'A World of Diamond' - International Cultural Heritage Project (2018-2020)

Announcement, Amsab-ISG, Gent, Belgium

Heritage project about diamond workers

Since the end of 2018, a new project has been running at Amsab-ISG on the history of diamond work in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

The International Cultural Heritage Project 'A World of Diamond' (2018-2020) examines the heritage of the diamond industry and diamond workers. Historically, the diamond industry before the Second World War was mainly located in Amsterdam and Antwerp. At the initiative of the Dutch and Belgian diamond trade unions, an international diamond trade union was established in 1905 in France Alliance Universelle des Ouvriers Diamond Aires (AUOD). The AUOD heritage is today at La Fraternelle in Saint-Claude, but has been unlocked in digitized form through the Amsab-ISG catalog.

Link to the archive of the AUOD
Link to the AUOD magazine, L'Ouvrier Diamantaire

A World of Diamond tries to bring together the fragmented heritage of the international diamond workers in an archive guide that, in collaboration with Archive Bank Flanders will be brought online. Crowdsourcing days will be held in the course of 2019 in Antwerp, Amsterdam and Saint-Claude where oral history will be collected from the broad diamond community. This is done in collaboration with project partners IISH Institute for Social History (Amsterdam) and La Fraternelle (Saint-Claude, France).

A World of Diamond will also test technological solutions for opening up the diamond heritage. A first pilot project that is currently running carries out a number of tests with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) on Amsab-ISG-supplied data files of diamond heritage, in collaboration with the Ghent Center for Digital Humanities. This is followed by a second pilot project on Linked Open Data and IIIF standards.

For the project A World of Diamond Sofie Veramme (research) and Cliff Beeckman (IT) were recruited. The project is coordinated by Amsab employees Martine Vermandere and Donald Weber.

A separate project website is available at http://www.amsab.be/diamond (English).