Quotidian chronicles: The Dutch Diary Archive (DDA), the European Diary Archives and Collections Network (EDAC) and the connection to the European research infrastructure CLARIN.

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With this poster we would like to present the Dutch Diary Archive (DDA) and the European Diary Archives and Collections Network (EDAC) to a larger community in the Benelux Countries. The poster also explains the way the collection of the DDA is connected to the European Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN) and informs the audience about our ongoing activities.

Teenage Diaries

“We were talking about hair and stuff and then Tom said: ‘Our Frans is very hairy. Nice and warm if you’re lying next to him.’
I think hairs are very masculine. Hairy legs and stuff, but oh, everything about Frans is manly to me. I saw him only once today. This morning in church, that’s it.”

This is a fragment from a girl’s diary, written in 1961, recently published in the anthology: De Puberdagboeken - Teenage Diaries (Soeting et. al 2017). Diaries and personal chronicles like letters, autobiographies and memoirs hold more information than just the quotidian routine of the writers. They are interesting resources on many levels. The fragment above provides us with information about what’s considered masculine (in that time, place and culture), writing in dialect (the original fragment is in Dutch and uses dialect from the province Noord-Brabant) and traditions (attending church on Sundays).

Once these rich resources are available they serve a number of disciplinary fields, including digital humanities, literary studies, history and linguistics. And while several institutions within the Netherlands collect these resources within the boundaries of their own collection profile, there was no central archive. For this reason, the Dutch Diary Archive (DDA) was established in 2009.

Data from Diaries

Since 2014 the DDA is situated at the Meertens Institute. The DDA collects diaries and other forms of life writing and promotes scholarly research on the material. The vast collection consists of thousands of written egodocuments and digital data. The DDA is also a founding member of European Diary Archives and Collections Network (EDAC) and hosts the secretariat. EDAC aims to exchange data, best practices and expertise between the different diary archives in Europe. It is growing rapidly and has currently 11 members, such as the Deutsches Tagebucharchiv, from various European countries including Germany, France and Italy.

In 2017 the Meertens Institute and the DDA brought the project ‘Data from Diaries’ (co-financed by Data Archiving and Networked Services – DANS) to a successful conclusion (Zeldenrust et. al 2017). In this project the paper metadata from the collection of the DDA have been made digitally accessible for researchers in a sustainable way. To this end, the Meertens Institute created a relational database in which the metadata is stored. Additionally, and in line with the EDAC goals, the dataset has been made CLARIN compatible and CMDI-metadata (Component MetaData Infrastructure) have been created. This enables technical and content-level interchange between different European diary archives. Once the other diary archives have made their data CLARIN compatible, researchers will be able to search simultaneously through the various archives and the other CLARIN compatible resources.


Monica Soeting and Nina Wijsbek (2017), De puberdagboeken. Hoe tieners over hun leven schrijven (Amsterdam).

Douwe A. Zeldenrust, Nina A. Wijsbek and Menzo A. Windhouwer (2017), 'Data van Dagboeken (Data from Diaries)', in: Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences, (Brill Online).

Online references:

https://www.clarin.eu (accessed 11 January 2018).

http://www.dagboekarchief.nl (accessed 11 January 2018).

http://www.edac-eu.eu (accessed 11 January 2018).

http://www.meertens.knaw.nl (accessed 11 January 2018).
Originele taal-2Engels
StatusGepubliceerd - 08 jun. 2018
EvenementDHBenelux Conference 2018 - International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam, Nederland
Duur: 06 jun. 201808 jun. 2018


ConferentieDHBenelux Conference 2018
Internet adres


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