Digital Humanities: Langzeitprojekte zum kulturellen Erbe 2014 - Abstracts

Petra Aigner: 3D-Digitizing of Rare Ancient South Arabian squeezes, 19th Century Glaser Collection (Bibliothek, Archiv, Sammlungen: Information Service BAS:IS)

Our project consists of a pilot-3D-digitizing of the squeezes of Ancient South Arabian inscriptions, which are currently kept in the Glaser collection in the archives of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. It will be conducted in cooperation between the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Vienna. The latter will provide for the researchers responsible for the scientific part of the project involving among other tasks the translation of the inscriptions. The resulting corpus of 700 out of 2855 squeezes will be made available to scholars and interested laymen in an online database that will include scanned images of the squeezes, transcriptions and translations of the texts, and background topographic and bibliographic information on the inscriptions. This interdisciplinary project, linking computer-aided photography, epigraphy, and online database work, is particularly important in that the original squeezes which Eduard Glaser brought back from Yemen in the late 19th century are currently in a very poor state, while the original inscriptions are in many cases now damaged and are in any case (given Yemen’s political instability) inaccessible. The preservation of this valuable epigraphic corpus will amount to the preservation of a significant part of ancient Yemen’s history and culture and, more broadly speaking, the preservation of an often overlooked part of the Semitic-speaking Near East. Vienna played a remarkable role in the initial development of Ancient South Arabian studies. With our project we hope to re-establish its involvement in the field and to aim at being internationally linked with the DASI-project (Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions).

Michael Gehler/Christine Gruber/Eveline Wandl-Vogt/Heinz Fassmann: Mapping historical networks: Building the new Austrian Prosopographical Biographical Information  System (APIS) (Institut für Neuzeit- und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, Institut für Corpuslinguistik und Texttechnologie, Institut für Stadt- und Regionalforschung)

The Austrian Biographical Dictionary (Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon/ÖBL) is the only large-scale work of reference covering courses of life and career of important historical figures of the entire area of both the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the First and Second Republics (of Austria). On the basis of roughly 18.000 published and digitally available biographies, we will create a digital environment allowing for new modes of access to the data in order to conduct empirical research in the context of a range of SSH disciplines, enabling researchers to take up innovative and interdisciplinary research questions. All of this will be made possible through a sound mix of cutting-edge methodologies and the collaboration of three institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Modern and Contemporary Historical Research/INZ, ACDH - Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and the Institute for Urban and Regional Research/ISR) and a number of external partners.

Making use of up-to-date semantic technologies (RDF, SKOS), the ÖBL will be developed into an efficient research infrastructure accessible as part of the Link Open Data Cloud. The application of relevant standards (GND, VIAF and others) is one of the technological backbones of the project. The project will be embedded in existing infrastructures such as DARIAH, CLARIN-ERIC and EUROPEANA which will ensure a maximum availability of research data produced in the project.

Through an innovative platform, the ISR will gain access to data that will allow them to develop and publish a copious social and demographic analysis of forms and patterns of migration of social elites with particular regard to the political schisms of the historical period under investigation. Applying comparative methods of histoire croissée, cultural transfer research, network research and historical area research will allow gaining new and detailed insights into the social interpenetration of European regions (serendipity principle).

In addition to the SSH results, the project will also generate significant output with respect to visualisation methods for the analysis of historical networks, controlled vocabularies (ontologies) and will work on refined tools for named entity recognition as well as the development of semantic technologies.
Making use of modern text-technology and semantic approaches, the project creates a unique bridge between humanities studies and social sciences. It is designed as a prototypical and future-oriented endeavour that will realise transdisciplinarity by means of a selected “workpiece”.

Data policies (all the data will be made accessible under a Creative Commons license, the research environment will be publicly accessible) and project strategies give grounds to expect many follow-up activities, a great impact with respect to future research in a range of related SSH disciplines and to dissemination in both the research communities and the wider public.

Gerhard Holzer: Woldan goes digital (Bibliothek, Archiv, Sammlungen: Information Service BAS:IS)

The collection of the Viennese private collector Erich Woldan (1901-1989) was during his lifetime probably the most comprehensive private compilation of old geographic books and maps in Austria. The objectives of the project are to start to digitize the more than 1700 cartographic objects of the collection and insert the data into a GeoNode (Geospatial Content Management System) oriented search system. The digital surrogates will reduce physical wear and tear on the original objects of great cultural value and enable an extended availability to the map-corpus for the scientific community and interested laypersons.

