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Heritage and Digital Culture


Julia Noordegraaf

Members of the research group

prof.dr. J. Boter
S. Campanini
prof.dr. K.J.P.F.M. Jeurgens
prof.dr. E.A. Kuitert
prof.dr. J.J. Noordegraaf
C.G. Olesen
dr. M.A. Weststeijn
External Members:
A. Eveleigh (UCL)
W. Landman
J. Oomen (VU AGORA project)
Picturae (private)
Stadsarchief Amsterdam (public)
Koninklijke Bibliotheek (public)
British Library (public)
National Library of Slovenia (public)
National Library of Spain (public)

Description of the research programme of the research group

The proliferation of digital technologies and large-scale digitization initiatives over the past decade have caused the cultural past to be more present than ever before. Projects like Europeana, the European digital library have brought cultural objects from all over the world together in new, virtual environments. Besides, various tools and applications have been developed to make this digital heritage available to users, such as 3D reconstruction for the visualization of archaeological sites, mobile media apps for augmenting the experience of visiting monuments, and portals for browsing digitized newspapers, archival documents, photographs and films online.
These new ways of interacting with cultural heritage change our experience and interpretation of the past and thus deeply affect processes of identity formation and remembrance. Digital access to cultural heritage creates opportunities, such as facilitating and widening humanities research and offering new ways to engage audiences. It also presents new challenges, such as making digital heritage collections comprehensive, sustainable, findable, and tailored to users’ needs – implications that still need to be mapped out.
The research conducted within the Heritage and Digital culture group aims to deepen and expand knowledge of and insights into the effects of digital cultural heritage collections for processes of identity formation and remembrance. It does so by developing new, collaborative research projects that critically reflect on the impact of digitization on our experience of the cultural past and develop new strategies and methods for researching digital heritage collections. Besides, the domain contributes to the valorization of knowledge by collaborating with heritage professionals and private partners in developing new tools and applications for digital heritage.

  • Project 1. Performing the Archive: Tracing Audiovisual Heritage in a Digital Age (monograph, Julia Noordegraaf)
  • Project 2. Handbook of Heritage Studies (edited volume, Julia Noordegraaf and Thijs Weststeijn)
  • Project 3. Digitization (Julia Noordegraaf, contribution to the second edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Oxford University Press)
  • Project 4. Documenting the Analogue Past in Marijke van Warmerdam's Film Installations (research project on technological obsolescence in art, Julia Noordegraaf)
  • Project 5. Modeling Crowdsourcing for Cultural Heritage (University of Amsterdam – Julia Noordegraaf, Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Picturae, University College London – Alexandra Eveleigh UvA-CIRCA embedded research application, submitted April 2013
  • Project 6. Selecting Europe’s Digital Documentary Heritag (University of Amsterdam – Julia Noordegraaf (PI), National Library of the Netherlands, British Library, National Library of Slovenia, National Library of Spain) JPI-JHEP application, submitted 4 April 2013


Envisaged results

Project 1: Monograph
Project 2: Edited volume, series of conferences
Project 3: Peer reviewed article
Project 4: Two peer reviewed articles
Project 5: Report, peer reviewed article, pilot for the foundation of the Digital Heritage Lab within the Research Priority Area Cultural Heritage and Identity (with Picturae)

Project 6:

  • “Guidelines for collecting digital documentary heritage” (addition to the UNESCO guidelines);
  • Practical recommendations for (national) libraries and other memory institutions, based on a number of use cases;
  • networking and dissemination activities aimed at increasing the international collaboration on the topic of digital documentary heritage selection and sharing the knowledge and experience established during the project.


Work plan and time schedule

Project 1: 2013
Project 2: 2013-2016
Project 3: Spring 2013
Project 4: 2013-2014
Project 5: Spring-Fall 2013
Project 6: 1 September 2013-31 December 2014

Societal relevance

Digitization presents numerous challenges to traditional heritage practices. It changes the nature of the heritage object and thus challenges existing collecting, preservation and exhibition practices. Therefore, the digital age requires new conceptualizations of both heritage objects and practices. A good example is project 6, which centres on the question how to define digital documentary heritage – a fundamental question that needs to be answered before new selection, conservation and access strategies can be defined. Or project 5, that asks how new, participatory forms of archiving can be successfully implemented in archival practice. Almost all of the above projects are collaborations between scholars and heritage partners, as well as private partners (project 5) and include public dissemination activities. This will ensure that the results will be directly beneficial for both heritage practice and wider society