KB Research

Research at the National Library of the Netherlands

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Preserving optical media from the command line

The KB has quite a large collection of offline optical media, such as CD-ROMs, DVDs and audio CDs. We’re currently investigating how to stabilise the contents of these materials using disk imaging. During the initial phase of this work I did a number of tests with various open-source tools. It’s doubtful whether we’ll end up using these same tools in our actual workflows. The main reason for this is the sheer size of the collection, which we estimated at some 15,000 physical carriers; possibly even more. At those volumes we will need a solution that involves the use of a disk robot, and these often require dedicated software (we still need to investigate this more in-depth).

Nevertheless, throughout the initial testing phase I was surprised at the number of useful tools that are available in the open source domain. Since this will probably be of interest to others as well, I decided to polish a selection from my rough working notes into a somewhat more digestible form (or so I hope!). I edited my original notes down to the following topics:

  • How to figure out the device path of the CD drive
  • How to create an ISO image from a CD-ROM or DVD
  • How to check the integrity of the created ISO image
  • How to extract audio from an audio CD

In addition there’s a final section that covers my attempts at imaging a multisession / mixed mode CD. The result of this particular exercise wasn’t all that successful, but I included it anyway, as some may find it useful. All software mentioned here are open-source tools that are available for any modern Linux distribution (I’m using Linux Mint myself). Some can be used under Windows as well using Cygwin.

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Extension deadline KB Researcher-in-residence to 8 November!

Good news everyone!

We are able to extend the deadline for your submission for the KB Researcher-in-residence with a week. That means you don’t have to work this weekend to get your proposal in order, but you can leave that until 8 November!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your proposal, feel free to contact us at dh@kb.nl.

Read the full Call, Terms & Conditions and FAQ for more information.

Praat mee over OAIS!

Vandaag krijgt de duurzaamheidstandaard OAIS (ISO 14721) een eigen plek op internet: de OAIS wiki

OAIS_Logo-wikiDe OAIS standaard  is in de loop der jaren een cruciale leidraad in onze “digital preservation community” geworden.  Het is in ons belang dat deze standaard blijft aansluiten bij onze dagelijkse praktijk. Inmiddels weten we steeds beter hoe we duurzame toegankelijkheid tot onze digitale collecties moeten organiseren. Sluit de OAIS standaard nog wel aan bij deze ontwikkelingen?

Een wiki voor OAIS
Het idee voor deze wiki ontstond vorig jaar op de 4C/DPC Conference en is verder uitgewerkt door William Kilbride (DPC), Hervé L’Hours (UKDA), Paul Wheatley (DPC) en mijzelf (KB). Wat staat ons voor ogen?
Een plek voor discussie over OAIS en voor het delen van ervaringen. Voor iedereen die bezig is met digitale duurzaamheid in onze “community of practice”. De OAIS standaard mag dan algemeen bekend zijn, de toepassing ervan roept nogal eens vragen op en interpretatieverschillen leiden soms tot verwarring. Het delen van visies kan helpen de praktische invulling te realiseren. Voorbeelden en oplossingen van collega’s kunnen inspirerend werken in de eigen omgeving. Deze wiki wil een centrale plek worden waar iedereen terecht kan om OAIS gerelateerde kwesties te bediscussiëren. Op deze manier kunnen we de OAIS standaard levend houden en blijvend laten aansluiten op onze dagelijkse werkzaamheden.

ISO 5-jaar review in 2017
Er is nog een reden om nu over de relevantie van de OAIS standaard te discussiëren. In 2017 start het proces van de reguliere 5-jaarlijkse ISO review van de OAIS standaard. Dit geeft ons de kans wijzigingen op de standaard voor te stellen. Daarom hebben we de volledige OAIS standaard tekst op de wiki gezet, met een mogelijkheid om commentaar te geven en hierover onderling te discussiëren.
Wij willen deze bijdragen gebruiken om goed beslagen ten ijs te komen voor deze review. Op basis van het commentaar op OAIS, zal een commissie voorstellen voor aanpassingen in de ISO standaard doen. Daarnaast zullen we goed uitzoeken welke officiële kanalen bewandeld moeten worden om deze voorstellen bij ISO in te brengen.

Doe mee en help de OAIS standaard blijvend actueel te houden. Wat let je nog? Ga naar de wiki, registreer je en draag je steentje bij!

