Since I study German as my minor subject, I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of research on how the field of digital humanities is faring auf Deutsch. I researched a few German Universitäten and, after only a few minutes of mouse-clicking and scrolling, was quite surprised to see how enthusiastically the digital humanities have been incorporated into many deutsche universities.
In 2011, there were approximately 12 German universities offering Digital Humanities -related courses. This has increased to 16 universities at the present, including well-known institutions such as the Cologne and Hamburg Universities. Most, such as Würzburg University, have a Bachelor program in Digital Humanities. In addition to this, many also offer courses related to this field of study, such as Bamberg University’s MSc Computing in the Humanities program or Bielefield University’s BA in Text Technology and Computer Linguistics (Digital Humanities in Deutschsprachigen Raum, 2011).
Digital Humanities in Deutschsprachigen Raum (=Digital Humanities in the German-speaking Area) is the main organisation and central body for developing the field of digital humanities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It was founded in 2013 and, as of February 2016, it has 250 researchers as members (Digital Humanities in Deutschsprachigen Raum, 2016). Since December 2011, DHd also runs a blog, DHd-Blog, which contains informative and useful information, links and news.
I was interested to read one of the more recent posts on this blog, announcing the First International Workshop on Digital Humanities and Digital Curation, taking place on 22nd November in Göttingen. (For some reason, this particular post is in English, so it is accessible for non-German speakers.) The theme of the workshop will be on how to apply knowledge management, visualisation and data analysis to digitised material, such as curated artefacts:
“The aim of the DHC Workshop is to invite the community to a discussion in which we will try to find new creative ways to handle semantic technologies in cultural heritage, especially in digital humanities and digital curation.”
This sparked my interest, as I myself am interested in digital curation and categorisation of digitised cultural heritage. The blog post also mentioned the German Digital Library (Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, or DDB, in German), established in 2009 by the German Federal Government.
That put me on another trail, and I then spent some time browsing through Germany’s digital archive. This organisation has digitised a vast array and amount of materials – photos, letters, paintings, recordings, documents, statues and so on. It struck me as very similar to Europeana in presentation, interface and content – which makes sense since, according to the website’s about page, the German Digital Library is the national data aggregator for Europeana and calls itself the “German section of Europeana.” Its aim is to “gradually link the digital aspects of German culture and academic facilities together and make them accessible”(DDB, no date).
Overall, the research I conducted for this blog post lent me a wider view of the digital humanities world. It has made me more aware of digital humanities on an international scale; I was previously unaware that Germany is currently very involved in the digitisation of its cultural heritage – something in which, as I have previously said on this blog, I am particularly interested in.
Blümm, M., 2016, CfP: First International Workshop on Digital Humanities and Digital Curation (DHC) – November 22nd 2016, Göttingen, Germany. DHd Blog. Available at: http://dhd-blog.org/?p=7249 [last accessed 19th October 2016].
DDB, (no date), Fragen und Antworten. Available at: https://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/content/faq [last accessed 19th October 2016].
Digital Humanities in deutschsprachigen Raum, (2016), Über DHd. Available at: https://dig-hum.de/ueber-dhd [last accessed 19th October 2016].
Sahle, P., 2011, Digitale Geisteswissenschaften. Available at: https://dig-hum.de/sites/dig-hum.de/files/cceh_broschuereweb.pdf [last accessed 19th October 2016].