Blog post written by Isabel Martínez-Sempere, edited by Darja Fišer and Jakob Lenardič
The IMPACT Centre of Competence in digitisation, founded in 2012, is a non-profit organisation that aims at making digitisation of historical texts better, faster and cheaper. Depending on the language, the period covered by historical texts is different as language change is not homogeneous. With regard to languages, IMPACT is mainly focused on European languages, but always open to widen the scope worldwide as our members’ expertise comprises non-western languages as well.
IMPACT is based in Spain and hosted by Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. From an organisational point of view, IMPACT is governed by an Executive Board composed by representatives of its premium member institutions. On a daily basis, IMPACT is managed by a General Director, Francis Ballesteros (Spain), a Scientific and Technological Director, Tomasz Parkola (Poland), the Executive Board Chair, Frieda Steurs (the Netherlands), and a Manager, Isabel Martínez (Spain). A description on the people behind IMPACT is available at here.
In 2018, IMPACT was recognised as a CLARIN Knowledge Centre with the name IMPACT CLARIN K-Centre in Digitisation (IMPACT-CKC). This recognition is aligned with the Centre’s objectives, i.e. supporting humanities researchers, cultural heritage professionals and computer scientists in their daily activities. In this context IMPACT offers the following:
Through this helpdesk, IMPACT provides first-line assistance to researchers on digitisation techniques, tools, materials, etc. Researchers are welcome to seek advice on digitisation and related fields.
DATeCH International Conference
DATeCH is a unique biennial conference at the intersection between digital humanities, cultural heritage and computer science. The first edition of DATeCH was organised in 2014 in Madrid, Spain; the second edition in 2017 in Göttingen, Germany; and the third one in 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. During the 3 editions, DATeCH has received over 140 worldwide submissions, published 72 papers in ACM International Conference Proceedings Series and was attended by over 400 people. Through the organisation of the DATeCH International Conference, IMPACT provides researchers with a meeting forum to showcase and discuss their latest research.
IMPACT offers periodic webinars on digitisation-related topics of interest for researchers and practitioners such as IIIF, quality control in mass digitisation, business models, etc. Webinars are open to IMPACT members and remaining places are offered to the general audience. Similarly, webinar recordings are available to members.
Project proposals corner
The project proposals corner is a space where we publish funding opportunities related with digitisation. There is also information on other ways of funding such as the public-private partnerships. The corner also provides links to EU relevant portals such as CORDIS, Ideal-ist, the international ICT National Contact Point network, and the EC Partner Search service.
Through the events section, we provide a calendar of events relevant to digitisation and related fields.
IMPACT Language resources
The IMPACT Language resources comprises downloadable historical lexica, corpora and search services for 10 European languages including: Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Polish, Slovene, Spanish and Latin.
The IMPACT Dataset is a unique collection of about 500,000 high resolution images, 50,000 of which are accompanied with corresponding ground truth information provided by direct observation in PAGE xml format, which includes information on layout. This collection is available under different licences, and most resources are free for research purposes. Currently, a new version of the dataset browser is being implemented in order to improve its usability and accessibility.
IMPACT provides training materials for specific digitisation tools, covering the whole digitisation workflow; digitisation techniques with best practices and briefing papers; and recommendations for digitisation projects on licensing and formats and standards. Many researchers produce their own digital materials; consequently, these resources provide a good base to researchers and practitioners interested in heading a digitisation project. The tools’ training materials are also included in a wiki, DigitWiki in order for the community to update the content.
A map of the digitisation landscape
The map of the digitisation landscape provides an overview of initiatives and projects in digitisation and related fields. The content can be filtered according to the type of initiative, the scope of its activities, and the country. The map contains over 350 initiatives and users can easily add new initiatives by registering on the website.
A tool browser
Similarly to the map of the digitisation landscape, the IMPACT digitisation tools browser provides information on over 250 tools for digitisation and related techniques. These tools can be filtered by group and type. Users can also add new tools once logged in by clicking on “add tool” and filling in a simple form:
IMPACT Demonstrator platform
The IMPACT Demonstrator platform provides researchers the opportunity to test about 40 digitisation related tools in an online environment without the need of installing any software.
Apart from the activities and resources aforementioned, the strength of IMPACT-CKC lies in our wide network of experts covering different scientific fields such as digital humanities (Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal, Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities, Georg August Universität, KU Leuven), computer science (Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre, Universidad de Alicante) and cultural heritage (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, British Library, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Biblioteca virtual Miguel de Cervantes, Berlin State Library). A full list of members can be found here.
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