Symposium Announcement: ‘Open Data for the Social Sciences and Humanities’


Date: Friday October 30th 2015, 12.00 – 17.00 Location: National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague (KB), auditorium

The Talk of Europe – Travelling CLARIN Campus project aims to facilitate and stimulate pan-European collaboration in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Computer Science, based on the proceedings of the European Parliament (EP) by organising three international creative camps in 2014 and 2015. These proceedings are a rich source for humanities and social sciences researchers that focus on areas such as European History, integration and politics. Given their multilinguality they are also a rich source for linguists. The Talk of Europe (TOE) project team has made these proceeding available as Linked Data for reuse and research purposes. The creative camps intend to stimulate and explore this rich source by bringing together academics from the humanities, social sciences, computer science and related disciplines. The Talk of Europe project, an initiative of CLARIN ERIC and CLARIN-NL made possible by NWO and OCW support is a collaboration of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), VU University Amsterdam (VUA), National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), DANS and Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NISV).
For more information, see: http://www.talkofeurope.eu/

The third and final Creative Camp will be organised from 26 – 30 October 2015 at the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague. On Friday, October 30th a free public symposium will be held, titled ‘Open Data for the Social Sciences and Humanities’. All those interested are invited to attend. Participants can look forward to the following invited talks, which are sure to inspire and ignite discussion and debate:

12.00-13.00         Lunch buffet

13.00-13.45        ‘Measuring Political and Social Phenomena on the Web’
Presentation by prof. dr. Markus Strohmaier

Markus Strohmaier is a Full Prof. dr. Markus StrohmaierProfessor of Web-Science at the Faculty of Computer Science at University of Koblenz-Landau, Scientific Director of the Computational Social Science department at GESIS – the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. His main research interests include Web-Science, Social and Semantic Computing, Social Software Engineering, Networks and Data Mining.

See: http://markusstrohmaier.info/

14.00-14.45       Presentations by two teams participating in Talk of Europe                                   Creative Camp #3

15.00-15.30       ‘Who killed whom in the Gaza war? Using syntactic information for relational corpus analysis’
Presentation by Wouter van Atteveldt and Kasper Welbers

vanatteveldtWouter van Atteveldt is assistant professor at the VU University of Amsterdam, department of Communication Sciences. He studies political communication, especially the antecedents and consequences of mass media coverage of political discourse. His research has a strong methodological focus on using AI / Computational NLP techniques to improve automatic text (content) analysis. For more information, see: http://vanatteveldt.com/

Kasper Wwelberselbers works at the VU University of Amsterdam as a PhD candidate. In his research he focuses on the changes in the gatekeeping process due to the proliferation of digital media technologies. Specifically, he studies the interaction between gatekeepers, by using automatic content analysis to trace news diffusion patterns.

15.30-16.00         Presentation by Maarten Brinkerink 

Maarten Brinkerbrinkerinkink is Specialist Public Participation and Innovative Access for the Department of Knowledge and Innovation at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. He coordinates the contribution of the institute in (inter) national research projects a
nd contributes to its strategic policy. Brinkerink strengthens the wider heritage sector by participating in initiatives such as Open Data and Culture Network Digital Heritage.
For more information, see: http://www.beeldengeluid.nl/en/kennis/experts/maarten-brinkerink

15.45-16.30       Drinks

There is no charge for this symposium (lunch included), but registration is requested. If you would like to attend the event, please send a short message to Jill Briggeman (briggeman@eshcc.eur.nl).
For more information, see: http://www.talkofeurope.eu/2015/10/symposium-announcement/

Address National Library (auditorium):
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof  5
2595 BE The Hague
Directions can be found here: https://www.kb.nl/en/visitors/address-and-directions

Call for proposals KB Researcher-in-residence

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), National Library of the Netherlands is seeking proposals for its Researcher-in-residence program. 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.

The KB and digitisation

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), National Library of the Netherlands  is a research library with a broad collection in the fields of Dutch history, culture and society, and as a national library collects and stores all (digital) publications that appear in the Netherlands, as well as a part of the international publications about the Netherlands. The KB has planned to have digitised and OCRed its entire collection of books, periodicals and newspapers from 1470 onward by the year 2030. Already in 2013, 10% of this enormous task was completed, resulting in 73 million digitised pages, either from the KB itself or via public-private partnerships as Google Books and ProQuest. Over 1 million books, newspapers and magazines are currently available via the search portal www.delpher.nl.


