Workshop wrap-up

During the DH2014 conference in Lausanne held from 8th to 12th of July the Erasmus Studio, based at the Erasmus School for History, Culture and Communication in Rotterdam, organised a workshop to assess strategies on how to expand the role of audiovisual media in the field of Digital Humanities. A Storify of all tweets related to the workshop can be found here. Abstracts of presented papers can be found here. Below is a wrap-up written by Stef Scagliola.

The goal of the workshop was ambitious. We intended to reach out to frontrunners that cover the variety of modalities within audiovisual data: video, film, radio, television, photography and oral history. At the same time we were looking for examples of digital tools that are available at the different subsequent stages of the research process: first exploration/annotation, then analysis, followed by presentation, and finally preservation and curation for the long term. A last goal was to mirror the diversity of disciplines that make use of audiovisual sources: media history, anthropology, ethnography, iconography, sound studies, archival- and library studies, information science and computer science.

The first keynote speaker, Andreas Fickers of the University of Luxembourg provided an epistemological and ontological context for understanding the complexity of research on digital audiovisual material. Fickers has been appointed as professor at one of the few humanities faculties in Europe where AV media has been completely integrated in the general history curriculum. This policy has been pursued  to anticipate the envisioned future need for audiovisual literacy and online scholarship. (slides PDF)

The second keynote speaker, speech technologist Arjan van Hessen, offered an encouraging perspective. According to him many technical solutions are actually already available, but an effective use of them is hampered by lack of communication. In his view bridging the gap in methodology between humanities and technology requires  a heavy long term investment in co-development and dialogue. Resources have to be ensured for these activities at the very beginning of the conceptualisation of a research project, as they are not part of the traditional academic social practices and will not develop spontaneously. (slides PDF)

A number of other fundamental concerns were put forward in the discussion. One regards the heavy burden that academic driven digital projects put on available resources of universities in the long run. The requirements for long term sustainability are usually not addressed in projects that provide proof of concept results, particularly in cases that involve needs for heavy storage such as film and video. It is important to consider the development of business models in order to deal with the financial burden that has already been put on public resources by the many DH projects that have to be kept running. A second relevant observation was the tension felt between the experimental phase in which Digital Humanities is at present, and the need to deliver sound research outcomes that meet professional academic standards. A third point regarded the pedagogical need for present and next generations of students of complementing textual literacy with visual and aural literacy. Awareness on the impact of digital technology on the character and value of information should be part and parcel of any academic education.

The nine papers and demo’s offered a rich array of topics, from image recognition and video annotation, to radio- and sound analysis. But rather than providing solutions to the presented key questions, the audience was challenged to rethink and further develop specific concepts and techniques.

Below a brief description of the papers is presented.

Continue reading Workshop wrap-up

Final programme and information

In under a week’s time, the DH2014 conference will kick off in Lausanne, Switzerland. On Tuesday 8 July, our workshop Sound and (moving) images in focus, also known as AVinDH will take place. The final programme of the workshop, including revisions due to two unfortunate withdrawals, is now as follows:

09.00-10.00 Keynote Andreas Fickers – “If content is king, context is its crown”: Doing digital media history in the age of abundance
10.00-10.45 Session Data collection & Exploration 
Kleppe – Tracing the afterlife of iconic photographs using IPTC
-Ordelman – Using computer vision to facilitate exploration of television archives
10.45-11.00 Break
11.00-12.00 Keynote Arjan van Hessen – Infrastructures: will they be used?
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-14.30 Session Exploration & Analysis
Baaren & Van Gorp – ‘Disclosed’ readings of transmedia content: a demonstration of TROVe
Nyhan & Flinn – Oral History, audio-visual materials and Digital Humanities: a new ‘grand challenge’?
Huang & Lawaetz – Radio Sound and the Measuring of Sensuous Voice Qualities
Clement – The Hermeneutics of Distant Listening to Spoken Word Texts with High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship
14.30-14.45 Coffee break
14.45-16.00 Session Analysis & Presentation
Van Gorp, Olesen, Fossati, & Noordegraaf – Emerging Cinema/Emerging Methods: Developing a Tool for EYE’s Jean Desmet Collection
Henderson – The EVIA Digital Archive Project: A Time-Based Media Annotation and Online Access System for Digital Humanities Research, Teaching, and Collaboration
Sanders & Hagedoorn – How to publish AV research online
16.00-17.00 Synthesis & Concluding remarks

The workshop will take place in room 5A. At the Swiss Tech Center the locations of the registration desk and the workshop will be pointed out.
For attendees, please note that Switzerland has different power sockets, see this photo for details.
Traveling details to the venue can be found here. Do check this information, as some metro-lines are under construction-work.
Online registration is no longer possible. If you still wish to attend, registration is possible on the day itself at the registration desk.

