Enrich your collection by adding terms: Reconciliation Guide OpenRefine and the Term Network

Want to quickly provide heritage data with the right terms (with a unique identifier)? It’s now possible! Shannon van Muijden, data manager at the Zuiderzee Museum, wrote a manual for the open source program OpenRefine. This manual explains step-by-step what you can do as a collection manager to enrich your information in bulk with terms through the Terminology Network. The Terminology Network provides this reconciliation service for, for example, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, Archaeological Base Register, Cultural History Thesaurus, GeoNames, RKDartists, WW2 Thesaurus. A complete overview can be found at the Term Network faqs.


Manual OpenRefine



Getting started yourself: interview with volunteers The Voice of Leiden

In the oral history field, there are an awful lot of committed volunteers: from interviewers to transcribers, people who help with communication or with ICT. There are many enthusiasts who ensure that an oral history project can grow. This month, we speak to two volunteers about the project The Voice of Leiden. Read below the story of chairman Maaike van Soest and interviewer Joke Vos.
Who are you in everyday life?

Maaike: I am Maaike van Soest, 56, a historian by birth. I work as a copywriter and editor. I also have a vegetable garden and lead an NT2 Reading Circle for refugees, migrants and expats every fortnight as a volunteer.







Joke: My name is Joke Vos, 71 years old. After working in care for 40 years, I started volunteering from the age of 60. For De Stem van Leiden, among others. I also do fun things together with my husband, my children and my grandchildren. I love cycling and walking, and in the boating season we go out on the boat a lot. In short: I like to enjoy. 




In short: what is The Voice of Leiden?


Joke: Life stories of Leiden people over 75 years old are many, but so far hardly preserved. With our project, we focus on daily life in the past and what it was like. We work in pairs: first we have an introductory interview with the respondent. If that goes well, we come back for an interview with a voice recorder. Then we transcribe the interview at home. A historical editor checks the transcription and another volunteer makes a summary. The transcribed interviews are then stored at ‘Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken’. Anyone can read and listen to the story via the website


Maaike: Leiden has changed enormously compared to the last century. Not so long ago, it was an impoverished industrial city, to put it succinctly. The Voice of Leiden was founded almost 9 years ago. We are a group of 30 volunteers and interview older Leiden residents about the Leiden of the past and about their life history. We do not have a specific research assignment, but we want to save the stories older Leiden people still carry with them before it is too late. Most volunteers interview, but there are also people involved in writing summaries, routing from interview to publication, or ict. As a committee, the Voice of Leiden is part of The Historical Society of Old Leiden. The previous chairman of our group set up a nice organisation. By now, almost 140 interviews can be consulted via the archive ‘Erfgoed Leiden en omgeving’. At the moment, we mainly try to ask older Leiden residents with a migration background if they would like to tell their story.


In corona times, there were fewer interviews. We did publish a book of 24 life stories then, with the help of funds. They are a kind of cross-section of the interviews so far. The book found eager demand locally. The mayor of Leiden gives it as a gift at residents’ anniversaries. 


How did you get involved in the project?


Joke: In 2014, the membership magazine of the Historical Society of Old Leiden asked for volunteers for this project. I had just stopped working and this really seemed like something for me. In my work in home care, I visited many people. The stories I heard there fascinated me. Even though I wasn’t born in Leiden, I love hearing more about Leiden’s history. 


Maaike: Like Joke via the magazine of the Historical Society of Old Leiden. Someone tipped me off. For the past two and a half years, I have enjoyed being chairman of the group. I also still enjoy interviewing. 


Have you been involved in an oral history project or interviewed before?


Maaike: As a copywriter, I have now interviewed many people, from ex-junkies to patients, administrators and officials. Those interviews are usually quite short and to-the-point. Writing a piece is quick, I may paraphrase and always have to take into account the reading audience. Interviewing for The Voice is pleasantly different. We try to get the interviewee in the talking chair, take our time and then literally elaborate on the conversation. I have also been familiar with the term oral history for some time: during my studies in the 1980s, I took a few oral history classes.


Joke: In my work in Home Care, you constantly ‘interview’ to properly assess certain situations and act accordingly. I was also a discussion leader for Alzheimer’s Netherlands for ten years. There, I held interviews with guest speakers every month and led information evenings.



Tips for getting started with oral history yourself?


Maaike: Research whether oral history projects already exist in the neighbourhood and area. Arrange in advance how and where you want to store your interview. Liaising with local archives and/or a historical society is, of course, obvious. And: make sure volunteers have practised the free-attitude interview so that they enter an interview as neutral and value-free as possible. 


In addition, you can get inspiration from our book ‘De Stem van Leiden. Vierentwintig Levensverhalen’. It is still on sale in bookshops in Leiden e.o. and through the Historical Society of Old Leiden. See the interviews here or contact us at 


‘Silences and oral history: the academic perspective’ theme page now online

What do silences mean during oral history interviews? What does oral history do for people who remained silent for years? Do you silence your own voice by staying silent?


