Projects & Infrastructures

The following overview provides a selection of projects and infrastructures on the crossroads between heritage and ICT that are either finished or being developed with the collaboration of Ghent University core team members and/or partners from Ghent University. The listed projects and infrastructures are self-contained and independent but they demonstrate the expertise at Ghent University that Time Machine wishes to showcase and build upon. The focus lies on projects that are relevant to the aims of the Time Machine project.

Data, Collaborative Databases & Tools

The Ghent University core team and partners combine cutting-edge research on data (acquisition, wrangling, quality handling, analysis and visualisation) with actual experience in building and running relational and flexible cultural heritage databases and tools. Most digital products have been explicitly developed and designed for a wide range of end-users, from researchers to the general public.


  • Diplomata Belgica: all diplomatic sources from the medieval Southern Low Countries up to 1250. Over 35.000 charters, including metadata, full text, geo-referencing and images. Freely available in English and French. Developed with the Royal Historical Commission of Belgium.
  • Narrative Sources: repertory of the narrative sources from the medieval Low Countries, including metadata. Currently 2327 texts. Freely available in Dutch and English.
  • Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams: all extant book epigrams from medieval Greek manuscripts (seventh to fifteenth century), with textual and contextual data.
  • Clavis Historicorum Antiquitatis Posterioris: historiographical texts of Late Antiquity from 300 until 800 AD.
  • Mamluk Prosopography Project (with the University of Antwerp): sources from the Mamluk Sultanate (13th -15th centuries).


  • Database of Southern Dutch Dialects: aggregated dataset from three dialect dictionaries (Flanders, Brabant and Limburg), integrated in
  • Corpus of Historical Low German (c. 1300-1600) (with the University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge): a digital corpus of the Middle Low German and Old Low German languages, including digitisation of texts, part of speech-tagging and parsed syntax.
  • A Parsed Corpus of Southern Dutch Dialects: fully transcribed and linguistically annotated corpus of about 700 hours of recordings (from the 1960’s and 1970’s) of spoken Southern Dutch Dialects. Currently under construction.


  • Flandrica: Ghent University Library is a partner in the Flandrica project coordinated by the Flemish Heritage Library. Flandrica is an open access portal to high quality digitisations and metadata of manuscripts and printed heritage material from or about Flanders, or kept in Flemish collections.
  • MMMonk: Medieval Monastic Manuscripts – Open – Network – Knowledge aims at providing IIIF-compliant digitisations of the remaining medieval manuscripts (7th – 16th century, 734 in total) of four major Flemish abbeys (Ten Duinen in Koksijde, Ter Doest near Bruges, Saint Bavo and Saint Peter, both in Ghent). MMMonk will offer a virtual reconstruction of the now-scattered medieval libraries of these institutions, with contextual metadata.


  • SeArch: database for all archaeological heritage in the North Sea, including geoviewer visualisation and an interactive database with over 250 wrecks in Belgian territorial waters (with metadata and images). Developed with the Flanders Marine Institute.
  • FLEPOSTORE: online reference collection for Flemish pottery (ceramics) and stone. FLEPOSTORE covers all locally produced as well as imported pottery and ceramic building material from archaeological contexts and local and imported worked stone from prehistoric till pre-industrial times (ca. 5000BC-1700AD). It focuses on Flanders and surrounding areas. FLEPOSTORE is the result of a collaboration between Departments of Archaeology and Geology at Ghent University.



  • MaGIS Bruges: digitisation of the Marcus Gerards map of Bruges (1562 A.D., 1.7 X 1 m.). Ultra HD scan & Digital Thematic Deconstruction with QuantumGIS (fully searchable). . Including touristic route ‘Bruges 1562’ for the Xplore Bruges app.
  • POPPKAD: digitisation of cadastral maps and development of a real estate database of Belgium in the mid-19th century. Including the data-enriched cadastral GIS of Bruges (1862), Ghent (1850) and other Belgian municipalities. POPPKAD is a project of the Quetelet Center.
  • Ferraris: HD digitisation with online viewer of the map of the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège made by Jacques de Ferraris between 1770 and 1778 (275 map sheets, 0,90 × 1,40 m). It is the first detailed, systematic and large-scale map in Western Europe. Developed with the National Geographical Institute and the Royal Library of Belgium.
  • Gent Gemapt: a pilot project at the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities for building a participative “Deep Map” or geotemporal platform for sharing, presenting and using digital heritage collections from the city of Ghent. Gent Gemapt is being developed together with Ghent Universty Library, AMSAB-ISG, Liberas, STAM Gent, Archief Gent, Huis van Alijn en Industriemuseum.


