Digital Humanities@Pirenne

The Henri Pirenne Institute has been a frontrunner in Digital Humanities for over two decades.

We have in-house specialists in database design, data management and data mining from the Faculty of Engineering at Ghent University. Several scholars are currently working with advanced, qualitative and quantitative methods for computational analysis.

Our Institute was a partner in the Scientific Research Community (WOG) Digital Humanities Flanders (DHu.f) that was funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), 2015-2020.

We are part of the board of the international online network Digital Medievalist.

Source databases

These long term collaborations have resulted in some of the most comprehensive, publicly available online databases of medieval sources.

While these are partially based on user input, at the same time they are maintained and updated by HPIMS research teams, the research coordinator and external partner- or host institutions.

Consult some of our open access online databases

Managing data, unlocking knowledge

Today, a growing number of large research projects within the Henri Pirenne Institute is committed to publicly sharing research results and/or unlocking extensive collections of largely unexplored source materials.

Research results and sources are presented in freely accessible, easy-to-use online databases that allow anyone, from fellow researchers to the general public, to benefit firsthand from project deliverables.

The latest knowledge, ancient sources and huge collections of data are all opened up at the click of a button, making them easily and widely available for consultation, research and reference:

Digital methods

Through its members and projects, the Institute also has built up considerable expertise in methods for digital analysis of historical texts and languages, such as stylometry and authorship recognition, topic modelling, and computational linguistics, in digital editing and in digital mapping (GiS) and data-visualisation.

For the latter, we work together with experts of the Department of Geography.

See some on-going as well as finalised research projects with digital methods:

Time Machine

We are a founding partner in the European Time Machine LSRI (Large-Scale Research Initiative) consortium that aims to build a large-scale simulator mapping 2000 years of European history.

Time Machine is about transforming kilometres of archives and the massive collections in museums, libraries and other cultural heritage institutions into a single digital information system, using the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies. These Big Data of the Past are regarded as common resources for the future of Europe.

Time Machine Europe received 1 million EUR as a H2020 CSA project (2019) at which point a full LSRI bid and roadmap were developed. Time Machine Europe is currently an aggregate of the DH projects of its more than 300 participating institutions, called Local Time Machines. At Ghent University we focus on the heritage of the cities of Ghent and Bruges.