Webinar Series: Digital Humanities Virtual Discussion Group for ECRs in Belgium Spring 2022 Edition

Are you an early career researcher in the field of Digital Humanities or a student interested in DH approaches who would like to discuss DH with other early career researchers in the Belgian DH community? If so, you might be interested in joining the DH Virtual Discussion Group for ECRs! This series is jointly organized by KU Leuven Libraries Artes Research and the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities 

Our first two sessions this spring will continue the under-the-hood” format. In these sessions, a volunteer from our community provides a thirty-minute overview of a digital project which implements a given tool, approach, or platform. This is not meant to be a research presentation, or to present findings or results, but rather to give our community a behind-the-scenes look at how decisions were made and why specific tools were chosen or developed. The hope is also that this presenter will give attendees some ideas about how to get started implementing a specific tool or workflow, and that they can also answer questions about other, related ongoing projects that are implementing similar functionalities. This “under-the-hood” session format will allow us to have focused discussions around a specific project where we can learn from each other in an informal way. In addition, by implementing this format we can maintain the low threshold for contributing and engaging in the conversations. It also allows us to learn about the diverse projects in the Benelux region related to digital humanities! (An added bonus!)  

Our final session of the spring edition will be a special DH Benelux session. This is our second year running this special session, where members of our community who will also be presenting in some form at the 2022 DH Benelux conference (conference paper, poster, workshop) are invited to give an elevator pitch of their DH Benelux contribution. These elevator pitches serve a dual purpose: they let the presenter practice presenting their material in advance of the conference, but they also let our DH community get a taste of what to expect at the DH Benelux conference.    

If you would like to join us for the spring edition, please mark your calendars for the following dates:   

1 – Monday 21 March from 15h – 16h30 CET 

Speaker: Gianluca Valenti from the University of Liège
Title of presentation: “Modern Letters and Text Analysis: The ‘EpistolarITA’ Project
Abstract: The growth of interest in epistolary texts over the last few decades has led to a flourishing of international research projects devoted to cataloguing, editing, and studying modern letters, in a collective and coordinated effort to better understand these materials. In this context, at the University of Liège, a database has been launched, through which users are able to perform statistical analyses on a large epistolary corpus of letters. The algorithm uses techniques such as TF-IDF, Word2Vec, and Named-Entity Recognition to help users to discover new connections, explore new avenues of research, and find new interpretations in the network of the Republic of letters. 

2 – Monday 25 April from 15h – 16h30 CEST 

Speaker:Montaine Denys from the Flanders Heritage Libraries
Title: ”Managing the Evaluation of OCR Quality in Flemish Newspaper Collections”
Abstract: The OCR quality of digitised historical newspapers can greatly impact their findability and usability. Over the past year, the Flanders Heritage Libraries has worked together with meemoo, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and ten other partner organisations in order to evaluate the current OCR quality of Flemish digitised newspaper collections, as well as their potential for improvement. In this session Montaine Denys will delve into the coordination of this project. More concretely she will focus on the project workflow, the creation of a ground truth dataset, interpreting the results, the challenges faced and the lessons learned.

3 – Monday 23 May from 15h – 16h30 CEST 

Topic: Special DH Benelux Session
Format: Elevator pitches
Presenters: Volunteers from our DH community (tbc) 

Some practical matters and registration: 

All of our sessions will again be held on Zoom, and you will receive the link to the virtual meeting room on the day of the discussion.   

There are an increasing number of conferences, workshops, and funding opportunities in DH, and we would like to ensure that you are aware of them. We will start every session with a moment for individuals to share news about upcoming lectures, workshops, seminars, and conferences; and we will include an extra box on the Padlet (a link to the Padlet will be communicated in the email before the session) where you can also post these.   

If you would like to register or invite other colleagues to join, please fill out the registration form for the mailing list here. Please note, if you have already received email correspondence about the Spring 2022 series, it means you are already on our mailing list. In that case, there is no need to register again—you will receive the emails with the Zoom link and any additional materials on the day of the session. Additionally, you will also receive updates on upcoming sessions including further details about speakers and the “under-the-hood” presentation topics.  

How can I present my own work? 

For those of you who would like an opportunity to share your DH ideas and projects, we hope you will consider volunteering for a future DH Virtual Discussion Group meeting. You do not need to be an expert to present: you can be the PI, a researcher, a PhD candidate, or a master’s student. Please use this as an opportunity to present your work at any stage. ALL are welcome to share and receive feedback. We want to stress that projects presented in the context of the DH Virtual Discussion Group should be given and received in a welcoming environment where we do not judge each other harshly, but rather provide encouragement, advice, and on-topic questions. If you are planning to present at DH Benelux this year (1-3 June 2022) and would like to do an elevator pitch, we would love to hear from you. Moreover, if you would like to support our community by giving a presentation about a tool, project, or workflow that you have used or developed, please also get in touch (leah.budke@kuleuven.be, margherita.fantoli@kuleuven.be, or julie.birkholz@ugent.be) and let us know you are interested.  

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