Conference Agenda

Maps, Digital Archives
Friday, 20/Mar/2020:
11:20am - 12:50pm

Session Chair: Olga Holownia
Location: Hall A

Short Paper (10+5min)

Digital Mapping: Research Method and Data Representation Tool in

Sandis Laime

Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia, Latvia

Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art (ILFA), University of Latvia is the main institution in Latvia with the aim of collecting, archiving, publishing and doing research on Latvian folklore. Since 1924 when the ALF was established it has become one of the biggest folklore archives in Europe and an important resource of records of Latvian traditional culture. The advancement of digital technologies provides new possibilities of structuring and analysing the archival data, on the one hand, and new ways of presenting the contents of the archive and the research results to general public, on the other hand. In 2014 an ambitious project of digitizing the contents of ALF and making it available online ( was started in order to promote the accessibility of traditional culture resources in the digital environment both for the professionals of the field and the general public. The digital archive provides not only the possibility of storing the data but also analysing it. No other institution of the Latvian humanities is currently offering such a possibility to geocode, analyse and visualise the humanities sources.

In my paper I will focus on the mapping tool of the digital archive and concentrate on the following aspects:

- ) Digital mapping as a research tool and method. Mapping of folklore sources is one of the basic methods used in folkloristics and developed since the emergence of historical-geographical method or so called Finnish school in folkloristics. Tradition-geographical approach is also an important methodological tool in research related to the history and historical typology of specific folkloristic / cultural phenomena. Although the method is not very often used nowadays, the possibilities of digital mapping have revived the mapping method with many interesting projects already finished and data made available in open access resources.

- ) Digital infrastructure of related to digital mapping. The infrastructure of the digital archive related to the mapping process and storage of the geocoded data consists of two main elements:

1) the mapping tool which aims to enable mapping of the metadata of the humanities sources included in digital archive; quantity and quality analysis of the mapped geospatial information and visualisation of the results (the archive uses the basic visualisations – markers, heatmaps, clusters and circle charts); mapping tool is made available only for registered users and editors of the digital archive in the administrator environment of;

2) to ensure storage of the mapped data in a single database wherein the information related to particular places is aggregated (alternative names, address, geographical coordinates, description, photographs etc.) along with the relations of the place with the data included in the other databases of (persons, organisations, folklore and literary texts, audio and video recordings, illustrations). This enables examination of the diachronic complexity of those particular places. To date, in digital archive, these digital tools are available to process the text corpus. Besides, guidelines have been developed and described for the editors of the digital archive to use those digital tools; the methodology has been standardised for using the mapping tool and entering of data in the Places database. A double-check system has been elaborated to ensure the quality of the data which is made available in open access database.

- ) Map as a way of data structuring and representation to general public. The main principle of every digital archive is to provide the access to the collections in user-friendly and structured way making the data easy searchable and really accessible. One of the ways of structuring data is according to the geospatial principle – if this kind of information is available. Depending on the specific needs of the researchers and general public there are two options to retrieve the geocoded data in open access digital archive

1) The universal map ( is a map-based data retrieval option giving access to the whole corpus of geocoded localities contained in the database of places. The universal map provides advanced search options by different criteria: 1) by data repository, 2) by collection and 3) by database. If any of seven databases is chosen for data exploration it provides further database-specific data selection options. The search engine of the universal map is designed so that data retrieval is possible on both on very general and very specific subjects depending on the combination of selected search criteria.

2) Maps are also included in all databases of containing geospatial data. supports four basic visualisation options of the quantitative geocoded data: (1) clusters, (2) heat maps, (3) markers and (4) circle charts. The quantity of data can be retrieved by choosing one of the two options: 1) by place as the main principle of quantity and 2) by the quantity of related data of the place.

The mapping tool and the database of places has been elaborated within two projects carried out in ILFA: ERDF project “Empowering knowledge society: interdisciplinary perspectives on public involvement in the production of digital cultural heritage” (No., project leader Sanita Reinsone) and the ERDF postdoctoral project “Latvian Folk Narrative Research: Elaboration of Geospatial Data Analysis Tool and Online Legend Motif and Type Index” (No., project leader Sandis Laime).

Short Paper (10+5min)

Arctic Visible: Mapping the Visual Representations of Indigenous Peoples in the Nineteenth-Century Western Arctic

Eavan Fiona O'Dochartaigh

Umeå University, Sweden

This paper presents the data and early digital stages of the new postdoctoral project, ARCVIS (2019-2021), based at Humlab, Umeå University, with the support of the Arctic Research Centre (Arcum) and the Department of Language Studies. The project gathers, contextualizes, and maps over a thousand nineteenth-century visual images of local communities in the western Arctic (primarily Alaska, Canada, and Greenland). The core data includes sketches, paintings, and photographs, as well as engravings and lithographs in periodicals and in published travel narratives created by ‘explorers.’ Through the display and analysis of picture and text, the project will make visible the indigenous people who were key to the success or failure of expeditions from the south, disrupt the grand narrative of heroic polar exploration, and counteract the popular imaginary of the Arctic as empty and desolate.

