Thomas Smits is completing a PhD on the transnational trade in illustrations of the news and the production of identity by mid-nineteenth century European illustrated newspapers at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He is an editor of the Journal for European Periodicals Research (JEPS) and a PhD-board member of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society.
His project at the KB applies two computer vision techniques to sort the images of digitized Dutch newspapers according to the way in which they were reproduced (engraving/half-tone). By doing so, it hopes to shed a new light on an important transitional phase in the history of the visual culture of the news. Around 1900 both illustrations and photographs were considered to be objective visual representations of the news. Relying on case studies, previous research has been unable to pinpoint this period. By introducing a digital humanities approach to this question, the project will describe and analyse this period.