Supporting the Exploration of Online Cultural Heritage Collections

The Case of the Dutch Folktale Database

by Iwe Muiser, Mariët Theune, Ruud de Jong, Nigel Smink, Dolf Trieschnigg, Djoerd Hiemstra, and Theo Meder

This paper demonstrates the use of a user-centred design approach for the development of generous interfaces/rich prospect browsers for an online cultural heritage collection, determining its primary user groups and designing different browsing tools to cater to their specific needs. We set out to solve a set of problems faced by many online cultural heritage collections. These problems are lack of accessibility, limited functionalities to explore the collection through browsing, and risk of less known content being overlooked. The object of our study is the Dutch Folktale Database, an online collection of tens of thousands of folktales from the Netherlands. Although this collection was designed as a research commodity for folktale experts, its primary user group consists of casual users from the general public. We present the new interfaces we developed to facilitate browsing and exploration of the collection by both folktale experts and casual users. We focus on the user-centred design approach we adopted to develop interfaces that would fit the users’ needs and preferences.

Screen Shot of the Dutch Folktale Database

Published in Digital Humanities Quarterly 11(4), 2017

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Access the Folktale Database at: http://www.verhalenbank.nl/.

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