The critical focus of the sciences and the humanities pertaining to the Arctic has traditionally been on ice and hostile environments. It is not surprising, then, that the dominant and enduring imaginary of the Arctic in more southern latitudes is of a space devoid of people. Numerous literary studies of the Arctic exist while the rich visual records created by travellers to the region in the nineteenth century have been surprisingly overlooked. Previous studies of the visual representations of the Arctic focus almost exclusively on the public representations, failing to consider the layers of visual archival material that often exist behind or beyond them.

Yet, hundreds of rich visual and textual sources, particularly from this period, attest to a peopled Arctic. In contrast to enduring images of ice, the project will show the Arctic as a peopled environment with a rich history and heritage.

ARCVIS will ultimately make available an open-access online platform. This will contain a geospatial database of visual works designed to encourage use by a general audience (as well as by scholars across disciplines with an Arctic focus). Much of the relevant data is currently held by various archives around the world, primarily outside the Arctic itself. Some of these images are available online but a significant portion cannot be easily accessed and their inclusion in the database will be prioritized. The project will communicate with Arctic NGOs and seek the input of local communities, encouraging a greater sense of ownership over the material. By spatially connecting little-known archival materials (held in repositories worldwide) to their places of origin in the Arctic, the project seeks to virtually ‘return’ sketches and illustrations to their rightful ‘homes.’ In this way, the research strives to give ‘voice’ to the indigenous people who were key to the success or failure of expeditions from the south.

Close analysis of the pictures and their associated texts is informed by the disciplines of literature, art history, and geography, and theoretical frameworks of postcolonialism, semiotics, iconography, and space and place. These combined approaches allow for a more cohesive understanding of the cultural material from Arctic expeditions, ensuring the analysis of the visual, textual, and spatial aspects of the archive simultaneously.

The geospatial database is being designed in a user-friendly and visually appealing manner, using bespoke design, mapping, illustration, and archival material in order to encourage users to explore the material, both deepening their knowledge and increasing their interest in the Arctic. The spatial display of information is critical for the research, particularly for the open-access geodatabase. The power to show the specific places that pictures depict, or originate from, is key to understanding the variation and the differences within the Arctic environment and will show how certain places became central locations to which expeditions returned repeatedly.

Detailed information will be recorded and created to inform the metadata, which will include the title, artist, date, medium, subject, placename, season depicted, associated text, dimensions, and archival details, as well as what each picture contains. The project will aim to establish the geographic extent or origins of pictures through examination of inscriptions, associated texts, and comparative material. The data will be visualised on modern, historical, and bespoke maps of the Arctic, which will allow simple searches to be performed by zooming in on a location. The material will also be searchable by other parameters such as subject, place, artist, or voyage, making the information relevant to a variety of users. No similar or comparable database currently exists and this trans-disciplinary resource will make the (otherwise remote) archives accessible and relevant for local Arctic communities. By creating visually engaging and interactive online material, the project will extend its potential impact beyond academia.

This paper specifically looks at the process of building the ARCVIS database and outlines the challenges encountered when gathering data from a variety of sources in order to create a new, unified, interrogable, and evolving dataset. Preliminary data, database structure and interface design possibilities, as well as emerging problems, questions, and gaps in the data will also be explored in this paper. Ultimately, the research project investigates the importance of the role of indigenous people for expeditions and interrogates the public representation of the nineteenth-century Arctic as an empty, frozen space to be conquered.

Short Paper (10+5min)

Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia

Paul Arthur1, Erik Champion2, Hugh Craig3, Ning Gu4, Mark Harvey3, Victoria Haskins3, Andrew May5, Bill Pascoe3, Alana Piper6, Lyndall Ryan3, Rosalind Smith3, Deb Verhoeven7

1Edith Cowan University, Australia; 2Curtin University, Australia; 3University of Newcastle, Australia; 4University of South Australia, Australia; 5The University of Melbourne, Australia; 6University of Technology Sydney, Australia; 7University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

This paper reports on an Australian project that is developing an online system to deliver researcher-driven national-scale infrastructure for the humanities, focused on mapping, time series, and data integration. Australian scholars and scholars of Australia worldwide are well served with digital resources and tools to deepen the understanding of Australia and its historical and cultural heritage. There are, however, significant barriers to use. The Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia (TLCMap) will provide an umbrella infrastructure related to time and space, helping to activate and draw together existing high-quality resources. TLCMap expands the use of Australian cultural and historical data for research through sharply defined and powerful discovery mechanisms. See

Long Paper (20+10min)

The Curious Case of Online Nyishi Folklore: A Critical Study On the Digital Archives

