Searching for images
The Dutch digital newspaper archive Delpher contains millions of digitised Dutch newspaper pages. While keyword-searches can be used to find relevant articles, it can be quite hard to find relevant images. Delpher offers users the opportunity to search for ‘images with captions,’ which means that the text underneath a seperate image is used to find relevant material. However, captions not always correctly or sufficiently describe the subject of an image. For example, they only represent a specific part of an image or use general, generic, or non-referential language to describe it. Furthermore, not all images are captioned, meaning that thousands of illustrations and photographs in Delpher cannot be found by using this method.
CHRONReader enables you to find images in Delpher’s digitised newspaper in two new ways. First of all, based on the CHRONIC database of classified historical Dutch newspaper images, you can search for specific (combinations) of visual characteristics. First of all, you can indicate in which time period you want to search (1860-1922 available). Then you select if you are looking for drawings, photographs, or both of these categories. Thirdly, you can select one of the categories (any, buildings, cartoons, chess, crowds, logo’s, maps, schematics, sheet music, weather reports). Because all images in CHRONIC were classified for faces, you can also select if you want to search for images with a face.
Finally, you can enter several keywords that should appear in the articles accompanying the images. While Delpher currently only offers its users to search for images that were tagged to have a caption, the final option of CHRONReader allows you to search for keywords in the entire article that originally accompanied the image. After selecting the different options and entering keywords, it builds a search string for the KB Xportal, an experimental web application for accessing metadata and content of different kinds of digital collections of the National Library of the Netherlands, and you are then directed to the results.
When using this tool we request you cite it as follows:
Smits, T., Faber, W.J. (2018) CHRONReader. KB Lab: The Hague. http://lab.kb.nl/tool/chronreader
Say that I’m interested in images of ‘grachtenpanden’ [canalhouses] in the Netherlands. In the first option, I select ‘photo or drawing’, in the second the category ‘building’, in the third ‘yes or no’, and finally I enter ‘[grachten]’ as keywords (see screenshot). CHRONReader builds a query that will run in the xportal after you pressed ‘Go’.
The xportal will open in a different tab and returns a list of results (due to technical reasons, this may take a few seconds) with both drawing and photographs classified as buildings, both with and without persons, where all sort of ‘grachten’, like the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, appear in the accompanying articles. You can view the images by clicking on one of the titles.