Dr. Tobias Blanke to Speak on Use of Digital Archives to Discover Holocaust Stories

Dr. Tobias Blanke to Speak on Use of Digital Archives to Discover Holocaust Stories

Digital archives can tell amazing stories; by collecting and presenting information that would otherwise be scattered and inaccessible, this work can cast new light on important periods of history. Join us next week to hear a compelling example of the value of this work from Dr. Tobias Blanke. Read on to learn more about Dr. Blanke and his upcoming visit to the iSchool.

The iSchool's Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) will host Dr. Blanke under the Dr. Paul Wasserman Visiting Scholar Program. Dr. Blanke's visit will kick off with a plenary session and reception on Tuesday, September 27th from 5-7pm. His talk, entitled The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure and the (slow) emergence of computational archival science, will tell the story of his work at EHRI and how its archives have become computational over the last 7 years.

"I hope students will see that computational archival work is an exciting area to be involved in and that there is a future for assembling such large-scale efforts," says Dr. Blanke. "It is fun to work with so many partners from different background and at the same time extremely rewarding to look at the results and see the impact you can have."

About Dr. Blanke

Dr. Blanke is a Reader in Social and Cultural Informatics in the Department of Digital Humanities at King¹s College London. Social and Cultural Informatics is the interdisciplinary study of digital information and its interactions with social and cultural practices. From open source optical character recognition, open linked data, and scholarly primitives to document mining and information extraction, Dr. Blanke's work has been instrumental to the field for many years. He has an academic background in philosophy and computer science.

Currently Dr. Blanke's work focuses on the long-term exploration of the digital transformation of archival research, with a specific focus on how to democratize born-digital content. He is a co-investigator on several recent grants, co-organizer of a new MA in Big Data in Culture and Society at King's College, and the scientific coordinator of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (http://www.ehri-project.eu)..

Additionally, Dr. Blanke works on several international projects and committees. Most notably, he is one of the directors of the Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities (DARIAH), a European ESFRI project to create an integrated research infrastructure for digital arts and humanities, a key initiative for the European Research Area.

About the Eurpoean Holocaust Research Infrastructure

EHRI is based in Amsterdam and holds close collaborative connections to many other institutions, including Maryland’s iSchool. In addition to our own Dr. Michael Kurtz serving on the EHRI advisory board, the DCIC is a cooperating Institutional member of EHRI-2.

The Enhanced International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property project (IRP2) is a collaborative project between archival, museum, and technical experts to create a linked database to facilitate data identification, analysis, and visualization of looted Holocaust-era information located on the Portal. The Portal is a collaboration of 18 national and other archival institutions with collections distributed over multiple sites.

The goal of IRP2 is to use both federated and graph-database search technologies to conduct automated searches across the Portal in order to retrieve and consolidate information on individuals, organizations, and cultural objects related to Nazi-looted cultural assets. Beneficiaries include Holocaust victims and heirs, investigators, scholars, archival and museum professionals, lawyers, genealogists, and interested members of the general public. More information about the EHRI-2 can be found at http://www.ehri-project.eu/about-ehri

Event Details:

Plenary session and reception
September 27, 5-7pm
The DCIC will host a plenary session and reception honoring Dr. Blanke. The reception will be held in McKeldin Library Room 6137, Special Events Room. All students and faculty are welcome to attend his discussion on Computational Archival Science research.

Meet and Greet
September 28, 12-1pm
The DCIC will be hosting a meet and greet with Dr. Blanke to discuss his projects and research. Pizza will be available for students who attend. Please RSVP by clicking this link: https://goo.gl/forms/DQzh66SuZaV0jOZ52

September 28, 2-4pm
Dr. Blanke will be leading a data-thon involving the statistical programming language R and how it applies to archival records. Please RSVP by clicking this link: https://goo.gl/forms/qm3ixUSnKMv2rNOL2.

Please email dcic.ischool@gmail.com if you have any questions about the events or Dr. Blanke's visit.