Situated in the heart of Western Europe, KU Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Founded in 1425, KU Leuven bears the double honor of being the oldest existing Catholic university in the world and the oldest university in the Low Countries. KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied research. It is strongly inter- and multidisciplinary in focus and strives for international excellence. To this end, KU Leuven works together actively with its research partners at home and abroad. KU Leuven combines a rich tradition with top research & technology. There are more than 38.000 students, about 2000 academic staff and more than 4000 junior researchers. Together with its associated University Colleges throughout the Flanders region, KU Leuven serves well over 70.000 students annually. The Leuven Research & Development Technology Transfer Office has a > 150 m. € turnover, about 1200 contracts, 180 invention disclosures and 100 new patent families.
KU Leuven – Department of Literary Studies - Institute for Cultural Studies (CS/Digital)
The Media Lab of the Institute for Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Leuven University, specialises in e-learning for the Humanities and digital cultural heritage. It has run several projects involving innovative use of digital images in Humanities education. The leader of the Centre, Prof. Frederik Truyen, chaired the e-learning steering committee of Leuven University, which exploits a very large scale embedded VLE with currently 75.000+ users. Together with Alinari, CS/Digital has been involved in Euridice (http://www.euridice-edu.org) and eRmione (http://www.ermione-edu.org). The Photolab of the Faculty of Arts also hosts the dArts digital photo repository, which currently has 375.000+ digitized images with high-quality metadata. Today, CS/Digital has joined forces with the University Library, the Alamire Foundation (http://www.alamirefoundation.org) and Illuminare (http://www.illuminare.be) in the KU Leuven Digital Lab. This centre of expertise on digital imaging offers very high-end digitization including Medieval Manuscripts, Early Prints and Fine Arts. The Alamire Mobile Digital Lab specializes in Music Manuscripts and RICH (Reflectance Imaging for Cultural Heritage, http://illuminare.be/) is involved in art-technical imaging and visualization. RICH is developed in close collaboration with the Museum Plantin-Moretus (Unesco World Heritage). A nice example of this collaboration is the publication and digitization of a collection of 102 largely unknown illuminated medieval manuscripts.
The institute of Cultural Studies runs its own peer-reviewed scholarly journal Image [&] Narrative, which will feature an issue on EuropeanaPhotography.
Partner contribution to the project
KU Leuven undertakes a very prominent role in the EuropeanaPhotography project, being both Project Coordinator and WP Leader for the Collections and Themes work package. As Project Coordinator, in cooperation with Technical Coordinator, KU Leuven will be in charge of progress monitoring, partner management, coordination and orchestration of the technical work-packages.
KU Leuven will also contribute to the quality control by providing expertise and guidelines as to the criteria on which collections should be selected for incorporation in the database. For this, the fact that the KU Leuven team is embedded in one of the Arts Faculties with the longest European traditions is welcome. Project members are involved in teaching at both the undergraduate and master level of Cultural Studies, Photography, History and the Fine Arts. Expert opinions of colleagues and researchers can be collected first-hand. The ICS works with European top centres in Early Music (Alamire Foundation), Medieval Art (Illuminare) and Photography Research (Lieven Gevaert Centre for Photography). KU Leuven is also in the possibility, given its access to master classes, to assess the usability of the Europeana materials in an educational context.
Apart from its contribution to the quality standards of the selected content, KU Leuven will assist in benchmarking the photographic quality of the digitization, given its expertise as one of Europe’s leading digitizing centres for the Fine Arts.
KU Leuven will also contribute to the collection, with high-end source images from Archaeology, the Fine Arts and Musicology, as well as collections from the University Archive and Library preciosa collection.