  • CINECOS – Cinema Ecosystem: interuniversity infrastructure project, which will develop an open access platform for sharing, enriching, analysing and sustaining data on cinema history in Flanders and Belgium from 1896 onwards. CINECOS aims at (a) integrating 12 existing datasets, (b) expanding the digitised cinema heritage collections and (c) making them available as open access, (d) hence facilitating (inter)national data exchange and comparative research.


  • UGESCO project (with CegeSoma – Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society, Free University Brussels, and Catholic University Leuven). UGESCO stands for ‘Upscaling the Geo-temporal Enrichment, exploration and exploitation of Scientific Collections’ of Belgian FSI’s (and particularly CegeSoma). Including methodologies for computational and crowdsourced metadata generation. UGESCO will focus mainly on photographic material.
  • INSIGHT project (led by the University of Antwerp, with the Brussels-based Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and Royal Museums of Art and History). INSIGHT aims to deploy the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (language technology and computer vision in particular) to support the enrichment of these collections with descriptive metadata. The end goal of this project is to develop and release a series of practical Machine Learning tools for managing digital collections. The linked open data set is to be integrated in Europeana.


  • STREAM: Spatiotemporal research infrastructure for Early Modern Flanders and Brabant (statistical data with geo-referencing and semantic annotation). STREAM is designed to protect and facilitate access to a multitude of (socio-economic) historical data and large-scale maps for scientific research. Developed in collaboration with the Free University Brussels.
  • Appraising Risk, Past and Present: Interrogating Historical Data to Enhance Understanding of Environmental Crises in the Indian Ocean World. Project led by the Indian Ocean World Centre at McGill University (Canada), with collaboration of Ghent University’s CartoGIS team, esp. for database and cartoweb application.
  • LOKSTAT: database and GIS including the results of the censuses of population, agriculture, trade and industry that took place in Belgium in the period 1800-2000, together with various other statistical sources at the level of the municipalities. LOKSTAT is a project of the Quetelet Center


  • Flore de Gand project: digitisation (for Ghent University’s archive and heritage portal) of the tangible and intangible heritage of the botanical garden in Ghent and the city’s broader horticultural scene of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.


  • TIC-Collaborative: a collaborative digital humanities project, focusing on transnational intellectual cooperation (TIC) in the long nineteenth century, in particular on transnational connections in the field of social reform. The project includes a Virtual Reconstruction Environment with (1) a digitised and searchable corpus of primary sources; (2) a collaborative relational database; and (3) a shared bibliography.
  • WeChangEd database: database of the ERC-funded project ‘Agents of Change: Women Editors and Socio-Cultural Transformation in Europe, 1710-1920’ (PI: Marianne Van Remoortel). The database will take stock of women editors and their periodicals. It will provide access to the source material as well as a data source for social and textual network analysis.


  • Google Library: through Europeana, Ghent University Library is a partner in the library component of Google Books, with over 136.000 books from the collection already online (for a planned total of ca. 300.000).
  • OpenAIRE: Ghent University Library is a partner and steering committee member of the OpenAIRE project cluster for Open Access Research Infrastructure (open research publications and datasets, and linked repositories). It is the national contact for open access in Belgium.

Heritage Valorisation

  • EURECA project: European Region Enrichment in City Archives and collections. EURECA Investigates the uses of Location Based Services and personalized/contextualized content applications for unlocking and valorising historical heritage collections in cities, e.g. through tourist routing. Includes two test cases, Ghent and Vienna.

Large-Scale Infrastructure Support

  • CLARIAH Flanders Open Humanities Research Infrastructure: as of 2019 the joint Flemish nodes, directed by the GhentCDH, of the European infrastructures Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) and European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology (CLARIN).


  • CHANGE network: Cultural Heritage Automatic Analysis Network Europe. CHANGE is a network funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) for international networking with a Federal Belgian Scientific Institution (FWI). Within CHANGE there are collaborations with Cinematek (Royal Belgian Movie Archive) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (Germany).
  • Digital Humanities Flanders: Scientific Research Community (WOG) funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (discontinued as of 2019)
  • Digital Medievalist: international web-based community for medievalists working with digital media.
  • READ – Transkribus: international e-Infrastructure project and network under H2020 for advancing access to historical, handwritten documents, including digitization and the development of Handwritten Text Recognition technology. Ghent University is the only Belgian network member with a Memorandum of Understanding.