Materia on the Move: Trade & Colonisation of Collections - Digital Studies in Provenance

workshop / tutorial
  1. 1. Kalliopi Zervanou

    Eindhoven University of Technology

  2. 2. Toine Pieters

    Utrecht University

Work text
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The transfer of ideas, knowledge and culture is linked with the transfer and interpretation of objects, be it art objects, tools or natural specimens, such as plants, minerals, and animals. These objects have been removed from their natural cultural and environmental context into collections. Being mediums of knowledge transfer and evolution, objects move in both space and time. In time, as objects are relocated and re-studied, new interpretations of the objects and relations between them are formed in accordance to scientific and political, ethical and societal developments. In space, they move along trade networks and are discussed in communication networks.
Currently, digitised cultural heritage data, such as art collections, letters, digitised manuscripts, archival material, and natural history specimens, present an unprecedented opportunity for humanities researchers investigating various aspects of such object trajectories:
- by connecting and integrating disparate data sources to re-contextualise lost historical and cultural contexts;
- by extraction of information from historical and modern document sources;
- by developing metadata that capture the evolution of knowledge and the information content of available digitised sources;
- by developing algorithms for combining available information
This workshop aims to bring together researchers from various humanities disciplines, such as history, ethnography and archaeology, with the established guardians of collections, namely researchers in archival, library, museum studies and information science professionals and stakeholders to present and discuss approaches in tracing and documenting provence, be it geographical or cultural and ideological.
Topics of interest include:
• Use of linked data for data integration
• Approaches to metadata and knowledge resource development
• Historical information modelling
• Use of geographical information & historical location resolution
• Processing of textual sources for information related to transferred objects
• Tracing knowledge through scientific and/or commercial networks

Workshop leaders:

Dr. Kalliopi Zervanou is a computational linguist and currently a lecturer in Information Systems at the Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences department in Eindhoven University of Technology. Since 2009, she has been actively involved in digital humanities in a series of projects and as a leading member of the computational linguistics digital humanities community, both as programme chair of the LaTeCH workshop series, as well as founding member of the respective ACL Special Interest Group, SIGHUM, which she also serves as elected secretary for three consecutive terms, since 2013. Her current research focuses on historical data modelling issues and event extraction from texts.

Prof. Toine Pieters is Professor of the History of Pharmacy and Allied Sciences at Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities and the Freudenthal Institute/HPS, Faculty Department of Science at Utrecht University. He has published extensively on the history of the production, distribution and consumption of therapeutic drugs and the interwovenness with economy, science and the public sphere. Currently he is working on the history of medicinal plants and plant based drugs. His broader interests include digital humanities and cultural heritage. The multidisciplinary nature of his research has opened paths for fruitful collaborations in the promising and fast growing field of digital humanities. He has been project leader and research coordinator of multiple projects in this field (WAHSP [CLARIN], BILAND [CLARIN], Translantis [NWO], Asymenc [HERA], Time Capsule [NWO- topsector creative industry], Dream [NWO] and Utrecht Time Machine.

Target audience:
The workshop is aimed at researchers (in e.g. computational linguistics, information science, history, ethnography, archaeology, archival, library and museum studies) and cultural heritage stakeholders interested in developing and implementing digital methods for tracing the provenance of materials in collections and re-creating the historical or cultural context of artefacts or natural materials in cultural heritage collections.

Expected number of participants:
20-30 participants

Special requirements for technical support:
no special requirements apart from standard presentation projector and internet access

Intended length and format of the workshop:
half day workshop including research & system demo presentations followed by discussion

Special requirements for attendees:
no special requirements

There will be a call for papers and the organisers aim to publish the workshop proceedings at

Program Committee:
Tinde van Andel, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, The Netherlands
Gudrun Bucher, SUB Göttingen, Germany
Thierry Declerck, DFKI GmbH, Germany
Katherine McDonough, The Alan Turing Institute, UK
Rik Feiken, Cultural Heritage Agency – RCE, The Netherlands
Maarten Heerlien, Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands
Inge van der Jagt, Cultural Heritage Agency – RCE, The Netherlands
Wouter Klein, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Martijn Kleppe, National Library - KB, The Netherlands
Marijn Koolen, Huygens ING, The Netherlands
Piroska Lendvai, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
Ioanna Lykourentzou, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Julianne Nyhan, University College London, UK
Petya Osenova, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
Michael Piotrowski, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Marijn Schraagen, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Kiril Simov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
Caroline Sporleder, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
Andreas Vlachidis, University College London, UK
Lianne Wilmink, Cultural Heritage Agency – RCE, The Netherlands

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