Universiteit Leiden

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Gerhard-Jan Nauta

Coordinator of Studies

Drs. G.J. Nauta
+31 71 527 2745

Gerhard-Jan Nauta is Policy Officer at Policy and Management Support.

More information about Gerhard-Jan Nauta

Fields of interest

Digital art history, distributed cognition, formal image attributes, group cognition, hypermedia & sociomedia, iconology, similarity measurement, social indexing, style, visual behavior, visual cognition, word and image.


Paintings have concrete visual properties that - up to some point - can be described unbiased. Art historians - from their points of view - have always been interested in such formal attributes of painting. The unpublished Beeldleer system, developed by the late Hans van de Waal (Leiden University, about 1970), has been an important source of inspiration for me. My research considers the question to what degree information technology may be useful for the storage, retrieval and analysis of (visual) works of art. In this context I consider image processing, the use of databases, sociomedia, and other webtechnology. Typical of my approach is that the focus is on segments or parts rather than on entire objects. Another characteristic is that instead of working from the paradigm of one coherent (set of) resource(s) to be systematically enriched through centrally coordinated indexing practices, I try to investigate the pros and cons of making the accumulation of visual knowledge a derivative of the multifarious use of distributed multimedia collections. In line with this I consider so-called "intermediate sources" (the concept was introduced by Russell A. Kirsch). These are visual transcriptions of works of art that isolate significant visual features, thus reducing the amount of image data to be processed by human or machine.

Curriculum Vitae

Gerhard Jan Nauta, born in Cape Town, SA (1957), studied Art History, Psychology and Computer Science (as a subsidiary subject) at Leiden University. He has worked as a lecturer in the theory of art history and worked in the Leiden University Printroom as a researcher. Since 1990 he has been teaching humanities computing, with a focus on the use of computers in the disclosure of visual resources. He is a member of the commission "Digitaliseren met Beleid" ("Digitising with a policy"), a grant scheme from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science.

Teaching activities

Fall 2008:

Practical course "Sources and literature" ( P-werkgroep I: bronnen, literatuur):

Cultural Heritage and Collections: (digital) presentations ( Cultureel Erfgoed en Collecties II: Presenteren is Interpreteren):

Spring 2008:

Digital Cultural Heritage ( Cultureel Erfgoed I):

Wiki CE2 is a wiki used by students to develop collaboratively digital presentations of objects from Leiden University's special collections:

Digital Art History+Humanities Teaching+Research is a collection of notes on the application of computational methods and tools in Art History and the Humanities.Publications: https://dhr.weblog.leidenuniv.nl/


Key publications

2008, G.J. Nauta, " As You Can See: Applying Visual Collaborative Filtering to Works of Art", DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, Vol.2, No.1, Summer 2008. For an online version see: . HTTP-ref. d.d. 2008/08/21.

2001, G.J. Nauta, "Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar, Bladzijde uit een prenten-plakboek, midden negentiende eeuw", in: Nelke Bartelings et al., Uit het Leidse Prentenkabinet, Leiden, Primavera Pers, 2001.

1999, William Vaughan, Hazel Gardiner, Trish Cashen, Hubertus Kohle, Britt Kroepelin & Gerhard Jan Nauta, 'European , in: Koenraad de Smedt et al. (ed.), Computing in Humanities Education, Bergen, 1999, University of Bergen, pp.:209-237. For an online version see: . HTTP-ref. d.d. 2008/09/01.

1993, G.J. Nauta, " HyperIconics: Hypertext and the Social Construction of Information about the History of Artistic Notions", Knowledge Organization, 20 (1993), No.1, pp.35-46.

Coordinator of Studies

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculteitsbureau
  • OSZ Onderwijscoordinatie

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 2.24



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