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Between all the data on historical Amsterdam that is digitally available and the expertise of researchers, computer and information scientists, and heritage professionals, it must be possible to develop a time machine with which we can walk the streets of historical Amsterdam and meet her inhabitants.
We started building the Amsterdam Time Machine (ATM) in 2017 as a hub for linked historical data on Amsterdam. To digitally unlock Amsterdam’s past, we bring together efforts in the fields of academia, cultural heritage, business, and computer science. Ultimately, the web of information on people, places, relationships, events, and objects will unfold in time and space through geographical and 3D representations. While we’re working on that, we’d like to provide access to the three building blocks of the Time Machine: a Linked Data cloud visualisation called ALiDa; historical Maps and other geo reference data; and 3D reconstructions.
In the Time Machine, users will be able to travel back in time and navigate the city on the levels of neighborhoods, streets, houses, rooms, ultimately zooming in on the pictures that adorned the walls. The systematic linkage of datasets from heterogeneous sources allows users to retrieve historical information, support public interfaces, and ask new questions on, for instance, cultural events, everyday life, social relations, or the use of public space in the city of Amsterdam.
ATM uses state-of-the-art computational methods and techniques, and it will be carefully annotated with regards to issues of uncertainty and fuzziness that are inherent to historical data.
We invite everyone to join, by connecting their own data and by using the data for research, storytelling, or other purposes. Its linked and open structure, and its collaboration with other Dutch Time Machines, in the European Time Machine, ensures that the Amsterdam data is connected across the Netherlands and abroad, just as the city itself always has been.