Priests’ libraries – Part 2: making our data operable

by Jaap Geraerts and Teresa Wendel

In a previous blog post that appeared almost three years ago (tempus fugit!), I introduced a small (pilot) project on priests’ libraries from the early modern Dutch Republic. Since then, a lot has happened – in general, but also in relation to this project. Apart from the publication of a chapter in an edited volume on this topic, two research assistants, Sarah Büttner and Teresa Wendel, have patiently and conscientiously identified (most of) the books mentioned in the inventories that form the basis of this project and linked them, whenever possible, to records in online catalogues. Moreover, the latter has created a data model that we developed further in an iterative manner. Ultimately, this data model makes it possible to discern trends within individual libraries and across them, thus furthering our knowledge of the intellectual and pastoral formation of priests serving in the Holland Mission (the Catholic mission in the Dutch Republic), among other topics. This blog post will offer a glimpse of the process of developing a data model and making our data operable in a graph database.

„Priests’ libraries – Part 2: making our data operable“ weiterlesen

Competing demands: on combining different activities during my Postdoc

A small project called Europäische Friedensverträge der Vormoderne in Daten (FriVer+) ran at the DH Lab in 2023. The main aim of this project was to transform the data that had been gathered during an earlier project, Europäische Friedensverträge der Vormoderne online, and that was stored in an SQL-database, into XML and make it publicly available. All of this was done in accordance with the FAIR principles. The various activities this project comprised are already explained in another blog on the Text+-blog as well as in the project documentation. Hence I won’t reiterate all this information here. Instead, I would like to offer a short reflection on the advantages and challenges of combining a project like FriVer+ with my role as Postdoc at IEG Mainz.

„Competing demands: on combining different activities during my Postdoc“ weiterlesen

Workshop in Villa Vigoni

by Jaap Geraerts

There’s a wonderful phrase in Dutch: “het nuttige met het aangename verenigen,” which means something like “to unite that which is useful (nuttig) with that which is pleasant (aangenaam).”  Although in general academia tends to be firmly tilted towards the former, occasionally it does happen that the coveted combination of utility and pleasantness is achieved. The week I spent at Villa Vigoni in Menaggio, Italy, together with a number of colleagues in late February/early March 2023, is a particularly great example thereof. „Workshop in Villa Vigoni“ weiterlesen

DH Lab Retreat 2022: Delving into goals, tasks and values

by Jaap Geraerts

In September 2019, so in pre-pandemic times, several (former) members of the IEG DH Lab went on a retreat to Kloster Jakobsberg for a couple of days. The main goal of this retreat was to discuss the individual research projects and to discover overlap between them and encourage cooperation within the frame of the DH Lab. In other words, the focus was on putting flesh on the bones on the laboratorial dimension of our research unit. „DH Lab Retreat 2022: Delving into goals, tasks and values“ weiterlesen

RSA 2022 in Dublin

By Jaap Geraerts

Two weeks ago, from March 29 until April 2, the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) conference took place in Dublin. It’s probably the largest conference for academics interested in the early modern period and it customarily attracts scholars from various historical disciplines and fields from all over the world. Over the last couple of years, the number of papers and panels on the digital humanities has been steadily increasing at this conference. For me this is good news: RSA now offers me a platform to share both my latest archival findings and to showcase the technical side of my project. „RSA 2022 in Dublin“ weiterlesen

Priests’ libraries in the Dutch Republic

By Jaap Geraerts and Sarah Büttner

The scholarly importance of “Priesterbibliotheken” (priests’ libraries) is well-known: they provide insight into what Catholic priests serving in the Holland Mission read or at least thought useful to own. Moreover, such libraries can tell us more about early modern Dutch Catholic spirituality, but also about the wider interest in books outside the remit of theology and pastoral care. Lastly, in particular libraries from the eighteenth century will also help to enhance our understanding of the schism which occurred in the Dutch Catholic Church. “Priesterbibliotheken (priests’ libraries) in the Dutch Republic” is a small pilot project which started at the IEG DH Lab in early 2021. The project aims to capture the bibliographical information contained in manuscript inventories of the libraries of Catholic priests serving in the Republic and making this available in digital form.
„Priests’ libraries in the Dutch Republic“ weiterlesen

Dealing with uncertainty and capturing the underrepresented

by Jaap Geraerts

Since I started my project on the schism in the Catholic Church in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic in the summer of 2019, I have been creating a dataset that comprises the information contained in lists of baptisms, burials, and marriages. This information enables me to trace the movement of Catholics to another, competing Catholic Church in the context of the schism. Consider, for example, Henricus Verbruggen and Maria Blomevelt. They baptised their first two children in a mission station that was part of the Church of Utrecht but had their third and last child baptised in the Roman Catholic Church (see Fig. 1). „Dealing with uncertainty and capturing the underrepresented“ weiterlesen

Research in times of COVID

by Jaap Geraerts

COVID-19 has posed a challenge, to put it mildly, to how most of us go about living our lives. Either in our personal life or work life, most if not all of us had to make significant adaptions in order to deal with a world that still is in the grasp of pandemic. The experience I’d like to focus on in this blog post, is that of doing research at these unprecedented times. Fairly soon after COVID-19 broke out, it became clear that it would have huge implications for researchers and teachers. Due to travel bans and other restrictions, virtually all conferences were either canceled or were held online in some form or another. In a short time span, teachers across the world had to go to extraordinary lengths to move their courses online. As libraries and archives closed their doors and traveling to or from particular countries became severely restricted or even impossible, the access to primary and secondary sources, the very fuel of our research, was hampered to a large degree. „Research in times of COVID“ weiterlesen

The Archaeology of Reading, COVID-19, and online teaching

by Jaap Geraerts

Prior to taking up my current position at the IEG, I was based at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) at University College London where I served as the postdoctoral fellow on the digital humanities project “The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe” (AOR). An international collaboration between CELL, Johns Hopkins University, and Princeton University, the project team, consisting of historians, computer engineers, and librarians, aimed to enable a more structured analysis of historical reading practices through the creation of an online resource. The end result is a modified IIIF-compliant viewer comprising a corpus of 36 early modern books annotated by Gabriel Harvey and John Dee and the fully searchable transcriptions of all the “interventions” they made in these books. This viewer is accompanied by a WordPress site which contains contextual information of the scholarly and technological aspects of the project.
„The Archaeology of Reading, COVID-19, and online teaching“ weiterlesen

ReIReS meetings in Paris

by Jaap Geraerts

The IEG is one of the twelve partners of the Horizon2020 project “Religious Infrastructure on Religious Studies”, mostly known by its acronym “ReIReS“. Within this project, one of the main responsibilities of the IEG is the organisation of the various training sessions such DH workshops and training schools that take place at each of the partner institutions. Of particular interest for the DH Lab at the IEG are the DH workshops which allow scholars from the partner institutions as well as from external institutions to become acquainted with various tools and methods that are customarily used within the broad field that has come to be called “Digital Humanities”.
„ReIReS meetings in Paris“ weiterlesen

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