The project will be carried out in the Research Department of the KB and there will be two consecutive placements in 2016.

Who are we looking for?

Early career researchers who are:

  • PhD-students or have obtained their PhD between 2010 and 2015,
  • Employed at a university or research institute in the EU,
  • Interested in using one (or more) of the digital collections of the KB,
  • Available for 0.5 fte over a period of 6 months (Jan – Jun 2016 or Jul – Dec 2016) and able to spend at least 1 day a week at the KB.

What can we offer you?

  • A secondment with the KB,
  • Access to all data sets of the KB,
  • An office space,
  • Travel costs within the Netherlands,
  • Support from a programmer, collection and data specialists.

Which collections do we have?

You can use any digital collection of the KB and even combine it with an external collection, if copyright allows. Several of our digitised collections are described in more detail on our website, such as the parliamentary papers and the medieval illuminated manuscripts.

You can also browse through our collection of more than 1 million newspapers, magazines, radio bulletins and books on Delpher.nl.

What kind of projects are we looking for?

We’re open to all kinds of projects that use our data and benefit your research and other users of the KB and/or the KB Research Lab. Read our blog for more inspiration.

One of the previous Researchers-in-residence has worked on a best practice method for concept searching using keyword generation. Another team has worked on creating a data set that makes image similarity search a real possibility for all photos in our digitised historical newspapers.

For answer to more questions, read our FAQ. Please also read the terms of this call and placement. Respondents are urged to contact dh@kb.nl in advance of proposal submission to discuss eligibility, project details, prerequisites, and KB support with the Digital Humanities team.

How do I apply?

Fill out this form before 1 8 November 2015 to submit your project. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions of this call and agree to them. You will be notified of the outcome in December.

FAQ KB Researcher-in-residence

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 sets 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.

I don’t speak Dutch. Is your content still interesting to me?
That depends on your research question :) It might not be so appealing to linguists, but could offer an novel collection for computer scientists. Contact us to see which collections we have and we can discuss what might be the most interesting set for you.

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Terms and conditions of the KB Researcher-in-residence programme

This programme as detailed at the KB-website (“Programme”) is operated by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands (“KB”), Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5 (2509 LK) Den Haag, The Netherlands.

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“FoCon – Foto’s in en uit context” door dr. Martijn Kleppe

Deze blogpost is geschreven door dr. Martijn Kleppe en is herblogt van www.martijnkleppe.nl (17 april 2015). Sinds publicatie zijn enkele zaken binnen het onderzoek aangepast. Binnenkort schrijft Martijn hierover een uitgebreidere, Engelstalige blog.

Sinds 1 april ben ik voor een half jaar ‘onderzoeker te gast’ op de onderzoeksafdeling van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek om te werken aan mijn project ‘FoCon – Foto’s in en uit context’. Het is een erg leuke kans omdat ik de ruimte krijg om de digitale kranten– en tijdschriftencollectie alsmede het webarchief van de KB te verkennen waarbij ik me vooral richt op het gepubliceerde beeldmateriaal.

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Digitale “eerste drukken”

Deze blog is geschreven door Barbara Sierman

Voor een papieren eerste druk van een werk worden vaak hoge bedragen neergeteld. Maar hoe zit dat met digitaal? Kun je dan ook van een “eerste druk” spreken? Digitaal materiaal is immers snel te verspreiden en makkelijk aan te passen. Wie bepaalt die “eerste druk”?
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De Keepers Extra meeting

Deze post is geschreven door Barbara Sierman

De Keepers Registry is een database, waarin de instellingen die digitale wetenschappelijke tijdschriften voor de lange termijn toegankelijk houden, hun titelinformatie en bijbehorende holdings aanleveren. Op deze manier weet je van welk tijdschrift de duurzame toegankelijkheid gegarandeerd wordt en door wie. Instellingen als de Library of Congress, Portico, CLOCKSS en de National Science Library in China sturen, net als de KB, hun informatie toe. De dekkingsgraad is volgens Peter Burnhill, oprichter van de Keepers Registry op dit moment zo’n 17%. We zijn er dus nog lang niet en dat is een risico voor de wetenschap, die immers voortbouwt op eerder verschenen werk en afhankelijk is van de toegang daartoe.
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