My new project on deep learning to contextually enrich digital heritage collections

I was awarded the Thinkering Grant, the C²DH grant to experiment with technological and digital tools for the interpretation and presentation of history

Finding new historical insights and innovative forms of narrative are at the centre of C²DH’s activities

With this project, I aim to offer a methodological contribution to digital humanities by exploring the value of reusing and advancing existing knowledge. Specifically, I will experiment with different state-of-the-art NLP techniques for both enriching digital data with contextual information (e.g., geographical, historical, topical, emotional) and visualising it. The long-term goal is to devise a generalisable, interoperable workflow that could assist researchers in both these tasks.


Three urgent challenges in DH and computer science

It is true that in recent years, researchers, libraries, archives and museums have worked towards developing new tools and methods for exploring and enhancing digital collections. However, what is still missing is the creation of a transparent and versatile method that could be applied transversely across different data-sets. As a matter of fact, what typically still tends to happen in DH projects is that the focus is on tools rather than on methods which ultimately means that ad hoc tools built around specific data-sets can hardly ever be reused on other collections. This issue is closely related to that of transparency and replicability in DH due to the lack of data access, unclear methodological processes, or standardised practices. The third issue is how to realize interdisciplinarity not only between the humanities and the sciences but also across the humanities. Whereas computer science delivers solutions to automate or semi-automate analytical processes, different close-reading approaches continue to be largely preferred in the humanities.

The output will be a flexible, scalable workflow that can be replicated, reused, and built upon by other scholars working on enriching digital collections

This project promotes transparency in DH research and perfectly aligns with the C²DH mission of becoming the world leading centre in developing and applying digital tools and methodologies for contemporary history. Stay tuned for more updates!


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