Read more about silences, silence and oral history on the new theme page. The page is divided into three sub-themes:

1. Silences during interviews
2. Silence or silencing
3. Historical silences

Linked Data: background, opportunities, challenges and action!

‘Linked Data sounds like something magical, but what does it mean in concrete terms?’: said a visitor to a presentation on Linked Data in spring 2022 at the Stadsarchief Amsterdam. Linked Data seems to be something of a magic word in heritage land: the idea that data can be linked together across institutional boundaries captures the imagination enormously. But Linked Data is also sometimes surrounded by mystery. For what exactly does Linked Data mean, how does one create it, what advantages does it offer the user compared to the current situation, and what issues are still there to get started with it? 

These are the questions that the report Linked Data – Perspectieven op beschrijving en gebruik of the Stadsarchief Amsterdam aims to answer. PDF rapport


From: Stadsarchief Amsterdam 13 december 2022

One year of ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’, key highlights and look ahead to 2023!

‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ is now one year underway. December is a good time to reflect on this. In conversation with initiator Saskia Moerbeek, we share the main highlights and look ahead to 2023.


Kick – off at Sound and Vision in Hilversum

On 28 January 2022, the Kick-off meeting of the Oral History Hub ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ took place at Sound and Vision in Hilversum. The aim was to mark the launch of the Junction and announce the programme. “We interacted with the oral history community to hear what kind of expectations they have from the Hub.  What stood out was the enthusiasm of the Round Table participants to make oral history more accessible, but also the effort needed to get the content and technical sides of oral history right”.


Kick-off meeting of the Hub at Sound and Vision Hilversum


We notice that our brokerage role is appreciated



What are the highlights of the past year?

“Surely the highlight was the symposium on 28 October. A sold-out symposium was confirmation for us that there is a lot of enthusiasm and interest in oral history and the topics on the programme. We were told by many visitors that they were really inspired by the stories of Annegriet Wietsma and Halima Özen El Hajoui and the exchange in the workshops. The responses show that interest in oral history is really growing. We also notice that our brokerage role is appreciated. Various organisations and initiatives increasingly know how to find us”. 


Foto's door Kim Verkade

Symposium ‘Oral History voor iedereen’ at Sound and Vision The Hague. Watch the aftermovie here.  

“On 28 October, the mini exhibition on freedom was also opened at Sound and Vision in The Hague, which young people aged between 17 and 24 worked on together with refugees. A great example of using oral history and source material to shine new light on a theme or to use as a trigger for a topical issue”.



Oral history not only gives meaning to heritage, it is, if performed methodically well, in itself also heritage



Expo on freedom by young people and refugees from The Hague 

“We also welcome the relentless effort of all kinds of people to contribute existing interview collections and ongoing projects for the ‘Speaking History’ website. We work hard on this every day and the collection overview continues to grow. And finally, I would like to mention the inclusion of oral history in the implementation agenda of the Faro Convention. This is important because oral history not only gives meaning to heritage. It is, if done methodically well, in itself also heritage”. 



In 2023, we will organise a series of expert meetings with and for archives, museums and heritage organisations.



What does 2023 look like for the Hub?

“In 2023, we are going to organise a series of expert meetings from the Hub with archives, museums and heritage organisations that work a lot with volunteers. These will include the development of standards for preserving, accessing and presenting oral history material and on how to involve volunteers and best appreciate their efforts. We will also work on further increasing the visibility and reach of the ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ website”.


Photos by Kim Verkade

Project: ‘Embracing diversity’

Project: ‘Embracing diversity’: Experiences of first-generation Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Turkish students at the VU


VU University Amsterdam is known as a diverse university, and many students have a ‘non-western’ background. But the backgrounds of this diversity and the experiences of those involved have hardly been researched from a historical perspective. This oral history project focuses on experiences of Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Turkish first-generation students at the VU from the 1980s onwards.


The project will start in September 2022. First-generation students will be interviewed about the reasons why they started studying at the VU, their experiences with fellow students, staff, the diversity policy at the VU, and changing attitudes towards Islam at the university and in the Netherlands. The interviews will take place in January 2023 as part of the ‘Oral History and Biography’ course for history students. Students will conduct the interviews here under supervision. Moreover, the interviews will be permanently stored for reuse in cooperation with DANS and the University Archive/Stadsarchief Amsterdam.


The project will be led by Norah Karrouche, associate professor at the VU University of Amsterdam and specialised, among other things, in the (memory) culture of North African communities in Europe; and Ab Flipse, university historian at the VU University of Amsterdam. It is supported by third-year history student and student assistant Oumayma Akachaou Achaffay.