Finally, we have the programme and abstracts available as a PDF for your reading while traveling. Download the PDF here: AVinDH infopackage PDF.


Today, all authors of accepted papers have been notified. We have received a total of 11 submissions, of which 9 were selected. With submissions from Denmark, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, we have selected a diverse number of papers related to the question of how to integrate audiovisual material in the Digital Humanities. All authors have been asked to revise their abstracts based on the reviews and comments from the programme committee, which are due Wednesday June 11th. After this date, the final programme of the workshop will be published on this website.

The accepted abstracts are (in alphabetic order of first author):

  • Baaren & Van Gorp – Exploration, contextualization and analysis of transmedia content: a demonstration of TROVe
  • Clement – The Hermeneutics of Distant Listening to Spoken Word Texts with High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship
  • Van Gorp, Olesen, Fossati and Noordegraaf – Emering Cinema/Emerging Methods: Developing a Tool for EYE’s Jean Desmet Collection
  • Henderson – The EVIA Digital Archive Project: The Challenge for Creating and Sustaining Annotation Tools and Online Access Systems for Time-Based Media
  • Huang & Lawaetz – Radio Sound and the Measuring of Sensuous Voice Qualities
  • Nyhan – Oral History, audio-visual materials and Digital Humanities: a new ‘grand challenge’?
  • Pagenstecher – Mapping Testimonies. The Interview Archive “Forced Labor 1939-1945”
  • Sanders & Hagedoorn – How to publish AV research online
  • Stępińska & Wyszyński – Content Analysis System for Television (CAST): more than an archive, less than an assistant

Congratulations to the authors!


Call for Papers

Audiovisual material in Digital Humanities

DH2014 workshop, Lausanne, 8 July

The issue that will be addressed during this workshop is how to overcome the contrast between audiovisual material being a steadily increasing body of data and the fact that it is relatively poorly represented in the field of the Digital Humanities. When considering the available DH tools, projects and publications it is clear that sources such as television, film, photos and oral history recordings have not yet received the same level of attention from scholars as written sources. This can be considered as problematic in the light of the expected exponential growth in volume of audiovisual sources and of the abundance of information for researches contained in this type of data that is largely overlooked. One can envision how a single document could satisfy the needs of various disciplines if tools would be available to identify, retrieve and analyse the various dimensions of a video-recording such as language, emotions, speech acts, narrative plots and references to people, places and events. This richness not only holds the promise of multidisciplinary collaboration between e.g., computer sciences, social sciences and the humanities, but also makes audiovisual material a potentially valuable playground for the Digital Humanities.

Workshop Programme

The workshop aims to bring scholars and computer scientists together to discuss the following key questions in four subsequent sessions.

  1. Why are audiovisual data/archives scarcely used within the (Digital) Humanities?
  2. What are possible strategies to stimulate the use of audiovisual data/archives within the  Digital Humanities?
  3. Which examples of digital tools applied on audiovisual data/archives can serve as best practices?
  4. What should be the priorities on the  agenda for the future uptake of audiovisual data/archives in the Digital Humanities?

The keynotes within the first two sessions will be delivered by Andreas Fickers, professor of contemporary and digital history at the University of Luxembourg, and Dr. Arjan van Hessen, specialist in speech technology and member of the Executive Board of CLARIN-NL. The first will talk about the use of audiovisual sources within humanities research, and the second will discuss the necessary technical and infrastructural provisions for the analysis of these sources. For the third session scholars are invited to submit papers and demos that illustrate the potential of applying DH approaches to audiovisual data with a focus on lessons learned. The final session is dedicated to the assessment and evaluation of the findings and aims at formulating a research agenda for the future. To disseminate the results of the workshop among a broader audience, the initiators intend to propose a special issue on this topic to a Digital Humanities journal.

Submission of proposals

For the third session on applications of DH on audiovisual data, the workshop organisers invite papers and demos that deal with experienced challenges of integrating AV in DH.
Submissions should include the following:

  • General abstract (should not exceed 800 words)
  • Contact info and a short description of research interests of the authors.
  • The committee aims to select a balanced set of abstracts that cover the various media (film, television, photography, oral history, digital storytelling, recordings of sound and movement) and tools that are needed at the various  stages of the research process (exploration, annotation, analysis, presentation, curation and preservation).
  • Submissions should be in English.

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract (docx or pdf) to Accepted abstracts will be published on the workshop website.

Important dates

  • Abstract submissions due: 16 May 2014 23:59 (CET)
  • Acceptance notification: 28 May
  • Workshop: 8 July 2014

Further information

More information about the workshop can be found on the website.
Please note that registration for the workshop requires registration to the full DH2014 conference.
For further information and questions, contact us via

For further dissemination of this call, please use this page or the call for papers PDF.