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Course – Databases for young historians

Date: January 25th, 26th, 27th and February 19th, 2016
Time: 10am-5pm
Venue: Huygens ING, The Hague
Open to: RMa Students, PhD candidates (limited to 15 participants)
Fee: free
Organizers: Leonor Álvarez Francés MA (UL), Thomas Delpeut MA (UvA), Fieke Smitskamp MA (VU)

Course description: 

The goal of this course is to provide participants with elementary skills and knowledge to start working on their own database during the meetings and continue doing so independently afterwards. The course will be mostly practical, with candidates working with laptops on different organized tasks and homework assignments. Creating an efficient, well-defined set of data is the first step toward any significant computational exploration; whether the researcher is interested in an interactive map, a network visualization, or statistical analysis. Being able to present and share the database and/or the resulting visualizations online allows young historians to support their research conclusions with the data they are based on and serves as proof of their computational skills for future applications.

The course is organized for a group of 15 young historians ideally in their PhD or final phase of their Research Master. No previous knowledge on databases or programming is required. In advance of the course, applicants will be asked to write preliminary ideas for a database and to prepare a (small) set of data.


Meetings 1 & 2 (January 25th and 26th):
Theory and practice – data structures and design of own dataset
Teaching: Pim van Bree & Geert Kessels (Lab1100)

Meeting 3 (January 27th):
– Morning: Guest speakers: Susanna de Beer: e-Rome project; Sebastiaan Derks: Huygens ING´s projects; Jaco Zuijderduijn: Edam project; speaker t.b.a.: SPIN; Kathleen Lotze: Cinema projects

– Afternoon: Visualization and interpretation: possibilities and limitations
Teaching: prof. Charles van den Heuvel

Meeting 4 (February 19th):
Presentations own projects
Feedback from Pim van Bree, Geert Kessels and prof. Charles van den Heuvel

Application: due to the limited places available, applicants are asked to submit a motivation letter (250-300 words) explaining why they wish to take part in the course. To apply, send your motivation, name, affiliation (educational programme and institution) to: (Leonor Álvarez Francés).

Deadline: December 15th 2015

Evaluation: the participants will build up an individual database with their historical data, write a short paper on the process, and present it during the last meeting on February 19th.

This course has been made possible by: Posthumus Institute; Huizinga Institute; Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity (ACHI, UvA); Huygens ING.