The Wolfenbüttel sub-project aims to develop and adapt tools that facilitate the in-depth cataloguing of and research into historical collections through a process of scientific datafication. In cooperation with the digital humanities (DH) sub-projects in Marbach and Weimar, the shared digital infrastructure (Virtual Research Space, Reliable Storage System) which was set up during the first phase of funding will continue to be developed and is to be made available for new research activities. The focus on research data management seeks to optimise the quality and thus usability of the data generated in the research projects. In spite of differences in the specifications of research projects relating to the holdings, the aim is to create an interoperable and reusable data pool containing high-quality data. In the projects “Knowledge of the world: The early modern aristocracy and its cosmopolitan interest in collecting” and “Intellectual networks: Early modern scholars’ libraries as spaces of knowledge and communication”, the work of creating an in-depth catalogue of heterogenous collections that comprise items such as bundles of letters, inventories, and historical or mathematical treatises is assisted by semi-automatic processes involving full text recognition, data enhancement and networking using Semantic Web technologies. This cataloguing forms the basis for exploratory approaches to the database, for example methods of visualisation, which are being created to facilitate analysis and interpretation in an innovative manner.
The experimental processes implemented at project level are transposed to standardised workflows and integrated into the MWW Virtual Research Space. This extends the diversity of the field of research and makes it possible to undertake further research activities. Thus, the ability to search through all the holdings for further data formats should be enhanced, as this feature would make it easier to describe the semantics between the digital collections.
A further focus for the project is digital publication. In order to provide an appropriate infrastructure for publishing research findings, the project is involved in setting up an open-access publication platform and continuing the technical development of the DH journal Zeitschrift für digitale Geisteswissenschaften (ZfdG).
Funding: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, MWK) within the framework of the MWW
Duration: March 2019 – February 2024
Project participant: Marcus Baumgarten (team member)