As of 1 October, Sophie Ham is the new curator of Digital Collections at the KB (National Library of the Netherlands). She will focus on born digital publications, such as websites, blogs and social media. She succeeds Kees Teszelszky, who accepted a position at the Ministry of the Interior after five years as a curator.

Sophie Ham (1980) is no stranger to the world of born digital publications. She was the coordinator of the KB’s Web Archiving team since 2019 and active in national and international networks in the field of web archiving and social media archiving. She previously held various positions within the KB relating to building the digital collection and was project leader for the 'Coordination of social media archiving' project from the Dutch Digital Heritage Network (NDE). 

The importance of digital heritage

Today's history is mainly written online. Websites and other digital publications are essential for understanding the current times. That’s why the KB sees it as its task to preserve them in a sustainable way, just as is done with books, newspapers and magazines. It is a big challenge. There are an enormous number of digital publications, which are fleeting and ephemeral with no legal framework for archiving them. The KB therefore advocates legislation allowing the archiving of online sources, as Martijn Kleppe, director of Research and Discovery, previously expressed in his opinion piece in the Volkskrant: Nederland verwaarloost zijn digitale erfgoed (The Netherlands is neglecting its digital heritage).

The digital curator team

Because of the great importance that the KB attaches to digital heritage, the Digital Collections curators were added to the team of collection experts seven years ago, which was unique in the Dutch heritage sector at the time. With the arrival of Sophie Ham, the KB's digital curator team is once again complete. She will work closely with the other curator of Digital Collections, Steven Claeyssens. Claeyssens' main focus is on digital and digitised books, newspapers and magazines.

Monument of our generation

Ham: ‘Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer wrote that “The internet is the monument of our generation." I think that's a beautiful image. It is a monument that changes daily, that has been built by millions of people and is expanding like the universe. I very much look forward to working with colleagues, researchers and other heritage institutions in my new role as curator to better preserve, make accessible and interpret that monument - or at least parts of it.'


Sophie Ham
Curator Digitale Collecties