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Digital Humanities at VU University

VU University participates in, a national platform that brings together expertise and research in the development and use of digital technologies in the humanities and the social sciences in The Netherlands. The eHumanities website contains a page offering an overview of DH at the VU.


Logo CLTL The Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab of the Faculty of Humanities focuses on modeling understanding of natural language through computers with a central role for knowledge sources such as lexicons, ontologies and terminology. Their application perspective is text mining: technology that is used to automatically extract knowledge and information from text.

Logo SPINlab The Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab) is the centre for research and education in Geo-Information Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

VU University Library aims at providing researchers with content for Digital Humanities that is as sustainable, varied and accessible as possible and provides assistance in three areas: data, infrastructure and information services and advice.


Staff members of the Faculty of Humanities

A (growing) number of staff members of the Faculty of Humanities is involved in digital humanities or computational research. The following specific Google search shows the staff members who mention this on their personal web page on the faculty web site.

Staff members of VU University who are involved with CLARIAH

CLARIAH "is developing a digital infrastructure that brings together large collections of data and software from different humanities disciplines". The following specific Google search shows the VU researchers that are involved in CLARIAH.

Many researchers maintain a profile page on, on which they present their publications and research interests. The following specific Google search (for digital humanities, digital history, computational linguistics or text mining) shows which researchers are or were connected to VU University:


The Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab of the Faculty of Humanities (see above) is involved in many digital humanities projects, either as project leader, coordinator or participant. These projects are described under Projects at CLTL's website.

An exemplary selection of major projects in which the Faculty of Humanities participates is described briefly below.

VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus
The VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus is a corpus of news texts, fiction texts, academic texts and conversations that have been coded for metaphor. It is the largest available corpus hand-annotated for all metaphorical language use, regardless of lexical field or source domain and based on a systematic and explicit metaphor identification protocol MIPVU.

The goal of the BiographyNet project is to create a semantic knowledge base by extracting links between people, historic events, places and time periods from a variety of Dutch biographical dictionaries.

NewsReader: a "Recorder of History", is a computer program that "reads" daily streams of news and stores exactly what happened, where and when in the world and who has been involved. The program uses the same strategy as humans by building up a story and to merge it with information stored previously.

Verrijkt Koninkrijk (Enriched Kingdom)   
Dr Loe de Jong's Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog remains the most appealing history of German occupied Dutch society (1940-1945). Published between 1969 and 1991, the 30 volumes still combine the qualities of an authoritative work for a general audience, and an inevitable point of reference for scholars. The aim of this project is twofold; in the demonstrator part of the project advanced tools and techniques are applied to gather data on De Jong's perception of the much debated issue of pillarization (Dutch: 'verzuiling') and group identity. In the resource curation part of the project the corpus will be enriched and made available to the CLARIN-community for further research.

Mapping the Via Appia
In the Mapping the Via Appia project, a traditional two-dimensional geographic information system (GIS) and relational databases are being employed to accurately store the data gathered during archaeological fieldwork. However, since archaeology inevitably involves the third vertical dimension, the Mapping the Via Appia project is at the frontline of interdisciplinary and generic 3D GIS development.

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