Kick-off INVENiT²

INVENiT², the follow-up of INVENiT¹, has officially started. The goal of INVENiT is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the search functionality provided in various cultural heritage collections online. By creating improvements we enable more thorough analysis of online collections. During INVENiT¹ we connected the image database and metadata of the Rijksmuseum with bibliographical data of STCN – Short Title Catalogue of the Netherlands (1550-1800). We developed a demonstrator that allows engravings of the Rijksmuseum to be researched in their (book) historical context.

In INVENiT² we aim to test this novel semantic search approach and to use semantic patterns from linked cultural heritage data to cluster the search results for better semantic search. A panel of experts will provide feedback on the demonstrator and together we will discuss the possibilities for future research. Three different user groups will search and browse the Prints Cabinets Online of the Rijksmuseum, an important sub-collection of the Rijksmuseum. The user groups consist of scholars from the Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age, experts and public interested in religious history and master students of the VU Humanities Faculty. We will use the data of this experiment to elicit the inherent complex search routes scholars typically use with existing search engines. Based on this input we will evaluate the needs of scholars and the feasibility of the implementation. The main hypothesis of INVENiT² is that we can define genre-specific relevance values for linked data patterns that would support not only better semantic search, but also the analysis process of humanities scholars.

On the 19th of January 2015 the research team met to start working on INVENiT². The new academy assistants gave a presentation on their backgrounds, their experiences and their future contribution on the project. The new academy assistants are Cristina-Iulia Bucur and Leon Wessels.

Cristina is a Master student in Computer Science and Bioinformatics. She is specialized in High Performance Distributed Computing. In the past she has used her skills to promote reading and the works of  W.F.Hermans to the younger generation using modern technology, while working on a project for a major hardware and software company in Amsterdam. Previously Cristina was an academy assistant in a project under the auspices of the Network Institute of the VU University Amsterdam. The main goal of the project was to analyze and draw a network map of the online networks of ethnic Chinese businesses in Southeast Asia. As part of the Computer Science team, Cristina contributes to the further adaption of the demonstrator for the experiments.

Leon is a Research Master student in History. He is specialized in Cultural history and Archival research. During his presentation he introduced some of the challenges and possibilities of digital sources based on his own studies. As a member of the History team, Leon is partly responsible for the user perspective to provide insights on the information needs, research questions and various interaction and interface requirements needed in the empirical studies.

Both the academy assistants and the rest of the research team are looking forward to collaborating on INVENiT².

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