Research Infrastructure

Digital History/Scientific Collections

The research infrastructure group indexes analogue and digital archival holdings and makes them accessible online. The core is formed by the Scientific Collections for the History of Building and Planning in the GDR, which, as a special archive for the recent history of spatial development in East Germany, are available to international research as well as to the general public. The core tasks of critically reflecting on the collection, preservation and accessibility of holdings are supplemented by a variety of educational activities. These include online offerings and exhibitions as well as strategic networking with other archives and collaborative projects within the Leibniz Association. Since the beginning of 2020, services are digitally expanded as part of a special budget project, databases will be merged in a dedicated portal and the holdings connected to archival portals. The infrastructure group takes up current approaches of the digital humanities, such as the visual indexing of holdings, the evaluation of mass data, methods of geocoding and mapping as well as the involvement of laypersons in the indexing of materials (citizen science). In this way, it links archival development, digitization and research in a contemporary way.

Ongoing Projects

In this project, processes and a product for the simple digitalisation, indexing and publication of the holdings of smaller, specialised archives are to be developed on the basis of the scientific collections' own holdings and with the help of various pilot users, whose personnel and financial resources rarely permit comprehensive digitalisation. In combination with Citizen Science approaches and Semantic Web technologies, free resources such as knowledge, commitment and time of interested and expert users are to be gained and included in the indexing, especially the description and indexing of collection holdings. In this way, hitherto inaccessible cultural treasures are to be lifted and made usable for education, research and the public in the early stages of cataloguing. The result should be an unbureaucratically accessible open source product in the form of a central knowledge and communication platform with various additional modules, which enables both indexing work and moderation and quality control of acquired data and content.<br/> more

Head of Infrastructure Group

The Scientific Collections constitute an important specialized academic archive documenting the more recent building and planning history of East Germany with an emphasis on the GDR era. They serve as a repository for personal papers of architects and planners and include drawings, plans, written documents and photographs. more infos