About 150 maps will be scanned with a bookscanner, provided by ICLTT and safed in geotiff-format. These tiff-files will be enriched with meta data by qgis (geographical information system). The whole web presence including all GeoNode and searching features will be realized in a cloud hosted by AAS-Press or ICLTT will save the data for citation and give a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). Needed software for the whole project is open source (e.g. Libre-Office, C++).

For use by the scientific community and other target groups like map collectors or antiquarians it is necessary to produce high quality scans for scientific comparability with maps in other collections and reproduction proofs.
Using the geocoded corner points the printed areas of the old maps will be visible on the surface of a recent digital map. The number of results can be minimized by matching various categories like chronologic or wideness borders.
The match itself gives information about author, title, printing year, scale, physical description, a scientific commentary about the object including known literature about it and a thumbnail to the original scan.

Additionally a platform for discussions about the historic assessment of these cartographic items will be included. This map-platform will offer the possibility of an integrated open discussion and multiplicator of new information.
First data researches will be possible at the end of the 2nd year of the project. There are no confinements for open-Access because all the maps were published before 1918 and copyrights have expired already.

The long time cooperation partners of the Woldan Collection are incorporated as scientific adviser. The project will be presented by its web site and by lectures and posters at specialist conferences. After the present two-years pilot project it is planned to expend the project to all cartographic items of the Woldan Collection follow-up financing provided.

Barbara Horejs: A puzzle in 4D: digital preservation and reconstruction of an Egyptian palace (Institut für Orientalische und Europäische Archäologie)

The proposed research project will solve the general problem of integration of heterogeneous and incomplete digital and non-digital records of archaeological long-term excavations to prepare them for spatio-temporal analysis, long-term archiving based on national and international standards and open-access online publication for specialists and the general public. The designed pilot-study will focus on the resources from the Austrian excavation project at Tell el Daba (TED) in Egypt.

Excavations at TED have been carried out since 1966 facing massive improvement in excavation methodology and documentation techniques changing from analogue to digital. Therefore the TED excavation project created a huge but heterogeneous resource of digital and non-digital photographs, plans, drawings, written documentation and in particular a very rich archive of Minoan wall painting fragments. Today, this unique resource from a long-term Austrian excavation project is under threat, as for example, the negatives of black and white photos from the earlier campaigns are deteriorating irreversibly over time.

The overall aim of the proposed project is to guarantee long-term preservation of all information and knowledge on TED by integrating existing resources and preparing them for long-term digital archiving, spatio-temporal analysis, 3D modelling, virtual reconstruction and online accessibility. State of the art technology will be used for digitizing non-digital resources and throughout the work process data will be enriched with meta-data based on international standards in cultural heritage management. Structuring the data according to the CIDOC CRM will guarantee interoperability with related initiatives.
A vital task will be the combination of excavation results from different fieldwork campaigns to create an integrated stratigraphic sequence and site plan. All data will be georeferenced and integrated in a Geodatabase (ArcGIS) so that graphical and descriptive information will be available for integrated search and query building up an Archaeological Information System (AIS). An innovative software solution interfaced to and enhancing the AIS will be developed to integrate and analyse the digitized objects in space and time, which will be able to manage incomplete information and to model uncertainties based on a comprehensive workflow model. The software solution will integrate a stratigraphic sequencing tool into the AIS which will be extended by an interval based time model enabling the integration of absolute dating (e.g. radiocarbon dates) and relative dating (periods and phases). This software development will provide a general solution for archaeological excavations and therefore potentially has a high international impact.

The models resulting from the spatio-temporal analysis of the integrated archaeological data will form the basis for a comprehensive virtual reconstruction of the site, a main palace including its astonishing and world-famous Minoan wall paintings which will be made accessible online for research as well as the interested public. The virtual model will include a standardized model description making the reconstruction process transparent for visitors. Making information and knowledge on TED accessible open access via the internet will enlarge the research community including researchers from countries with less well developed research infrastructures.
For the development of a repository for archaeological data at the ACDH it is suggested that this project serves as a case study. It represents a large-scale long-term excavation project with the resulting heterogeneous and fragmented datasets posing problems of incomplete data with uncertainties, typical for these kinds of projects.

