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Last month, the Digital Heritage Network manifesto was signed by UvA / AUAS Library director Gerard Nijsten and the Allard Pierson director Els van der Plas. Marjolein Beumer, head of Digital Services at the Library, explains the reason for signing the manifesto.

'A student recently did a little research on how collection data can be clustered using AI. It is one of the many steps we as Library UvA/HvA are taking in our digital transformation,' says Marjolein Beumer, Sector Head of Digital Services at the University of Amsterdam. 'We are doing this together with students and researchers from the various faculties.'

'The ultimate goal is that our three target groups - students, researchers and visitors to the Allard Pierson - can easily search all the collections we have in house via the website or an app. We will make the collection data available as linked open data for this purpose. And when it comes to our heritage, we are looking closely at the National Digital Heritage Strategy in doing so.'

Marjolein Beumer, Head of Digital Services at the Library and initiator of Digital Heritage Month meeting
Marjolein Beumer, Head of Digital Services at the Library and initiator of Digital Heritage Month meeting
From left to right: Wilbert Helmus, network manager Network Digital Heritage; Els van der Plas, director of the Allard Pierson; Gerard Nijsten, director of the UvA / AUAS Library
From left to right: Wilbert Helmus, network manager Network Digital Heritage; Els van der Plas, director of the Allard Pierson; Gerard Nijsten, director of the UvA / AUAS Library
Meeting Digital Heritage Month
Meeting Digital Heritage Month

AI unlocks heritage

Several heritage projects are experimenting with the use of AI. 'For example, we are looking at how AI can contribute to unlocking the old map collection. Furthermore, we are working together with Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe on the open source AI tool xCurator. This will soon allow users not only to search better through heritage collections and data, but also to interact with them.'

3D scanning

'Also nice to mention is The Secrets of the Pottery Wheel, which is currently on display as a digital exhibition. As a visitor, you discover what new methods and techniques archaeologists from the University of Amsterdam are using to investigate pottery from antiquity. A couple of archaeologists made 3D scans of pottery shards and ran analyses on them. They also made all kinds of 3D reconstructions to see how a pottery pot was made today.'

Collaboration central

The National Digital Heritage Strategy is not only a strategy for digitisation, but above all a strategy for collaboration. And Marjolein has found throughout her career that collaboration is the key word for success. 'That's why we also cooperate with Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, for example. And we also want to share results from our projects with the field. On your own, you really won't get anywhere.'

Source: This article was written by Digital Heritage Network in Dutch and published on 28 November 2022. The photos were taken by Alyssa van Heyst Photography.

Watch part 1 of the Digital Heritage Month Meeting.
Watch part 1 of the Digital Heritage Month Meeting.
Watch back part 3 of the Digital Heritage Month Meeting.
Watch back part 3 of the Digital Heritage Month Meeting.