Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Wissens-Aggregator Mittelalter und Frühe Neuzeit

Structuring, Standardising and Providing Research Data from Medieval and Early Modern Material and Written Sources

Central isssues

WIAG aims at showing innovative solutions how the expertise of researchers from subject-specific knowledge communities (which is still often available in analogous form only) can find its way into the worldwide digital knowledge base. An editorial system which is embedded in a domain-specific knowledge platform will establish a technical framework for structuring, standardising and providing research data. Specific research data management will help to handle  comprehensive and heterogeneous collections of research data gained from material and written sources from the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era. Based on extensive data collections of the research projects Deutsche Inschriften (DI) and Germania Sacra (GS), a reliable domain-specific knowledge hub for Medieval and Early Modern research will be created. Designed as a collaborative platform, WIAG will also provide for the integration of data generated by external researchers and research projects.

Methodological approach (central methods)

WIAG will be designed as an open-source, freely available, browser-based application. WIAG will combine an operational system with a cluster of thesauri. The basic functions of the operational system will allow researchers and research projects to transform research results into structured and standardised data. Algorithms and tools provided for this purpose will be based on domain-specific data collections from DI and GS. WIAG features data for the identification of entities (e.g. persons, ecclesiastical institutions, objects, places) and other classifying data (types of artefacts, functions, religious orders and graphic symbols such as coats of arms, etc.). As a collaborative and self-learning system WIAG will be able to incorporate data from external researchers; hence, its knowledge base will grow continuously. A number of established research projects has consented to integrate their data.

WIAG is intended to form a corpus of data of which only a minor proportion is available through important existing authority data providers such as the German National Library (GND) and open-domain knowledge collections such as Wikidata. By using FAIR data standards like unique identifiers and standard interfaces, domain specific data will be made interoperable and internationally connectable. Thus, WIAG will combine the advantages of free and collaboratively developed data collections with quality standards of controlled authority files. WIAG will be sustainably serviced within the infrastructure of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Involved institutions and researchers

The proposal for WIAG is submitted by researchers from two long term academic research projects of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Deutsche Inschriften (http://inschriften.adw-goe.de) and Germania Sacra (http://www.germania-sacra.de).

The interdisciplinary research project Deutsche Inschriften provides critical and commented editions of Medieval and Early Modern inscriptions found on objects such as funeral monuments, church fittings and house facades.

Germania Sacra provides access to the written sources dealing with the church of the Holy Roman Empire. These written sources are the starting point for Germania Sacra’s reference books which trace the history of the church and its institutions from their beginning in the 3rd and 4th centuries until their dissolution in the early 19th century.

In the past, both DI and GS have developed specific digital resources and tools which will be adopted in WIAG.