Art DATIS (Digital Art Technical sources for the Netherlands: Integration and improvement of sources on glass for a Sustainable future) is a four-year research project (2018-2022) within the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research’s (NWO) Big Data / Digital Humanities program. The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam, RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History, the Free Glass Foundation, and Picturae.

The production of free glass saw significant technological innovations in the twentieth century. Dutch glass artist Sybren Valkema’s (1916-1996) study of historical sources and his practical work contributed crucially to these innovations. What role did historical sources on the changing production of glass in Europe between 1500 and 1996 play in his work? How did he use these sources to innovate technology and education? His digitized archives provide a unique, indispensable resource in answering these questions, but for optimal analysis they need to be extended, enriched and linked to open data. Sources containing historical recipes and techniques for glass production, as well as images and object documentation, are currently digitized by museums and research institutions around the world.

Two Dutch key players in these digitization processes, the creators of RKD Explore and the ARTECHNE database, propose to link important historical sources and the Valkema archives to existing big data in the field of (technical) art history, thus enriching and contributing to big data and smart culture. How can we efficiently link the enormous amount of newly digitized art technical sources on glass production, such as object documentation, technical texts, images, and research data? How can we integrate and enrich existing databases containing different kinds of data on the history of artistic glass production? To answer these questions, we will first develop existing thesauri in the field further. Subsequently tools for automated annotation and a portal to access these enriched, linked, open, multimedial (textual, visual, and geographical) data will be developed.