Creating the Semantic Web for Visual Cultural Heritage Digital Humanities, Arkyves, and Iconclass

Organizer: Mara R. Wade, Germanic Languages & Literatures
Event Dates: April 8-9, 2016

Please join us for three events that feature Hans Brandhorst, editor of
Iconclass ( and founder of Arkyves
(, a reference database for the history of culture.
Arkyves is a collection of collections that indexes images and texts
through Iconclass, a multi-lingual classification system currently used
by the Albertina in Vienna, the Princeton Index of Christian Art, and
the Getty Research Institute, among others. Iconclass is designed for
describing cultural heritage visual resources including emblem books,
medieval manuscript illuminations, Erasmus’ adages, Victorian
illustrations, printers’ devices, and early modern typography, in
particular decorated and historiated initials, satirical journals from the
University of Milan, and the virtual print room (VKK) of the Herzog
Anton Ulrich Museum and the Herzog August Bibliothek, totaling
some 50,000 graphic prints. Arkyves collaborates with multiple
projects, e.g. the German Hygiene Museum, Dresden, for a project of
cataloging AIDS posters.

Schedule of Events:

• Public Workshop (Friday, 8 April 10:00-11:30; 314 Library)
Searching and Browsing with Arkyves
Hans Brandhorst will introduce searching and browsing with Arkyves in this workshop. The UIUC subscribes to Arkyves through the School of Fine and Applied Arts, and it is available to campus via the homepage of Ricker Art and Architecture Library. We wish to make this valuable resource more useful to the campus researchcommunity, particularly for projects addressing text/image cultures.

• Public Lecture (Friday, 8 April, 4-5 PM, 126 GSLIS, CIRSS Seminar)
Iconclass, Arkyves and the use of Iconography Vocabulary Standards to Enhance Access Hans Brandhorst will provide a brief introduction to (a Brill online resource) and Iconclass, a classification system designed for art and iconography. As a long-time partner in Emblematica Online (, Brandhorst will then lead a discussion of how vocabulary standards like Iconclass are applied to enhance discoverability of and access to cultural heritage visual information resources,including early modern emblem books.

• Public Workshop (Saturday, 9 April 1-5 PM, 314 Library)
Learning to Index with Iconclass
Hans Brandhorst will conduct a hands-on workshop for participants on how to do their own Iconclass indexing. This workshop will have two parts: introduction of Iconclass, followed by practical application. Participants will learn indexing based on a handful of emblems, the genre with which we are most familiar. Sponsors: These events have received generous financial support from the School for Literature, Culture, and Linguistics; Germanic Languages and Literatures; Krannert Art Museum; French and Italian; Comparative and World Literatures; English; Religious Studies; Spanish and Portuguese; Classics; and Medieval Studies. TheUniversity Library and GSLIS have kindly offered the space for these events.

About Hans Brandhorst: As an Art Historian (Leiden University, 1982), Hans Brandhorst works as an independent researcher in iconography. He also works part time for the institutional repository “RePub” at the Library of the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He has been the co-editor of Iconclass since 1990 and primary editor of Iconclass and since 2002.

Please email Mara R. Wade ( if you plan to attend either of the workshop events in 314 Library. There is no registration but seating for a Public Workshop is limited.

GIS Savvy Researcher Workshops

At the Scholarly Commons, we offer a variety of introductory workshops designed to enhance scholars’ and students’ research needs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Among these workshops is a series of GIS workshops that will be offered again this coming April with the aim to get researchers started working with GIS. Check them out below:

Geographic Information Systems 101: Understanding GIS:  No GIS experience is needed for this workshop that will guide researchers through the foundational concepts of GIS and geospatial technologies in research. Researchers will gain skills in:

  • Thinking spatially about research
  • Identify resources available across campus to aid in GIS research

GIS for Research I: Tools, Concepts, and Geodata Management: This hands-on workshop is designed to introduce researchers to working with GIS software and data management. This workshop is recommended after completing Geographic Information Systems 101: Understanding GIS or if you want a refresher for working with ArcGIS. Researchers will gain skills in:

  • Framing research problems to utilize GIS
  • Gain an understanding managing vector and raster GIS data, scale, and coordinates systems

Discovering GIS Data:  This workshop will cover where and how to find geographic data throughout the web. No experience is needed, but it will be helpful to know about GIS data models. Researchers will gain skills in:

  • Identifying common and authoritative portals for geodata, recognizing quality GIS data and different GIS data formats
  • Understanding the importance of geospatial metadata

GIS for Research II: Geoprocessing, Analysis, and Visualization: This hands-on will explore different geoprocessing and spatial analysis tools common to GIS. Designed as a follow-up to GIS for Research I, this workshop requires basic knowledge of using ArcGIS. Researchers will gain skills in:

  • Solving a real world research problem using real geospatial data
  • Create maps to visualize geospatial data

We are looking for suggestions for upcoming workshops feel free to tweet your suggestions to @ScholCommons and include #GISworkshops.


Natural Language Processing in the Digital Humanities

     Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an important method for digital humanists, enabling researchers to look for relationships and patterns between words in large bodies of text. The Scholarly Commons provides tools and resources for scholars who are using or learning NLP in their research, and we want to alert you to awesome-nlp, which is a compilation of NLP guidance available on the internet.

     This page on GitHub “awesome-nlp,” has links to resources, tools, and tutorials. Three resources that I found to be helpful on the page:

1. Video: Stanford’s Coursera Course on NLP basics
2. Article: Natural Language Processing: An Introduction
3. Paper: TwitIE: An Open-Source Information Extraction Pipeline for Microblog Text

     Awesome-nlp is available on GitHub at One thing that I really liked about this site was that it is inclusive to all users. It provides a range of resources suited toward the novice and the more advanced practitioner. I found this page to be especially beneficial for someone who does not have an in-depth background in natural processing languages. It offers a wide variety of introductory videos and papers on the topic.

Scholarly Commons Scanners Digitize a Variety of Materials

The Scholarly Commons has five different types of scanners to meet all your needs for digitizing bound volumes, pages, slides, and photographs.  Come to 306 Main Library to use them, ask questions about them in the comments below or send questions to are the details:

Spirit Book Scanner


All of our scanners allow you to scan pages directly out of books. The Spirit scanner takes scanning to the next level. Offering the user an easy and expert mode for scanning pages. In easy mode you simply point and shoot, all of your documents are saved in a PDF file on your thumb drive. Expert mode offers users more versatility allowing them to choose file types, scan multiple pages to a single file, adjust color, brightness, splitting and framing pages.

Nikon Super Cool Scan 5000


Our Nikon Super Cool Scan 5000 is perfect for digitizing 35 mm slides in less than 20 seconds. Other cool features the scanner offers patrons is a preview option to preview images, crop image, make color adjustments, and output size.

PluStek OpticBook A300


The PluStek OpticBook A300 is a great choice for scanning books and documents. It allows the users to choose between manual and automatic adjustments. Scans can be performed in in color, gray scale or as text using the buttons for each of these options. It also offers a rotation option that controls how each scan is added to the PDF. In addition to this it offers the user the ability to save in non-PDF formats, print the scan, or send via email.

Epson Express 10000 XL


The Epson Express 10000 XL is everything a photographer could ever want from a high-quality large volume scanner. This scanner offers ColorTure II for superior image processing. It has the ability to virtually scan anything you desire, including reflective media and transparent documents.

Epson GT-20000


The GT-20000 offer users the benefits and versatility to tackle anything form small to large documents. It even offers automatic document detection and enables users to scan multiple pages at once increasing their productivity.