Interacting with Big Historical Data of the Dutch Golden Age: Golden Agents and Virtual Interiors

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


The development of digital infrastructures and digitisation of cultural heritage collections require huge investments. To legitimise the large investments for digital infrastructures of historical big data they need to have societal relevance. Digital infrastructures need to support argumentation based on historical perspectives and evidence in current debates in society.
Answering big questions requires big data. How can these infrastructures and big data often be created for a future, yet unknown public in mind be best prepared for use and reuse of individual and collaborative historical research that can contribute to such debates? To answer that question two projects will be discussed: one creating facilities to involve researchers in data handling, the other to let them interact with virtual representations of data. The project Golden Agents Creative Industries and the Making of the Dutch Golden Age (2017-2022) describes the co-creation of a digital infrastructure with the emphasis on a pipeline of tools and interfaces that allow users to interact in all phases of the preparation, harmonisation, and assessment of the quality of its big data. The second project Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data Research. Spatially Enhanced Publications (September 2018-2022) (hereafter Virtual Interiors) that uses data of Golden Agents and other collections concerns methodological issues related to interacting with multidimensional representations data with all its uncertainties herein. Both projects started off to answer different research questions about creative industries of the Dutch Golden Age. How can they be adapted for reuse as instruments for a more critical investigation of this period now this term becomes more and more contested? Finally, I would like to explore and discuss with you how the presented methodological issues in these projects relate to two of the three themes mentioned on the website of MUSTS: Networks of Knowledge Production and Consumption and Practices of Collaborative Research and Innovation.
Period16 Feb 2022
Degree of RecognitionLocal