The Emergence of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Law of 1920

The Austrian Federal Constitutional Law / Bundes-Verfassung (B-VG 1920) is considered the oldest republican constitution still in existence in Europe. It has been in force since 1920 (except for the years 1934 to 1945) and, despite numerous amendments, still shows the handwriting of the jurist and legal philosopher Hans Kelsen (1881-1973) in its structure and essential provisions.

The DFG/FWF project "The Emergence of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Law 1920" is a joint project of the Department of Legal and Constitutional History / Institut für Rechts- und Verfassungsgeschichte at the University of Vienna (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Olechowski), the Institute for Political Science and Philosophy of Law / Institut für Staatswissenschaft & Rechtsphilosophie at the University of Freiburg i.Br. (PD Dr. Jörg Kammerhofer) and the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage (ACDH-CH) (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexandra N. Lenz) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). The aim of the international as well as interdisciplinary project is to trace the genesis of the Federal Constitution based on the most important sources and texts of the years 1919 and 1920. These materials will be digitised, transcribed, and annotated both text-critically and in terms of legal history. The sources will already be made accessible to the public during the project during successive indexing.

As a national research partner, the ACDH-CH contributes its expertise in digital philology and linguistics and accompanies the entire life cycle of the project: from support in the preparation of scans, metadata acquisition and OCR/HTR by the institute's own digitisation centre, to the development of an edition research environment for annotation, commenting and analysis of the text data, to the modelling and implementation of a project specific TEI customisation. For presenting and visualising the research results as well as the research data, an Open Access platform will be created on the part of the ACDH-CH. In order to ensure the availability of the results of the research project even after the end of the project, the entire project data (results and research data) will be saved in the institute's own long-term repository ARCHE and the software developed in the project will be published on GitHub under a liberal licence.