Xpertmeeting AI and Heritage

Allard Pierson, 26 June 2023

Text by Driek Heesakkers and Marjolein Beumer (Digital Projects and Innovations at the University Library UvA/HvA), July 2023.

The Allard Pierson invited a group of experts in the field of AI and heritage for two meetings on 26 June 2023. These meetings took place at the Allard Pierson (morning session 9:30-12:30) and the Amsterdam Science Park – Startup Village (afternoon session 14:00-18:00). One of the incentives for those meetings was the AI project Creative User Empowerment that is executed by the Allard Pierson and the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe.

The Allard Pierson and the University Library UvA/HvA work together with various research groups within the University of Amsterdam (and beyond) to come up with solutions to everyday challenges faced by heritage institutions. AI is one of the techniques currently being experimented with. The University of Amsterdam is an international leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

During the morning session, a group of 25 AI experts from the Allard Pierson, the University Library UvA/HvA, the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, innovative companies such as TomTom and Q42, and from the heritage field met to exchange views on a strategic level on how AI research and heritage can reinforce each other. The questions central to the open discussion were:  

  • what can AI contribute to research on solutions for (everyday) challenges of heritage institutions? 
  • how can researchers be involved in the development of digital applications for heritage?  
  • can new concrete partnerships be defined? 

Two topics were discussed as examples: the xCurator, an Open Source tool developed by the Allard Pierson in cooperation with the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe, and the application of AI to the Allard Pierson’s cartography collection. After the morning programme, participants could join a guided tour of the Maps Unfolded exhibition by curator Reinder Storm. 

The meeting was livestreamed, and the videos are available through this link.

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