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Editors’ Preface

As the general editors of the DH Benelux Journal, we are proud to present our trilateral Digital Humanities research community with the second volume of this Open Access journal. Like last year, we invited authors of accepted conference abstracts to submit full versions of their papers, which were then subjected to a stringent single-blind peer reviewing process. The resulting volume includes research presented at the sixth instalment of our annual conference, which took place at the University of Liège (Belgium) in September of 2019. The theme of the conference was ’Digital Humanities in Society,’ and as you will see in the papers presented here, an exciting diversity of topics and teams were represented. For an in-depth introduction to the theme and these contributions, be sure to check out the preface by our wonderful guest editors Ingrid Mayeur and Claartje Rasterhoff.

Although we just missed our goal of publishing this volume before the start of this year’s conference, we are glad to still be able to present it to you before the end of the summer. As the ongoing global health crisis increasingly took hold of our personal and professional lives, delays on all fronts of the submission, reviewing, editing, and publication process became inevitable. Despite these difficulties, we are amazed with and thankful for the continued efforts of our authors, reviewers, and co-editors, who made it possible for us to provide you with four strong and substantial contributions.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught our academic community anything, it is the extent to which the resilience of our research relies upon the development, sustainability, interoperability, and conscientious criticism of our digital tools, technologies, and methodologies. As our mobility is limited, and the digital research (and other) infrastructures we have developed are subjected to an unsolicited stress test, it becomes abundantly clear just how much we depend on the affordances of digitization – and how our need for reliable and complex digital resources will only continue to grow in the future. This extraordinary year has also reiterated that all of these processes require close collaboration among researchers working in a wide variety of contexts — from traditional faculties to our often under-appreciated colleagues in the GLAM sector who have worked non-stop to provide digital collections and data for our community.

With these new developments in mind, we are especially proud of how eager our community was to quickly change gears once it transpired that this year’s in-person DH Benelux Conference in Leiden would need to be cancelled. In an inspiring feat of flexibility, generosity, hard work, and collaboration, a dedicated group of volunteers put together an incredibly successful three-day virtual event that allowed us to keep the discussion alive, in the form of the high-quality intellectual and social gathering we have come to expect from DH Benelux. We hope that we will be able to draw on this experience in the next few months as we solicit submissions for our next, third edition of the DH Benelux Journal.

Until then: stay safe, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and enjoy reading the engaging contributions the Editorial Board has put together for you in the present volume!

Antwerp and Amsterdam

Wout Dillen
Marijn Koolen
Marieke van Erp