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Humlab Talk: Dissemination and transformation

Time Thursday 20 April, 2023 at 15:00 - 17:00
Place Humlab / ZOOM


Dissemination and transformation: two perspectives on using metadata in history of knowledge

Matti La Mela, Uppsala University

Matti La Mela is an Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities at the Department of ALM. In this talk, he will discuss the use of metadata in history of knowledge through two digital humanities projects.


Dissemination and transformation of knowledge are central processes in the study of history of knowledge. This presentation argues that the digitization of historical sources, including the creation of metadata and markup, and the use of the digital datasets in historical research are making the processes of dissemination and transformation more visible and accessible for the historians. One reason for this is that spatial-temporal information is a common and well standardized type of metadata.

The presentation exemplifies dissemination and transformation by looking at two digital humanities projects: first, the Constellations of Correspondence (CoCo) project, where 19th century letter metadata was collected from national cultural heritage institutions into an aggregated linked open dataset. The letter metadata enables the study of circulation of knowledge, but also the investigation of the breadth of the correspondence in general. Second, the presentation looks at how dissemination and transformation is visible in historical public discussion data, namely in newspaper or parliamentary debate data. In a project on the history of allemansrätten (a Nordic public access right to nature), newspaper metadata and newspaper articles marked with geographical place names enabled to study how the understanding about non-timber resources transformed from local-scale resource into an international, exportable commodity.

The presentation concludes by pointing at areas where history of knowledge can contribute to digital historical research. These are the emphasis on the complexity of the circulations and the material conditions behind them.

Participation & registration

This is a hybrid event with the possibility to particpate on-site or online.

If you want to participate through ZOOM, you will need to register. Sign up using the link below and you will receive a link to the online meeting. 

The "Digital History of knowledge" theme

This talk is part of our Digital History of knowledge theme.  

What impact do digital methods have on our understanding of knowledge flows? Computational research and presentation methods have shaped the history of knowledge since its inception, but today the fields are converging. This calls for reflection on how quantitative methods and advanced visualizations affect how we research and think about knowledge.




Organizer: Humlab
Event type: Lecture
Johan Malmstedt
Read about Johan Malmstedt
Zakayo Kjellström
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