Bridging the gap between quantitative and qualitative research in digital newspaper archives

This blog post is written by Thomas Smits, KB Researcher-in-residence from May 2017

One of the central and most far-reaching promises of the so-called Digital Humanities has been the possibility to analyse large datasets of cultural production, such as books, periodicals, and newspapers, in a quantitative way. Since the early 2000s, humanities 3.0, as Rens Bod has called it, was posited as being able to discover new patterns, mostly over long periods of time, that were overlooked by traditional qualitative approaches.[1] In the last couple of weeks a study by a team of academics led by Professor Nello Christianini of the University of Bristol made headlines: “This AI found trends hidden in British history for more than 150 years” (Wired) and “What did Big Data find when it analysed 150 years of British history? (Phys.org). Did Big Data and Humanities 3.0 finally deliver on its promise? And could the KB’s collection of digitised newspapers be used for similar research?

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Farewell; Work on Discerning Journalistic Styles continues!

At the end of December our current researcher-in-residence dr. Frank Harbers of Groningen University ended his project ‘Discerning Journalistic Styles’. In this blogpost he describes the outcomes and plans for the future.

It is January 2017, meaning my period as researcher-in-residence at the KB has come to an end. It also means that my project Discerning Journalistic Styles (DJS) has come to an end. It was a really nice and valuable experience and a fruitful project in which we (I couldn’t have done it without the expertise of KB programmer Juliette Lonij) have managed to create a classification tool that automatically determines the genre of news articles. You can try the tool yourself at: http://www.kbresearch.nl/genre. Just paste a Dutch news article in the text box, press the button below and the result will appear on the right side; simple as that!

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Tackling problems and making progress

Our current Researcher-in-Residence, Frank Harbers, is well under way with his project “Discerning Journalistic Styles. Exploring Automated Analysis of Journalism’s Modes of Expression”. In this blogpost he gives an update on his project and its progress.

Frank Harbers

It has been several months since I wrote the first blog about my work as researcher-in-residence and the research project is in full swing by now. The first phase of the project , connecting the metadata from my own database to the historical newspaper data (and metadata) in Delpher is finished and we are fully enveloped in the main part of the project: training a classifier to automatically determine the genre of historical newspaper articles.

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Abstracts applications for Researcher-in-residence 2017

Below you will find the abstracts that were submitted and unfortunately not accepted for the 2017 run of the Researcher-in-residence programme. The abstracts are in alphabetical order. If your abstract is published here and you would like to have your name posted with it, please contact us and let us know. The accepted projects and their abstracts can be found here.

We want to thank all researchers for their interesting proposals, wish them all the best for 2017 and hope to see them again in a following year!

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Our Researchers-in-residence 2017 will be….

Earlier this year we sent out our Call for Proposals for our Researcher-in-Residence Program 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 their 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.

This year, we received nine proposals that focused on a wide range of datasets and techniques. Last week, a group of seven leading Dutch Digital Humanities professors met at the KB to discuss each proposal thoroughly. Today we are excited to announce the names and projects of our two Researchers-in-Residence 2017!

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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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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 dh@kb.nl 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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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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