The first Bible translations into Welsh have existed since at least the 15th century. The Welsh Bible presented in Elbląg Digital Library originates from 1689. It was published by London printer Thomas Newcomb. The Bible catches the eye with its fancy and intricate cover, that is attributed to London bookbinder Robert Steel (1668–1710). As shown in the picture the binding is made of green leather and ornamented with golden pressings. Gilded are also the page edges what makes a book even more luxurious, although gilding was applied not only for decoration purposes but has also its practical dimension as it preserved the edges. The endpaper is made of marble paper (more information of the binding of Queen Marys’ Bible available on the blog Biblos run by the restoration team of Elbląg Library http://pracownia-konserwacji.blogspot.com/2013/09/biblia-krolowej-marii.html).
The presentation of cultural materials in the internet is exposed to a tight competition: the critical reception by the internet community/public will decide about the success of their cultural impact in the digital world. This competitive situation demands that the presentation of photographed or digitized cultural heritage is done in an efficient, visually attractive, qualitative and yet universally acclaimed way. For minority heritage the situation seems clear: either iconic materials are presented in a way which makes a high reception possible and tags the minority in the perspective of the internet community with certain narratives linked to these materials, or the heritage will never push through and remain due to its lack of attractivity unobserved and unappreciated – maybe even by its members and descendants.
A 3D model converted by aerial drone photography of the famous “Dracula Castle” Bran, built by Transylvanian Saxons in the Late Middle Ages. Screenshot taken from https://sketchfab.com/models/623f31b3d3314f8d8095eafc94fafaba Continue reading How to turn visual materials, objects and buildings into “iconics”
In order to provide for the first time a complete overview and compilation of the German-language press from Eastern Europe, I started in 2012 to collect all available bibliographical data on newspapers, journals, popular calendars, almanachs and yearbooks which were published by members of German-language minorities in this part of the continent. Continue reading Online Bibliography on German-language periodicals from Eastern Europe
As part of the digital humanities project DARIAH-DE a very useful and user-friendly georeferencing mobile app has been programmed and developed since 2014 by Harald Lordick (Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History):
Providing referenced knowledge on minorities is the basis for future research progress and consequently for a successful, substantial cultural preservation – notably in the internet, where a considerable or even the biggest part of information is procured. Relying on the Wikipedia is not a viable solution: it is a huge platform for information with a strong mobilisation for crowdsourcing, but it still has many gaps and several flaws and is due to the lack of a scientific quality control not quotable. Especially regarding minorities the quality problem is quite severe: the Wikipedia articles on them are either written by authors who have limited knowledge of the culture and history of the respective minorities – mistakes or outdated theses are a common occurrence – or they are part of these and therefore influencing in a subjective, sometimes manipulative way the presented theses and perspectives. For solving this issue there are two possibilities: 1) digitizing older printed publications with referenced knowledge; 2) compose new ones. Continue reading Online Lexicon on the Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe
Related to my former post on the importance of newspaper digitization I’d like to additionally present a few theses on another type of periodicals which is still widely neglected despite its cultural value:
1. Popular calendars1 are of high relevance because they were very likely read by most people who were ordinary or occasional readers. Beside chapters on chronology and general information (e.g. the city’s addresses, market days, prizes of post offices, currency value etc.), these publications also provided essayistic or poetic works. Calendars thus served as reading materials for the higher and middle as well as for the lower strata of society because they were a very useful tool due to their calendarical as well as their socially important information which was presented in a readable, sorted and well-arranged way. Continue reading Historical popular calendars as a valuable source
- For numerous examples please visit my institute’s website: http://www.ios-regensburg.de/informationsinfrastruktur/bibliothek/digitale-bibliothek/volkskalender.html
In the following I am discussing some theses on historical newspaper digitization which appeared during my projects on periodicals from German-language minorities at the Institute for East and Southeast European Studies:
I. Newspapers contain very diverse information, hence being an excellent source for various scientific disciplines and historical education. Being originally addressed to the public they offer information which was deemed relevant for a considerable part of a community or an entire society. Newspapers therefore provide a cross section through the knowledge which circulated in a certain time period and region. Because these do not demand an overly substantial historical knowledge and are chronologically structured, newspapers are excellent materials for student research projects. Beside documenting the history of knowledge and information delivery, reading newspapers is also an efficient training for information competence. However the scans need to be processed with performant OCR in order to enable an easier access to the huge amount of text. Continue reading Why we should digitize historical newspapers – theses on their importance for minority heritage
Based on the printed German-Baltic Biographical Lexicon the Baltic History Commission conducted the buildup of a database which contains all OCR-processed texts and scanned images from the lexicon as well as detailed metadata: Continue reading The Baltic Biographical Lexicon – digitization project of the Baltic History Commission