Julia Noordegraaf (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Digital Archives and Methods for Media Historiography
Over the past two decades, academic and cultural heritage institutions have made significant progress in the digitization of audiovisual media content and related materials, such as archival records, newspapers and program guides. In correspondence to these digitization efforts, media scholars have increasingly adopted software available for the creation of databases with structured data on various aspects of the production, distribution and reception contexts. And finally, various new tools have been developed for exploring these new, digital collections and analyzing the data contained in them, such as tools for text mining, image analysis, geographical mapping or network visualization (Ross et al. 2009; Acland and Hoyt 2016). In combination, these advances enable the development of new forms of analysis, which were very difficult in the past, such as exploring large audiovisual collections for historical trends in genre and visual idiom, or tracing evolving political and cultural narratives in such collections across different media and over longer periods of time. At the same time, during their digitization and subsequent processing in computational tools for search, analysis and visualization, analogue sources are transformed in ways that influence their status as sources of knowledge and that require new forms of literacy to assess the impact of these transformations on interpreting them.
This lecture focuses on the epistemological and methodological consequences of working with digitized archival sources and digital tools in media historical research. It is based on ongoing research in the field of digital media historiography and recent experiences with building the CLARIAH Media Suite, part of the Dutch national infrastructure for digital humanities research. Such a reflection starts at the archive: the context in which these sources have been collected, preserved, organized and made accessible. How do media objects transform with digitization, what information is lost, what is added? Second, I focus on the interfaces that provide access to digitized archival collections, analyzing the ways in which they allow researchers to assess the archival processing of the underlying material. Finally, I reflect on the new methods needed to work with these digitized collections in the practice of media historical research.
In Kooperation mit dem BMBF-Projekt „Die universitäre Sammlung als lebendes Archiv – Lehre und Forschung im Spannungsfeld von Materialität und Medialität“
Julia Noordegraaf is professor of Digital Heritage in the department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is director of the Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity (ACHI), one of the university’s research priority areas, where she leads the digital humanities research program Creative Amsterdam (CREATE) that studies the history of urban creativity using digital data and methods. Noordegraaf’s research focuses on the preservation and reuse of audiovisual and digital heritage. She has published, amongst others, the monograph Strategies of Display (2004/2012) and, as principal editor, Preserving and Exhibiting Media Art (2013) and acts as principal editor of the Cinema Context database on Dutch film culture. She currently leads research projects on the conservation of digital art (in the Horizon 2020 Marie Curie ITN project NACCA) and on the reuse of digital heritage in data-driven historical research (besides CREATE in the Amsterdam Data Science Research project Perspectives on Data Quality and the new, NWO funded project Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data Research). She is a former fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and acts as board member for Media Studies in CLARIAH, the national infrastructure for digital humanities research, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO. Noordegraaf currently coordinates the realization of the Amsterdam Time Machine and participates as Steering Committee member in the European Time Machine project that aims to build a simulator for 5.000 years of European history.