Deepika Deepika

University of Tartu, Estonia; University of Hyderabad, India

This project examines the influence of technology and the internet in the preservation and dissemination of Nyishi folklore. The paradigm shift in the Nyishi community tells us about the importance and influence of technology in their everyday life. A rapid transition from a traditional way of life to modern-technology embedded life is shaping their identity. More and more people are choosing online space as an ideal platform to perform and prove their existence. This phenomenon of online participation and performance is slowly becoming a trend for many societies across the world. So, this paper will mainly focus on the online participation of Nyishi people on various platforms like Facebook and YouTube. First, it will identify the folkloric material by using the Text Mining procedure and other aspects of digital humanities. Folklore is the only source for us to understand the Nyishi community since the Nyishi community does not have any written history. The second aspect of this project deals with the process of archiving. There is a growing need for archival resources for the future. In this first moving world, it is necessary to preserve the culture and tradition for the future generation for knowledge and references. Since we are living in the digital age, and everything is becoming online, this project will focus on the digital archiving of Nyishi folklore.


In this 21st century, our life is embedded with the technology, and the concept of performance is encapsulated in more comprehensive processes of techno-social emergence, production, and control (McKenzie 2001). Nowadays, we cannot think of our everyday life without technology, and society must adapt to rapid technological growth. On the other hand, digital technologies and the internet have built up a new environment and culture in society (Gere 2008). Now, we all are connected through a network (Castells 2004) and live in a virtual world where one can interact with anyone, many or only one person, and present himself or herself (Goffman 1956, Miller 1995). The penetration of the internet in our everyday life-changing and transforming our culture very rapidly, and giving a free hand to the individual or communities to express and enact openly or discreetly. In a way, the digital culture and internet has opened the door for many marginalized cultures, and help them in the process of preservation and dissemination. The Internet also opened up for a new mode of communication where people can create and circulate the messages easily. With the advancement of technology and internet, many culture, tradition, and folklore around the world have revived and reaching out to the people by crossing the geographical barrier as well as the time limit. Nowadays people from many communities are coming online and, creating a space of their own and expressing their identity, culture, and agency. Nyishi folklore is also taking pace with the help of internet technology. Internet folklore is becoming a major source of information and entertainment for the people. Nyishi people are actively using various online platforms like Facebook and YouTube to represent themselves. They are updating the Nyishi folktale, legend, story, custom, and tradition on their Facebook and YouTube pages, and attracting people from both inside and outside world.

Young generation from the Nyishi community is doing an excellent job of documenting their folklore. They are building an archive of their culture and tradition on the online platform. If we discussed the authenticity of these online archives, we must look into the source information. Since the Nyishi does not have any written text, they have to rely on oral narratives. Moreover, this young generation doing a very tedious job of documenting oral history. It has been found during the interview that the young generation goes to gaon buda or gaon budi, older people in the villages to ask about the Nyishi history, legend, folklore, culture, and traditions. Whatever information they gathered from the older people they write/post in the online platform.

Moreover, in this process, they document their culture and tradition in the online platform. In this age of mechanical reproduction of culture, Nyishi people are actively participating and representing themselves on the Internet. The Internet has provided a space for them in the society which is safe for them to exercise their agency. (Hellen Kennedy 2014) So it is important to critically look into the growing impact of the Internet on society. As the Internet developed as a communications facilitator, folklore emerged as recognizably the way it was in the real world. Folk groups are readily identifiable on the Internet, as evidenced by chat forums, blogs, online political activity, fan web pages, and a plethora of other interrelated concepts. From the earliest moments of the modern Internet's existence, folklore was a central component of the domain, moderating the intersection of computer professionals with hackers, contemporary lingo, and the dispersal of stories, pranks, and legends (Jennings 1990).

Identifying Folkloric Materials:

The foremost thing in this project is dealing with the folkloric material. So it is important to describe folklore and other aspects related to it. According to Alan Dundes, folk is the group of people whatsoever who share at least one common factor (Dundes 1987). The informal or unofficial level of cultural understanding is the “folk” level, the level on which cultural knowledge is shared, enacted, and propagated by regular, everyday people (McNeil 2013). Folklore is informal, traditional culture. It’s all the cultural stuff— customs, stories, jokes, art—that we learn from each other, by word of mouth or observation, rather than through formal institutions (McNeil 2013). When we talk about traditional in folklore, it means passed on. It’s important to note that calling something “traditional” doesn’t mean it’s “old.” A brand-new legend or rumor can be passed along via e-mail to thousands of people in just a few days—and that’s still traditional. Since folklore need a medium to travel, I have chosen Facebook as the main medium to understand folklore in this project. The growing participation of Nyishi people and circulation of Nyishi folklore on Facebook makes it the ideal place to understand the Nyishi culture and traditions. Facebook is the main source of information for this project. So all the data need to be collected from the Facebook pages and filtered in Voyant Tools, to get the exact and relevant materials. Facebook post related to Nyishi folklore contain both images and text, so it is essential to convert the images to text form and run it through the text mining procedures. Once the texts are thoroughly analyzed it will be categorized to different section depending on its frequency. The frequently occurred text will be taken into consideration for the next step which will deal with the process of archiving.

