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:

  • Puck Wildschut – Roles, relations and references: Towards a computation-based distant reading of narrative-semantic roles in large datasets in Dutch

Since the rise of Russian Formalism in the early 19th century, literary theorists have been interested in finding ways to detect actants (characters) in narratives. The recent rise of computational methods within the humanities offers new ways of tackling this issue. As researcher-in-residence at the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) I am currently involved in a research project1 that aims to develop a computation-based model for analyzing narrative-semantic roles in large datasets in Dutch. The premise of the project is that actantial roles are not only to be detected on the higher level of motive- and theme-building, but also at the linguistic level of semantic roles. Furthermore, the project aims to not only develop a tool for the detection of actantial roles, but also, and more importantly, for discovering the relationships between those roles as they are encoded in language. (…) The poster presentation will show the most up-to-date version of the tool we are developing at the KB and the preliminary results of its implementation. Special prominence will be given to how the issues mentioned are integrated in the tool’s development. The poster aims to show how literarylinguistic theory and computational practice encourage each other in the development process

Full abstract (in pdf) here.

  • Steven Claeyssens – The Ideal Corpus. Towards a Critique of Large Digital Libraries from a Digital Humanities Perspective

Large scale digitisation of historical paper publications enables analyses of vast amounts of digital surrogates using machines, algorithms and software to ‘read’ the texts. However, continuously expanding collections of such texts, like the Google Books corpora, HathiTrust or – closer to home – Delpher, combined with a proliferation of computational approaches to study textual data and the growing number of scholarly disciplines taking part in the Digital Turn, calls for a renewed reflection on two of the key aspects of the research process: source selection and source criticism.  (…) This paper argues that a digital source criticism is urgently needed to tackle the questions raised by these opposing expectations. Researchers and librarians should collaborate closely on this and join forces to define the limits and fits of ‘the ideal corpus’. Inspiration for this definition can, amongst other things, be found in textual criticism, corpus linguistics and analytical bibliography

Full abstract (in pdf) here.

  • Martijn Kleppe & Desmond Elliott – Doing Visual Big Data – Creating the KBK-1M Dataset Containing 1,6 Million Newspaper Images Available for Researchers

The visualisation of news through photographs has exploded since the second half of the 20th century (Kester & Kleppe 2015). However, methods that are employed to analyse the (re)use of visual materials are labour-intensive because Humanities researchers tend to analyse their sources manually (Burke 2001). To estimate the increase in the use of pressphotographs in Dutch newspapers, Kester & Kleppe (2015) e.g manually analysed a sample of 385 newspapers and 5.877 press photographs over the period 1870-2013. To find the recurring use of photographs in Dutch history textbooks, Kleppe (2012) followed a same approach by manually analysing over 5.000 photographs in 400 history textbooks, creating the ‘Foto’s in Nederlandse Geschiedenisschoolboeken (FiNGS) (Photos in Dutch History textbooks) dataset (Kleppe 2013b). Even though manually created and annotated datasets such as FiNGS contain rich & well-annotated data, their scope remains limited given its labour-intensive creation and analyses process. Therefor this poster presents the KBK-1M dataset, that was created specifically for (Digital) Humanities researchers. This dataset contains a collection of 1.603.395 captioned images extracted from Dutch digitised newspapers stored in the Dutch National Library (KB) Newspaper archive of the period 1922-1994. On our poster, we will describe how we obtained the images, what types of research questions it could tailor and how researchers can obtain the dataset for their research purposes.

Full abstract (in pdf) here. See poster below.KBK-1M Poster A1When you are at DHBenelux and if you would like to meet our colleagues, please feel free to approach them during the meeting or at one of the sessions Steven (Digital Textual Analysis II) and Martijn (Digital Art & Culture I) are chairing.

Finally, we are also very happy that during DHBenelux we will launch the call for our Researcher in Residence program 2017 that allows young Digital Humanities researchers to come and work with us in 2017. All details on the call are now online at