Mihailo Popovic: Digitising Patterns of Power (DPP) - Peripherical Mountains in the Medieval World (Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Abteilung Byzanzforschung)

The perception, depiction and organisation of spaces and places in the Middle Ages encompass an interdisciplinary research field that helps to understand historical processes and relations within the medieval period.

Central research topics of DPP are the representation of space in medieval texts, the interplay between built and natural environment, the appropriation of land and the subsequent installation of new power-structures.  By digitising selected written sources as well as material evidence and bringing them together in a common spatial referenced database, further research-oriented analyses with digital tools become possible. Digital methods can identify the patterns of influence, untangle and re-trace complex processes and make networks of power visible.

By incorporating digital cartographic expertise, relevant facts can be depicted in a more effective visual form. The communication of space, time and spatial interconnectivity is an essential aspect of DPP. To provide a framework for these tasks, an interactive map-based online platform will be developed. It will be a tool which can be used in the research process itself and which is also a platform to present and disseminate DPP’s results in order to provide access to relevant data for fellow researchers and a general audience alike. “OpenATLAS”, a database system established during previous research, will provide the backend for the application. Modular design, generalised workflow and compliance of data standards will guarantee sustainability.

DPP will bring together expertise from historical and archaeological research as well as Digital Humanities in the field of spatial representation and geo-communication to explore medieval geographies. Via regional case studies of comparable areas (i. e. Eastern Alps, the historical region of Macedonia and historical Southern Armenia) with similar mountainous ecologies on the peripheries of empires, generalisable workflows and methodology will be developed.

As the research questions are beyond the scope of any single scholarly or scientific discipline, the expertise of two established institutions will be joined. At the Austrian Academy of Sciences the Institute for Medieval Research (IMAFO) led by Prof. Walter Pohl has a renowned research tradition in the analysis of both textual and material evidence. The team led by Prof. Karel Kriz at the University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research (IfGR), has an interdisciplinary research tradition in joining historical research and state-of-the-art methods of geo-communication.

The organisation of a mid-term workshop and a final international conference as well as cooperation with various international institutions and projects and the invitation of guest scholars with a renowned expertise in the relevant disciplines will increase the impact of DPP.

Digital communication and dissemination strategies will be explored. To ensure the highest possible degree of sustainability, all results will be published following Open Access and Open Source policies.  For sustaining a long-term accessibility of the data, DPP will cooperate with national and international data repositories.

Franz Karl Praßl: Cantus Network – a semantically enriched digital edition of libri ordinarii of the Salzburg metropolitan province (Institut für kunst- und musikhistorische Forschungen, Abteilung Musikwissenschaften)

The object: Liturgy and music in the medieval metropolitan province of Salzburg.
For many centuries, the metropolitan province of Salzburg with its episcopal and suffragan dioceses Passau, Säben-Brixen, Freising and Regensburg played a key role in the cultural history of Austria. It is thus all the more important that the many surviving liturgical musical sources which form an important part of this cultural heritage are made digitally accessible and subjected to scholarly analysis. The aim of this research project is to investigate the records surviving in manuscript form and describe the practice of liturgical and musical acts of worship.

The key sources are the Liturgical ordinals, called libri ordinarii (LOi), as they include a short form of the entire rite of a diocese or a monastery. A LO usually includes all the information required by an individual institution or a group for their services. This includes the incipits of chants, readings and prayers for the liturgy of the hours, mass and processions as well as rubrics that provide instructions on how and when particular liturgical acts should be carried out. LOi may also contain commentaries on the liturgy, which provide additional information for particular feast days or a particular liturgical activity. LOi containing information on people, places, buildings and the furnishings of sacred spaces can be of interest not only to musicologist and liturgy studies but also to historians and art historians. All this information needs in-depth examination of the LOi to become scholarly exploitable. The project will thus create a scholarly edition including an in-depth analysis of the origins of the liturgy and the commentaries. The project will add the analysis of secondary sources (liturgical and musical liturgical manuscripts) and edit them, spanning a network of information from the LOi. For this, a selection of these codices will be digitalised and completely inventoried.

The project thus creates a comprehensive and scholarly edited data pool available to researchers in various disciplines (liturgics and musicology, history, art history and palaeography). The project is interdisciplinary as it involves musicological, codicological, philological and digital humanities methods.