Digital Archiving- Preserving Folklore Online:

Online circulation and preservation is the only reason which enable us to learn about the Nyishi folklore. Without online platform and internet, it is impossible to know about the existence of Nyishi people in the world. Nyishi tribe have their own beautiful culture and tradition, which is still intact even in the age of multiculturalism and globalization. Many people in India, as well as the world, do not have any idea about the existence of this beautiful community. The geographical location is always a hindrance in the popularity and circulation of Nyishi culture and traditions. Also, the lack of written history in Nyishi tribe. Nyishi community does not have any written history or text. So it is quite impossible to learn about Nyishi people. However, things have been changing over the last decades, and the world is slowly recognizing the Nyishi people. Modern technologies and innovations have transformed the culture and tradition of the Nyishi community. It has created a new identity for Nyishi people through the Internet. The penetration of the Internet or the WWW (world wide web) allowed the folk to express and represent their "lore"- culture, custom, and tradition to a broader mass.

So, it is essential to archive this invaluable culture for the future generation for their knowledge and references. Since the internet is the primary source of information about the Nyishi folklore, this project will focus on the folklore collected through Facebook by suing text mining procedures. The online data and materials will not be a hindrance in the process of archiving since it is not dealing with any physical text. Digitizing physical texts and images have its problems and drawbacks. It is time-consuming and needs more effort as compared to online data mining and digital archiving. The fundamental questions that arise in this project are the versatile nature of data. Since the project is in the beginning stage, it has only focused on the process of filter and categorization of the relevant folkloric materials by using text mining procedures.

Key Words: Nyishi folklore, technology, internet, online performance, text mining, digital humanities, digital archiving.

Short Paper (10+5min)

Incomplete Architectural Projects – a Digital Repository Based on the OMEKA System

Ewa Serafin-Prusator, Maciej Tarkowski

University of Warsaw, Digital Competances Center, Poland

During the implementation of projects related to digital visualisation of architecture we came across exceptional collections – plans of architectural complexes that had never been built had never existed in public space. However, the ideas of them are retained on sheets of paper, which are often their complete architectural design. Some of them were intended to exist only in the form of sheets of paper, others were planned to be built, but were not implemented for, among others, historical reasons. The collections found are an interesting cultural heritage material. For this reason, as the Digital Competence Centre of the University of Warsaw, we have initiated and built a digital repository that collects such sources and makes them available.

The project entitled “Incomplete/complete” is intended to gather architectural visions of both foreign artists, including Étienne-Louis Boullée, and Polish ones, including Stanisław Kostka Potocki. We are interested in the plans of unimplemented architectural complexes that appeared from antiquity to the 20th century.

The repository that we have built contains currently materials that concern three architectural objects, created by the best European architects. These objects are: Villa Laurentina, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Temple of the Highest Providence.

The first of these buildings, Villa Laurentina, was never intended to be built. It was to remain exclusively in the sphere of ideas. Villa Laurentina, the residence of Pliny the Younger (61–113 CE), located 20 km from Rome, near Ostia, was an artistic undertaking that fascinated 18th-century Polish intellectuals. Inspired by Stanisław Kostka Potocki (1755–1821), it was reconstructed on large sheets of paper on the basis of, among others, literary descriptions; these sheets are still stored in the archives. The Museum of Fine Arts is a concept of the first Museum of Art in Poland. It did not come into existence, but some of its elements – a gallery of sculptures – were used and implemented in the form of a columned hall of the Faculty of History building of the University of Warsaw. The Temple of the Highest Providence was being built in Warsaw. To this day, in the place where it was to be erected, on the grounds of the today’s University of Warsaw Botanic Garden near the Łazienki Park, the foundation stone is laid. The Temple was not built for political and historical reasons. It was finally built in a completely different form, under a different name and in a different place in Warsaw.

We have built the repository using the OMEKA system, making every endeavours to meet standards and ensure the greatest possible interoperability with other resources and projects thanks to the implementation of OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) and the implementation of API (Application Programming Interface).

During the speech we will present the repository built by us and show the fate of the selected project and its creator. We will discuss how the original vision influenced successive architects, artists, thinkers, and how it was interpreted by them. This will show the permanence and continuity of thought over the centuries. In the future, we would like to put more emphasis on building three-dimensional visualisations on the basis of the materials collected in the repository so that the visions and ideas of the creators of unbuilt objects can exist in a digital form and thus have a chance to develop and evolve.