AI for cultural heritage

CWI has started a new collaboration with heritage and research institutions around AI. In the Cultural AI Lab, they will be exploring the possibilities of the use of AI for cultural research.

Paintings, manuscripts, photographs, videos, newspaper articles – heritage institutions have an enormous wealth of digitized collections. AI plays an important role in analyzing these collections and making them accessible.

CWI, the KNAW Humanities Cluster, the Dutch National Library, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Rijksmuseum, TNO, the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam have therefore joined forces in the Cultural AI Lab. Together they will explore the possibilities of the use of AI for cultural research. They aim to make AI technology more aware of cultural contexts and to align cultural institutions with state-of-the-art AI research in the Netherlands.

Five research projects
The parties will work closely together to develop AI tools that can be applied in the cultural heritage sector. In the coming months, the first five research projects will start, including an investigation into the automatic tracing of colonial terminology in collection data and an investigation into framing in online journalism.

The Cultural AI Lab will start with these five research projects:

AI:CULT Culturally Aware
Automated analysis and enrichment of object descriptions in museum collections using AI. The goal is to use AI within the cultural heritage in a transparent and inclusive way, while keeping the user in control and providing insight into changes made inspired by AI research.
Parties: KNAW Meertens Institute, CWI, KNAW Humanities Cluster, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Dutch National Library. Funded by the Dutch Research Council.

SABIO – the SociAl Bias Observatory
Automated analysis of collection descriptions in museum collections in order to detect colonial terminology. This research maps the cultural bias in collections and updates the information without overwriting existing collection data.
Parties: KNAW Humanities Cluster, Museum of World Cultures, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Dutch National Library. Funded by Network Digital Heritage.

Better Informing Citizens about Current Debates
Automated analyses of contemporary debates in the press with the aim of developing a tool that makes it possible to evaluate and improve the quality of online debates.
Parties: KNAW Humanities Cluster and Tilburg University

Analysis of context and framing in online journalism. In RE-FRAME they will investigate the reuse of resources and the role they play in the construction of audio-visual journalistic storytelling through content analysis and (action-based) production analysis. They will investigate how new technologies, such as Automatic Speech Recognition and Computer Vision, contained in the CLARIAH Media Suite, can play a role in finding and interpreting content and in journalistic practice.
Parties: Utrecht University and Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Researcher in Residence Programme Cultural AI
External researchers can use the data from the Dutch National Library to propose research on the themes of the Cultural AI Lab. The selected researchers will receive compensation and can make use of the facilities of the library during their research. In 2021, the library will collaborate with researcher Simon Kemper on a project to locate entities (persons, places and organizations) in the multilingual colonial digitized newspapers using various AI language models.



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