The Case of the Dutch Folktale Database
by Iwe Muiser, Mariët Theune, Ruud de Jong, Nigel Smink, Dolf Trieschnigg, Djoerd Hiemstra, and Theo Meder
This paper demonstrates the use of a user-centred design approach for the development of generous interfaces/rich prospect browsers for an online cultural heritage collection, determining its primary user groups and designing different browsing tools to cater to their specific needs. We set out to solve a set of problems faced by many online cultural heritage collections. These problems are lack of accessibility, limited functionalities to explore the collection through browsing, and risk of less known content being overlooked. The object of our study is the Dutch Folktale Database, an online collection of tens of thousands of folktales from the Netherlands. Although this collection was designed as a research commodity for folktale experts, its primary user group consists of casual users from the general public. We present the new interfaces we developed to facilitate browsing and exploration of the collection by both folktale experts and casual users. We focus on the user-centred design approach we adopted to develop interfaces that would fit the users' needs and preferences.
Published in Digital Humanities Quarterly 11(4), 2017
Access the Folktale Database at: http://www.verhalenbank.nl/.
by Dolf Trieschnigg , Djoerd Hiemstra , Mariët Theune, Franciska de Jong, and Theo Meder
The Dutch Folktale Database contains fairy tales, traditional legends, urban legends, and jokes written in a large variety and combination of languages including (Middle and 17th century) Dutch, Frisian and a number of Dutch dialects. In this work we compare a number of approaches to automatic language identification for this collection. We show that in comparison to typical language identification tasks, classification performance for highly similar languages with little training data is low. The studied dataset consisting of over 39,000 documents in 16 languages and dialects is available on request for followup research.
The paper will be presented at the LREC Workshop Adaptation of Language Resources and Tools for Processing Cultural Heritage Objects on 26 May 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey
Iwe Muiser joined the Database Group to work on the project FACT: “Folktales as Classifiable Texts”. Welcome Iwe!
FACT, Folktales As Classifiable Texts, is a project funded by the NWO Catch program. In the FACT project, the HMI group and DB group of the University of Twente will cooperate with the Meertens Institute to study new possibilities for researchers from humanities disciplines (folktale and narratology researchers, documentalists, etc.) to explore folktales based on annotations and links generated by data-driven methods. To this end, FACT will develop software enabling the computer to automatically enrich a corpus of Dutch folktales with metadata such as names, genre, type, and a summary. In addition, FACT represents the first effort to systematically apply and evaluate various clustering techniques on a very large (40.000+) and diverse collection of folktales. The algorithms developed in the project will be integrated in a user-friendly platform that supports annotation as well as exploratory research into variability in oral and written transmission, using XML database technology to model all folktale data (both annotations and the text of the tale itself) in one unifying framework. A large part of the scientific research in FACT will deal with the pros and cons of human classification and computerized clustering to investigate variation in (oral) transmission. By using document clustering, we hope to discover relationships between documents that cannot be readily identified by human annotators. The main challenge will be to make the computer decide which texts are related and which are not. This is not a black-or-white issue: folktales may be related to each other on different dimensions and to varying degrees. Will the computer be able to recognize the cultural DNA of tales, and make a distinction between different types (no kinship) and versions of the same type (kinship)?
More information at: Nederlandse Volksverhalenbank, and eLab Oral Culture.
by Roeland Ordelman, Willemijn Heeren, Franciska de Jong, Marijn Huijbregts, and Djoerd Hiemstra
This paper presents and discusses ongoing work aiming at affordable disclosure of real-world spoken heritage archives in general, and in particular of a collection of recorded interviews with Dutch survivors of World War II concentration camp Buchenwald. Given such collections, we at least want to provide search at different levels and a flexible way of presenting results. Strategies for automatic annotation based on speech recognition â€“ supporting e.g., within-document searchâ€“ are outlined and discussed with respect to the Buchenwald interview collection. In addition, usability aspects of the spoken word search are discussed on the basis of our experiences with the online Buchenwald web portal. It is concluded that, although user feedback is generally fairly positive, automatic annotation performance is not yet satisfactory, and requires additional research.
To be published in the Journal of Digital Information 10(6).