Exploring People and Monuments in Baedeker Guidebooks (1875—1914)

While more and more digital data have become available over the past few years, sophisticated language resources of historical travel guides are not well established yet. Therefore, textual research in this field is lagging behind otherwise widespread text technological developments. It is precisely at this point the submitted project starts out. Besides introducing the "Baedeker Corpus", a digital collection of early German travel guides on non-European countries (1875-1914), key areas addressed are linguistic and in particular semantic markup, taxonomy building in SKOS, corpus enrichment by means of LOD and some good reasons why advanced textual studies on this genre are of interest. Corpus usability will strongly benefit from the implementation of these components, in particular successful corpus dissemination will depend on high quality data that allow for complex analyses. Another argument in favor of this project is that the corpus contains significant and unique cultural heritage objects.

Early Baedeker handbooks are rare today because only a small number of copies escaped from frequent maltreatment of being cut up to save luggage weight on local trips. Those having endured give us a vivid impression of cultural narratives at the turn of the 19th century and they tell more than one story. The travel!digital-project approaches this complex issue focusing on data development in general and the leading actors in the travel guides, people and monuments in particular. Considering well-established standards (TEI, RDF, SKOS, CMDI) and relying on pan-European infrastructures (CLARIN, DARIAH) the aim is making available a well-equipped and freely accessible language resource which is meant to foster cross-disciplinary research in cultural representation and identity constructing discourses.

While much still remains to be done, we decided to give insight into our work at an early stage. Thus, as of December 2016 a test version of the "Baedeker Corpus" is online accessible: It includes two volumes, Konstantinopel und Kleinasien (1905) and Indien (1914) and a first part of the domain-specific thesaurus. In the course of 2017, the year of the 190th anniversary of the Baedeker Company, the remaining volumes of the corpus will be published gradually.

travel!digital The Interview

Ulrike Czeitschner (
Barbara Krautgartner (
Victoria Eisenheld
Laura Lanig
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