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. Our Institute is a partner in the Scientific Research Community (WOG) Digital Humanities Flanders (DHu.f), funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) and we are part of the board of the international online network Digital Medievalist.

DHuF_logo                      DMlogo

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 free online databases:


Narrative Sources. The Narrative Sources from the Medieval Low Countries (dir.: Jeroen Deploige)


Diplomata_Belgica_logo Diplomata Belgica. The Diplomatic Sources of the Medieval Southern Low Countries (dir.: Jeroen Deploige)


DBBE_logo Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams (dir.: Kristoffel Demoen)

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 and reference:

Corpus of Historical Low German (dir.: Anne Breitbarth)

Dictionary of the Southern Dutch Dialects (dir.: Jacques Van Keymeulen)

Late Antique Historiography (dir.: Peter Van Nuffelen)

Mamluk Political Prosopography Project (dir.: Jo Van Steenbergen)

Non-canonical CASE marking (under construction, dir.: Jóhanna Barðdal)

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:

Magis Brugge (dir. J. Dumolyn)

Collaborative Authorship in 12th-Century Latin Literature (dir. Jeroen Deploige & Wim Verbaal)

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, large collections from museums and other cultural heritage into a 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. Currently funded for 1 million EUR as a H2020 CSA project for a full LSRI bid and roadmap, the Time Machine is the most ambitious project ever on European cultural heritage.