Rediscovering the Former City through Digital Archives. A Case Study of Bucharest in Dutch Language Newspapers
Posted: 25 Dec 2019
Date Written: September 12, 2017
Open access digital archives are nowadays a valuable tool for diachronic analyses of a multitude of phenomena. The degree in which newspaper archives have been digitalized and made openly available still differs greatly across the EU countries. There are several online digitalized Romanian language archives based on which studies about Bucharest can be conducted, but in the present article I look at this object of study from a less researched angle, namely the presence of the city of Bucharest in Dutch language newspapers made available online through digital archives. In its quest to affirm his identity, a smart city can also include in its digitalized history these foreign representations of his own past, which could prove useful, among others, for educational, research and marketing purposes.
Several Dutch language digital archives are openly available online and they contain millions of digitalized texts with a word search possibility. Some of the Dutch language digital archives contain texts about Bucharest that go back as far as the 18th century. In the present article I look at articles about Bucharest published up to the mid 1990’s and starting as early as possibly available. Through both quantitative and qualitative methods I try to answer the following questions: What can we learn about Bucharest through a search in the Dutch language digital archives? What kind of information about Bucharest reached the foreign press? What news about Bucharest from the communist period is present in the Dutch language media? What can we see in the pictures associated with the news from Bucharest?
As other researchers have shown, the data contained at the moment in these digital archives is by no means exhaustive or equal to the data found in analogue archives. Digital archives are constantly being updated, therefore replication of this study at a later date could bring new insight.
Keywords: online tools, cross-cultural perspective, diachronic analysis
JEL Classification: O35
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