Will digitisation
save our cultural heritage?

digital Humanities Artificial Intelligence Cultural heritage

digital Humanities Artificial Intelligence Cultural heritage
yellow background
Nowadays, information comes from an ever-growing multitude of digital sources, challenging citizens and institutions to weigh each type of information on relevance and reliability. In The Netherlands, libraries, archives and museums have faced these challenges for centuries. They do even more so since these institutions started mass digitizing their multimodal collections, building datasets with terabytes full of information of books, video, music, maps, photographs and documents. These datasets are indispensible sources for reliable fact checking and data validation by citizens of the digital society, journalists and other societal stakeholders. In this way, cultural heritage collections contribute critically to societal resilience.
Sound and Vision studies the evolution of the media landscape. We aim to provide insights about the role media plays in our society in order to increase digital literacy and in effect become more digitally resilient: reaping the benefits of the digital space while guarding against its harmful consequences. HAICu is very relevant for us, as it will increase the impact of our collection in society and help to reach the adoption of the National Strategy for Digital Heritage.
yellow background
Modern AI techniques such as 'deep learning' provide the promising prospect to interlink and enrich collections, deepening our understanding of the Netherlands' polyvocal past, present, and future. However, developing these Artificial Intelligence techniques is challenging, given the size and heterogeneous nature of the big data heritage collections, the context-dependency of interpretations and the inherent dynamics of ever-growing collections. Therefore, in the HAICu project, AI and Digital Humanities researchers, heritage professionals and engaged citizens aim for scientific breakthroughs in AI to open up, link and analyze in context large scale and heterogeneous multimodal digital heritage collections to facilitate user-assisted generation of fact-based narratives. Our target groups are all types of users and institutions whose functioning relies on relevant and reliable information. In co-creation with these groups, the HAICu project will develop new methods and user-engineered tools to construct meaningful contexts out of the available big data, assisting users to weigh both historical as well as current multimodal information.
By collaborating in this consortium the National Library contributes to the historical understanding of cultural heritage in the Netherlands. The subject matter is of national relevance, as we are often dealing with the ways how our history and heritage is being used for understanding new insights for future planning. At the same time we will learn about how our services can be improved to benefit science and our patrons.


The Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (CLARIAH) is a distributed research infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences in the Netherlands. It is an integrated part of the European CLARIN and DARIAH research infrastructures. The CLARIAH infrastructure provides researchers with access to large collections of digital data and to innovative and user-friendly applications for the processing of these data.[...] The HAICu research proposal is evidently relevant for the CLARIAH infrastructure and vice versa since HAICu investigates the application of advanced artificial intelligence methods to cultural heritage data.

Want to learn more?

Get into contact with HAICu for more information