Grants awarded for making Heritage Research Data more re-usable

5 April 2023

Humanities researchers tend to work with data derived from heritage collections, such as museums, archives or heritage libraries. Ideally, these data remain available for anybody to use for their own research interests. Often, however, when the projects which generate the data have ended, there are no means to turn the datasets into truly interoperable and reusable resources. It is therefore fortunate that the CLARIAH digital infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities has now designated funding specifically for that: curating existing heritage data sets with the aim of making them useful for a wide range of scholars.

In the Call for Heritage Data research projects, CLARIAH has granted a subsidy to three projects which intend to enhance datasets derived from cultural heritage. The projects will receive approximately 35,000 euro each, to allow them to make these datasets more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. DANS, which is a partner in CLARIAH+, has coordinated the call for proposals and will be heavily involved in the expert support offered to the projects. The projects which receive a grant cover varied heritage data domains.

In The Paramaribo Ward Registers, Thunnis van Oort (Radboud University) will work on the transcripts of a register of the inhabitants of Paramaribo, kept in 1828-1846. This source provides unique insight into the composition of the population of this Surinamese city under Dutch colonial rule on a household-level. Van Oort will harmonize the data and make them available as a FAIR database, to be used for both scholarly research and family history.

Leon van Wissen (University of Amsterdam) leads the project Making Photos FAIR, enriching the metadata of the collection of Fotopersbureau De Boer at the Noord-Hollands Archief. This photo archive contains visual source materials for research on topics such as environment, energy, social inequality, and day-to-day life since 1950. The project will link the metadata to thesauri of locations, persons, and keywords, opening the collection up for use in research and the cultural heritage sector.

The Tracing Wealth-project, led by Amaury de Vicq (University of Groningen), concerns the Memoriesdataset, based on the archival records of tax offices. The dataset captures the belongings of a representative sample of people who passed away in the Netherlands in 1921. The project aims to integrate these data with other socioeconomic datasets already available. The result can be used by historians, social scientists, and economists, as well as in citizen science, to answer questions related to how wealth has evolved across generations.

The projects will run up to the end of 2023. Ongoing work in these projects will be discussed at the Data Days (29 June and 28 September). The final results will be presented at the CLARIAH Annual Conference (30 November). more information will follow on the CLARIAH-website.

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