The project is made possible by Clue+: Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage and takes place in collaboration with several other VU centres, such as the Decolonisation LAB, the HDC Centre for Religious History, and the Stevin Centre for History of Science and Humanities.


More information about this project? Interested in participating in the project? Contact student assistant Oumayma.

Oral history keeps Cold War stories and heritage alive

A nice project by the Cultural Heritage Agency on using oral history in Cold War heritage.


The National Cultural Heritage Agency wants to increase knowledge about this period in order to preserve this fragile heritage for the next generation. To this end, the RCE partnered with the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam, among others. Students did their graduation research on the Cold War and received help from experts. Britt van der Kolk and Bloeme van Bennekom were two of those students. Britt: “We were both studying Cultural Heritage and saw a call from the RCE whether we wanted to write a thesis on the Cold War. We were keen to participate in that.


Oral sources as substantiation & inspiration

“You’re reminiscing with someone and you don’t just go down a questionnaire. You mainly let them speak for themselves. As a result, it felt more like a conversation than a huge interview,” Bloeme says. It also gave both of them new insights, Britt says: “Books mainly say that the Cold War was a period of fear. In my interviews, on the contrary, a sober picture emerged. The people I spoke to were not afraid at all. That gave me a completely different perspective.” Oral history also changed Bloeme’s image: “Because communism was all about equality and equal rights, I had the idea that women were much more in charge. But most women I talked to told me that this was not the case at all and there was very little talk of feminism. In the 1980s, this did start to change.”


You can read more information and why this programme fits well with the Faro Treaty here.


The people behind the Namenmonument | The latest book by Selma Leydesdorff



De mensen achter het Namenmonument | Het joodse proletariaat van Amsterdam | 1900-1940 en de werken van G.J. Staller


In 1987, We lived as human beings: The Jewish proletariat of Amsterdam 1900-1940. In it, professor Selma Leydesdorff uses interviews to paint a picture of pre-war Jewish life in Amsterdam. We lived as human beings also appeared in English and German and received a lot of international attention. The People Behind the Names Monument is the revised edition
of this work. It is graced with paintings by G.J. Staller (collected and selected by Harry Mock} showing Jewish street life between 1900 and 1930 and giving a face to the people – beggars, market vendors and peddlers.


The stuffiness of the Jodenhoek with its dark streets is palpable; you can almost hear the raucous cries of the hawkers with their wares, all-important is the smell of poverty. In The People Behind the Names Monument, the names on the recently opened war memorial on Amsterdam’s Wibautstraat now also get a face.


About the author:
Selma Leydesdorff is a historian and professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam. She is internationally known as a prominent researcher and theorist in the field of oral history. Her work Oral history: The people and their stories {2021) has been nominated for the Prize for the Most Important Book of the Year. Harry Mock chairs the Jewish Virtual Museum: an art collection relating to Jewish life in Amsterdam between 1900 and 1940.


Selma Leydesdorff’s latest book will be published on 30-11-2022, and can be reserved in advance via


Interviewers wanted for residents of Benedenstad

For a history project after the summer, the Oral History Working Group of Numaga and the Regional Archives Nijmegen are looking for people with a heart for the history of Nijmegen. People who would like to know more about the history of the lower town and about the history of the people who live there. 


Oral History

For the project, we want to interview residents of the lower town. People who have lived there all their lives. We want to know how they have experienced the changes that have taken place since the Second World War. By interviewing residents, we also add their stories to the history, which until now has mainly been coloured by the perspective of the municipality and its officials. The interviews will be recorded in de Verhalenbank van het Regionaal Archief Nijmegen.


We offer an introductory evening interview/oral history in cooperation with Erfgoed Gelderland on 14 September at 19:30 in the Regionaal Archief Nijmegen (Mariënburg 27). The final interviews will take place in early October. Exact date to be determined in consultation with interviewer and interviewee.



Do you like this idea? Or do you have any questions? Please contact the chairman of Numaga’s Oral History Working Group, Paul van der Flier at or 06-27581492. Also if you would like to be interviewed: please contact us!


Photo credit: three residents of the Ottengas in front of the door (1930-1935), photo collection Regionaal Archief Nijmegen, Public Domain. Background: a cut-out of the ”S.O.S. plan”.

Open Hour SSH: live Q&A every Monday

Get answers to all your questions at the Open Hour for the SGW community. A live Q&A every Monday.


Join us for the weekly Open Hour from 10:00 to 11:00 (CEST) for the Social Sciences and Humanities community. The Open Hour is a live Q&A about Open Science, data storage and Research Data Management, among other things.


Which data can I deposit with DANS?
How do I make my data FAIR?
Can I share data that contains personal data?
Which metadata standards should I use?
How do I store video data in a sustainable way?
All these questions and more can be asked live during the Open Hour. Our Data Station Managers are ready for you.


Register for the Open Hour here and submit your question(s).