The method: Advancing Digital Scholarly Edition by Semantic Enrichment:
The LOi as a textual genre need enriched editions which cannot be fully provided in printed forms. The project will provide the multi-layered texts digitally. It will create TEI/MEI documents which will be semantically enriched through domain-specific controlled vocabularies. The data will be presented with an GUI giving the user the possibility to
• view the texts in a synoptic way in which the user can select from all texts and their representations
• navigate between textual fragments by chants, liturgical occasions/functions
• visualise the connections between the texts created by liturgical occasions/chants/liturgical functions geographically and chronologically (time lines, maps)
• use analysis tools for creating similarity measure by comparing sequence, selection and individual form of the liturgical elements or “singularities detection”
• compare images of the manuscripts with the transcriptions
• link/integrate (digitised) musical manuscripts of the chants; link/integrate to musical recordings (for a similar approach see e-sequence).
The digitized and enriched objects will be managed, published and long-time archived in GAMS, the Fedora Commons based Humanities Asset Management System of the Center for Information Modelling, Graz.

Eveline Wandl-Vogt: exploreAT! exploring austria´s culture through the language glass (ACDH - Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities)

This project aims to reveal unique insights into the rich texture of the German Language, especially in Austria, by providing state of the art tools for exploring the unique collection (1911-1998) of the Bavarian Dialects in the region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This corpus is large and rich, estimated to contain 200,000 headwords in estimated 4 Million records. The collection includes a five-volume dictionary of about 50,000 headwords, covering a period from the beginning of German language until the present (DBÖ, WBÖ).

In order to create enduring value from this resource, the project will apply open science and citizen science techniques to improve access and to leverage the crowd’s wisdom. The engagement of users with the system will be the subject for mind-brain studies, and the results and records will be enriched and interlinked using the best practices of semantic content publishing of Linked Open Data on the Web of Data. The key tasks are to:
1. Explore Austrian culture within a Pan-European and international setting, concerning both concepts of rural life of the multicultural Habsburg Empire, as well as supplementing historical and sociological inquiry with an understanding of the role and implementation of Lexicography over time.
2. Discover challenges and chances of a transformation process from a traditional lexicography project to an open cultural knowledge base and the role of lexicographic knowledge, especially with respect to automatic and semi-automatic techniques for publishing the results as five-star linked data.
3. Invite researchers, professionals, academics and amateurs, to participate, share and grow in the framework of up to date collaborative lexicography.
4. Create an open multilingual infrastructure for all to explore the world described by the corpus as documented in languages.
5. Reflect best practice for publishing multi-lingual linked open data, connecting the lexical, temporal, geographical and historical features of the corpus with the global and European knowledge web.

We are an interdisciplinary, international team of researchers from Ireland (Trinity College Dublin, ADAPT Centre; Alexander O´Connor), Spain (Universidad the Salamanca, Departamento de Informática y Automatica; Roberto Theron) and Austria (Zentrum für Soziale Innovation; Barbara Kieslinger), coordinated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Eveline Wandl-Vogt), looking forward to reaching our goals via the following key steps:
1. Create a web-based collaborative, multilingual infrastructure for archiving, editing, publishing and analysing non-standard data (historical, dialectal), it´s lexicographic output and it´s knowledge resources for scientific as well as amateur purposes.
2. Create links between different lexicographic data sets to foster exchange and interoperability at international level.
3. Engage the larger public in exploring and contributing to lexicographic data in a playful and educational approach (e.g. gamification).
4. Challenge further research for innovative ways to explore the data by means of highly interactive visual tools aimed leveraging insights to improve the understanding of the German language.
5. Connect to other initiatives across the globe, e.g. DARIAH.EU, COST ENeL, EUROPEANA, LIDER, W3C Ontology Lexica Community Group, SOCIENTIZE, European School of Social Innovation (ESSI),, Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), European childrens universities network (EUCU) and WIKIMEDIA.AT.

This project is innovative both from technical and humanities perspectives: there is a key interest in creating effective, reusable, domain-tuned IT infrastructure for hosting historical-lexical content. The platform will include an environment for inquiry of the database and, importantly, the connected and linked knowledge from European and Global infrastructures. This will facilitate scholarly and amateur inquiry from both shallow browsing to deep research from around the world. From a humanities perspective, the insight into how users interact with this content, and what riches they can discover in the corpus will likely greatly advance knowledge of the evolution of German and human language in general.