentation was delivered by the KB.

The future of the KB is digital. Material is being digitized at a fast pace and important progress is made in the area of digital services. The aim is to increase the outreach and actively encourage the use of the rich KB collection.

To show what can be done with all this new data the KB invited three guests to give their vision on the use of big data in their field of work:

What is their relationship with Big Data and Digital Humanities? How do they see the future of  Digital Humanities and the use of Big data? What fascinates them when it comes to new possibilities?

To illustrate their relationship with Big data  introductory films have been made:

(English subtitles available by clicking  the Watch on Youtube button)

“For heritage research Big Data is a whole new and exciting field”

Julia Noordegraaf, Professor of Heritage and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam


 “Science asks the question: what is knowledge? Art approaches this theme poetically by speculating and creating things.” Geert Mul, Media artist

“I have a love-hate relationship with the use of computers for language research” Professor Marc van Oostendorp of  Leiden University and the first digital humanities fellow of the KB

Save our preservation tool kit!

Author: Barbara Sierman
Originally posted on: http://digitalpreservation.nl/seeds/save-our-preservation-tool-kit/

Jan Luyken Tea and coffy tool kit. Courtesey Rijksmuseum, Netherlands

The recent US Government shut down should make all people involved in digital preservation thinking, if not worrying. I gave some feedback in Simon Tanners blog post  , but the weekend helped to ponder a bit more about this topic.

We have always said, digital preservation is an international activity and we act like that, by having international collaboration in various areas. Sometimes one organisation starts a very good initiative and we all like to make use of the results, like PRONOM (TNA), FITS (Harvard), JHOVE, OPF, NDSA, DCC, DPC,  PREMIS  at the Library of Congress. Oops… due to the US government shut down this one was no longer available via the well known URL. Although the LoC website has recently be restored (5-10-2013), many more sites are still not available, like for example data.gov . So we could say that the digital preservation community is affected by the US Government shut down, and not only because we can’t have our regular meetings with the preservation people of the Library of Congress.

Have we been naïve as digital preservationists? This is not the first time the US Government shuts down, it also happened in  1995 and 1996 and before. But at that time the web was less influential on our daily activities and we were less dependent of it. Things have changed and we work with the web all day. But we might have been a little bit naïve in expecting things to be there, while our daily job is based on the expectation that things will not always be there. We try to save things. But we don’t have a rescue plan for the information we are dependent on in our processing activities. We might need registries at ingest and transformations and reference works when doing risk assessment of file formats and new object types. But we don’t have an overview of these vital sources that together make our digital preservation tool kit: standards,registries, software, reference works etc. All things that are only accessible from one place are principally in danger – the same rule we’ll apply for our preserved digital collections. What happened in the US can also happen somewhere else.

I would suggest to create an overview of our digital preservation tool kit, the vital elements without which we cannot work,  and be reassured that their availability will no longer be restricted to one place. They should be present on various mirror sites. This activity really requires collaboration, but we already have the infrastructure for that. It is now important to make use of it. We should see this US Government shut down as a wake up call, it is not too late yet.

KB director in This Week in Libraries TWIL #103: The European Library

Watch KB director general Bas Savenije on This Week in Libraries talk on how KB, a national library, will integrate its infrastructure with that of public libraries. Also good stuff on why Europe needs to work together  in The European Library : ‘by working together on developing tools and services you can all share, you free up efforts in your library for other services you can offer your users!’


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