By Hugo Huurdeman

During the Digital Humanities Benelux 2019 conference in Liège, a paper created in the context of CLARIAH received the best paper award. This paper looked at novel and visual ways to support scholars’ interpretation of audiovisual sources through temporal content exploration. 

From 11 to 13 September 2019, a large number of Digital Humanities (DH) researchers from Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands came together in Liège for the annual DH Benelux conference. On the basis of peer reviews conducted for DH Benelux 2019, five papers were nominated for the best paper award. According to the jury, two papers stood “head and shoulders above the rest”, and therefore two best paper awards were given. One was bestowed upon Gerben Zaagsma and his paper Digital History and the Politics of Digitization. The other best paper award went to Hugo Huurdeman, Liliana Melgar, Roeland Ordelman and Julia Noordegraaf, for a paper created in the context of CLARIAH’s Media Studies work package. This paper was entitled Supporting the Interpretation of Enriched Audiovisual Sources through Temporal Content Exploration.

The paper by Huurdeman et al. describes findings of the ReVI project, a pilot looking at enhancing the Resource Viewer of the CLARIAH Media Suite, where audiovisual materials can be played. Specifically, the ReVI project looked at optimal ways “to support the exploration of different types of content metadata of audiovisual sources, such as segment information or automatic transcripts.” During the project, various design thinking sessions were conducted, and a prototype including temporal content visualizations of audiovisual materials was created and evaluated in a user study.

The findings of the user study showed a clear value of temporal visualizations and advanced annotation features for research purposes, as well as the continued importance of a data and tool criticism approach. New content exploration tools can benefit scholars doing research with audiovisual sources, for instance in media studies, oral history, film studies, and other disciplines which are increasingly using audiovisual media. The findings documented in the DH Benelux 2019 paper may serve as an inspiration for improving AV-media-based research tools. Concretely, it will also inform the further enhancement of the Resource Viewer of the CLARIAH Media Suite.

The conference presentation is available on SlideShare, and the paper abstract via the DH Benelux conference website.