Materia on the Move:

Trade & Colonisation of Collections

Digital Studies in Provenance

Materia on the Move

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Digital Humanities conference (DH2019), the annual international conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations which will take place in July 9-12, 2019, in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from various humanities disciplines, such as history, ethnography and archaeology, with the established guardians of collections, namely researchers in archival, library, museum studies and information science professionals and stakeholders to present and discuss approaches in tracing and documenting provence, be it geographical or cultural and ideological.

Scope and Topic

The transfer of ideas, knowledge and culture is linked with the transfer and interpretation of objects, be it art objects, tools or natural specimens, such as plants, minerals, and animals. These objects have been removed from their natural cultural and environmental context into collections. Being mediums of knowledge transfer and evolution, objects move in both space and time. In time, as objects are relocated and re-studied, new interpretations of the objects and relations between them are formed in accordance to scientific and political, ethical and societal developments. In space, they move along trade networks and are discussed in communication networks.

Currently, digitised cultural heritage data, such as art collections, letters, digitised manuscripts, archival material, and natural history specimens, present an unprecedented opportunity for humanities researchers investigating various aspects of such object trajectories:

  • by connecting and integrating disparate data sources to re-contextualise lost historical and cultural contexts;
  • by extraction of information from historical and modern document sources;
  • by developing metadata that capture the evolution of knowledge and the information content of available digitised sources;
  • by developing algorithms for combining available information


Topics of interest include:

  • Use of linked data for data integration
  • Approaches to metadata and knowledge resource development
  • Historical information modelling
  • Use of geographical information & historical location resolution
  • Processing of textual sources for information related to transferred objects
  • Tracing knowledge through scientific and/or commercial networks