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MUSTS Colloquium with Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute (KNAW)/University of Amsterdam)

February 16, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Charles van den Heuvel

Interacting with Big Historical Data of the Dutch Golden Age:

Golden Agents and Virtual Interiors

Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute and University of Amsterdam)

The development of digital infrastructures and digitization of cultural heritage collections require huge investments. To legitimize the large investments for digital infrastructures of historical big data they need to have societal relevance. Digital infrastructures need to support argumentation based on historical perspectives and evidence in current debates in society. Answering big questions requires big data. How can these infrastructures and big data often be created for a future, yet unknown public in mind be best prepared for use and reuse of individual and collaborative historical research that can contribute to such debates? To answer that question two projects will be discussed: one creating facilities to involve researchers in data handling, the other to let them interact with virtual representations of data. The project Golden Agents Creative Industries and the Making of the Dutch Golden Age (2017-2022) describes the co-creation of a digital infrastructure with the emphasis on a pipeline of tools and interfaces that allow users to interact in all phases of the preparation, harmonization, and assessment of the quality of its big data. The second project Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data Research. Spatially Enhanced Publications (September 2018-2022) (hereafter Virtual Interiors) that uses data of Golden Agents and other collections concerns methodological issues related to interacting with multidimensional representations data with all its uncertainties herein. Both projects started off to answer different research questions about creative industries of the Dutch Golden Age.  How can they be adapted for reuse as instruments for a more critical investigation of this period now this term becomes more and more contested? Finally, I would like to explore and discuss with you how the presented methodological issues in these projects relate to two of the three themes mentioned on the website of MUSTS: Networks of Knowledge Production and Consumption and Practices of Collaborative Research and Innovation.



Charles van den Heuvel is Head Research of the Department Knowledge and Art Practices of the Huygens Institute in Amsterdam and professor Digital Methods and Historical Disciplines at the University of Amsterdam. He has a background in history of art specialized in the history of town planning, fortification, and architecture of the Early Modern Period (16th-17th Centuries) and worked in several cultural heritage institutions. Recent research interests are digital humanities, history of knowledge (in particular of knowledge circulation in the Republic of Letters) and history of library and information sciences. Currently, he is the principal investigator of the NWO-Large Investment Project: Golden Agents: Creative Industries and the Making of the Dutch Golden Age, The NWO-Smart Culture, Big Data and Digital Humanities Project: Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data Research and the NWO-NWA science communication project: Through the lens of Antoni: How do you represent what you cannot see?



February 16, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Attic
Grote Gracht 80-82
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