Recently we sat down with Sebastian Bondzio, the 2021 Gerda Henkel Stiftung Digital History Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Dr. Bondzio is a historian affiliated with the Chair for Modern History and Historical Migration Research at Osnabrück University. His research fields include digital history with a focus on “historical big data” and digital methodologies; he also has interests in the genealogy of cultures, migration history, and the history of knowledge.
Dr. Bondzio began his academic career in 2006 in Osnabrück where he studied philosophy and history. In his master’s thesis and then his Ph.
We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Digital History Fellow Jana Keck. Her fields of research include German and American Literature and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, Periodical Studies, and Digital Humanities. She began her academic career at the University of Stuttgart, where she studied English and Linguistics. In 2017 she received her Master’s from the University of Stuttgart with her thesis “Gottfried Duden’s Bericht über eine Reise nach den westlichen Staaten Nordamerikas (1829) and Its Emigration Stimulus.” In the same year she joined the DFG-funded research project “Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks in Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840-1914” as a Doctoral Researcher. She is also a member of the CRETA/Center for Reflected Text Analytics, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
Recently we sat down with Jana to discuss her academic career, her work, the field of digital history and its impact on the field of humanities, as well as her current goals and duties at the GHI Washington.
Could you give us some insight into the Oceanic Exchanges Project?
Almost two years ago, the Library of Congress launched the crowdsourcing platform By the People, which invites volunteers to transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typescripts from the collections of the Library of Congress. The project runs on the open source software Concordia, developed by the Library of Congress to support crowdsourced transcription projects.
Among the manuscripts made available for transcriptions are documents in German script. In a fascinating recent blog post, David B. Morris, the German Area Specialist, European Division, at the Library of Congress, discusses the art of Unlocking the Secrets of German Handwritten Documents.
The blog post will be particularly interesting for contributors to GHI’s German Heritage in Letters Project, which uses Scripto as the platform to crowdsource transcriptions of German letters, including letters written in Kurrentschrift.
“On 10-12 October 2019, the international conference ‘Digital Hermeneutics: from Research to Dissemination’ took place at the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington DC. The conference aimed to critically reflect on the radical impact of the digital turn on all stages of historical research, including archiving, research, analysis, interpretation and dissemination on a transatlantic level.” Read the full report by Tim Van Der Heijden, Juliane Tatarinov, and Gerben Zaagsma, C2DH, posted on November 5, 2019.
The bauhaus bookshelf is a bilingual (German-English) online resource created by Andrea Riegel, a partner at the Düsseldorf-based communication design agency Riegel+Reichenthaler. Riegel also created Design is fine. History is mine, a popular blog on design and art history. The bauhaus bookshelf, a labor of love launched in 2019, combines access to reproductions of original Bauhaus publications with a timeline, excerpts, photographs, and other contextual information. The download is for personal, non-commercial use only. While many events and publications in 2019 celebrate the Bauhaus centennial, the bauhaus bookshelf is the only comprehensive online gateway to original Bauhaus publications and sources.
Href interviewed Andrea Riegel, the virtual bookshelf’s creator and curator.
What inspired you to develop the bilingual bauhaus bookshelf?
Dasbauhaus bookshelfist ein zweisprachiges virtuelles Bücherregal, das von Andrea Riegel konzipiert und umgesetzt wurde. Andrea Riegel, Partnerin beim Düsseldorfer Gestaltungsbüro Riegel und Reichenthaler, hat schonDesign is Fine, History is Mine, entwickelt, eine beliebte Plattform zur Design-und Kunstgeschichte. Andrea Riegel hat dasbauhaus bookshelfin ihrer Freizeit entwickelt und 2019 Online gestellt. Das sehr schön gestaltete virtuelle Bücheregal verbindet den Zugang zu digitalisierten Originalquellen mit einer Zeitleiste, Auszügen, Fotos und anderen Informationen über den historischen Kontext des Materials. Die meisten der Reproduktionen wurden von Bibliotheken, Archiven und Museen über Creative Commons Lizenzen (CC-BY-SA-4.0) zur Verfügung gestellt und Nutzer können das Material über die Seite für die private Nutzung herunterladen. Zwar erscheinen zum Bauhausjubiläum in diesem Jahr eine Reihe neuer Publikationen und es finden sehr viele Veranstaltungen statt, aber das bauhaus bookshelfist die einzige Webseite, die Nutzerinnen einen übersichtlichen Zugang zu Originalquellen und Publikationen eröffnet.
Interview mit Andrea Riegel
Was hat Sie dazu inspiriert, das zweisprachige Bauhaus bookshelf zu entwickeln?
The DDF, launched last year, is a new portal dedicated to
making selected historical sources documenting the history of women’s movements
in (mostly) German speaking countries available online to a broad public
audience. The portal features thematic essays that provide context for selected
documents, as well as biographical essays on key actors, for example on Louise
Otto Peters or Clara Zetkin.
The portal combines digitized sources from over 40 archives, libraries and
other memory institutions that are collecting resources documenting the history
of women’s and lesbian movements.
Particularly relevant for today is Kerstin Wolff’s essay
on the history of the International Women’s Day, which was initiated by the
International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in 1910, and first
celebrated in Denmark, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Switzerland and the United
States. Wolff highlights the role of Clara Zetkin und Käte Duncker in mobilizing
support for International Women’s Day as part of the campaign for women’s
The German Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives of Germany) launched the portal „Weimar: Die erste deutsche Demokratie“ [Weimar: The First German Democracy] in March 2018. The portal offers access to thousands of digitized records, maps, photographs, films, audio recordings, and posters from the Weimar Republic, with new materials being added on an ongoing basis. Href interviewed Vera Zahnhausen* about the portal, which is one of the major recent digital initiatives of the Bundesarchiv. –Editorial note, href.
What sparked the development of „Weimar: die erste deutsche Demokratie”?
We realized that the upcoming centennial of the November Revolution of 1918 and subsequent centennial anniversaries commemorating the Weimar Republic would draw considerable public attention to this period in German history.