Much of our historical knowledge is based on oral or written accounts of eyewitnesses, particularly in cases of war and mass violence, when regular ways of documentation and record keeping are often absent. Although oral history and the study of ego documents both value these individual perspectives on history and its meaning, these research fields tend to operate separately. However, the digital revolution has shaken up the balance between spoken and written text. The paradigm emerging in the application of search technology to digitised oral history is characterised by a post-documentary sensibility: away from text and sensitive to other dimensions of human expression than language. Nonetheless, ‘mining’ of oral history accounts remains valuable in humanities research, especially considering the re-use of digital interview collections throughout the humanities.
EviDENce explores new ways of analysing and contextualising historical sources by applying event modelling and semantic web technologies. Our project suggests a systematic and integral content analysis of ‘ego-sources’ by applying state-of-the-art entity and event modelling methods and tools, in order to explore the nature and value of ego-sources and to disclose existing collections. We focus on representations of mass-violence in two case studies to generate and explore different kinds of events: 1) a synchronic analysis of WW2 events, centered around the oral history collection ‘Getuigenverhalen’  and using the WW2 thesaurus , and 2) a diachronic analysis of ego-documents (1573-2012) from Nederlab . In both cases, we use content-related contextual sources from Nederlab .