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Allgemein Englisch WissKomm

Small Editions for Digital Humanities

Open science works when we pragmatically use tools that are openly available for research, for science communication and transfer. The blog portal Hypotheses.org and Wikisource.org are well suited to make sources visible and accessible, to open them up, for communities and their sense of community around them – crowdoriented citizen science for small digital editions.

Note: This is the English translation (automatically with DeepL). The German original written by Jens Bemme (SLUB Dresden) can be found here.

Angela Göbel (Université de Lyon and Philipps-Universität Marburg) researches the “City of Versailles in the Ancien Régime & its Exemplary Function for eur. Residenzstädte (1661-1789)” and recently asked her audience on Twitter 

Kennt ihr Quelleneditionen, die in Blogform auf @dehypotheses  (o. Ä.) veröffentlicht wurden? Ich denke da an so Formate wie z. B. das Editionsprojekt von Maureen Cassidy-Geiger zur Italienreise des Comte de Lusace auf WordPress: https://comtedelusace.wordpress.com/.

Angela (@angela_94) 26. Juni 2022

Hypotheses.org, the blog portal for humanities and social sciences or the source collection de.wikisource.org are fundamentally suitable for these purposes: 

  • Establish visibility: (Re)publish texts,
  • provide open access, 
  • Discuss details, 
  • Annotate and index (also) with structured machine-readable metadata,
  • Link, share and reuse knowledge in an openly licensed way,
  • Possibly search engine optimization through new open link connections. 
Editing_1, in: Kücklich, Julian. (2021). Icon-Paket zum Themenfeld Offenheit in Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur: Open Access, Open Research, Wissenschaftskommunikation, wissenschaftliches Publizieren – Teil 2. Zenodo. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5608845 via Wikimedia Commons, CC0

Blogging with small editions

There are further examples: The weblog of the Fahrrad|Geschichte network, in addition to contemporary reviews and project reports, is increasingly becoming a digital source collection of historical newspaper reports on cycling, enriched by links to further information and sources, links to norm data (e.g., GND or Wikidata), and links to thematically related publications.

Such documents come from private collections or from the digitization projects of libraries, archives and museums. There, bibliographic indexing does not always go down to the article level. While technologies for automated text recognition (OCR) are improving all the time, humanly we can add value by typing up small works ourselves quickly – or slowly, bit by bit – and correcting any errors in the digital full text so that texts and their illustrations, if any, become easily usable in context. Open and indexed with metadata, they also become indexable and machine-readable, whether for search engines or Linked Open Data (LOD) applications.

Basically, we build digital quotations of historical texts in this way – that is, quotations of often analogous paper-bound past and its descriptions. Quotations of future, i.e. still unwritten, texts are comparatively rare anyway, but they are not technically impossible: thus prospectively ‘linked open’. This would also be ‘linked open storytelling‘, if one wants to publish in this way.

With the weblog of the regional studies portal Saxorum.de, we have published such small editions as an example of a regional studies method. The federal newspapers of the Saxon Cyclists’ Federation are full of Saxonica, containing news and longer reports from German and international sports, mobility and club history between 1892 and 1933. Issues of ‘Draisena‘ (1899) and ‘Radlerin und Radler‘ (1899-1903) have also been digitized. But how can we make these digital holdings accessible? ‘Anecdotal indexing’ in blogposts is one possible way, e.g. starting with particularly attention-grabbing details and key information about places, people, events, organizations, or pithy illustrations. This may be motivated more by personal curiosity and the goal of arousing interest or highlighting individual texts. Transcripts of entire works and larger textual contexts, and their publication in comprehensive, comprehensive, and systematic editions would be another way. With blogs and with Wikisource, both are possible in principle. And for long-term archiving of content, the ‘Wayback Machine‘ helps, in short. Descriptive metadata in union catalogs and ‘linked open’ in Wikidata represent and secure bibliographic traces e.g. by redundant storage.

Publish and index historical headings

If we use historical article headings today in the title of a blog post that contains a transcript, then these headings digitally find a way into library catalogs. They become visible and searchable as individual articles in the first place, since all Hypotheses blogs are automatically indexed in the catalog www.openedition.org and in the search engine www.base-search.netincluding our example. In addition, we record Saxonica for Saxony with the Saxon Bibliography. When we learn about them, we also capture other Hypotheses blogposts. This additionally increases the visibility of individual source texts in library systems. Own open metadata in Wikidata for such transcripts can strengthen the effect, visualizations and data analyses become additionally possible.

Kartenlegende, in: Winke zur Orientierung über die Mittelbach’schen Strassenprofikarten für Rad- und Motorfahrer, Sächsische Radfahrer-Zeitung, 19. Juli 1902, via Wikimedia Commons. Siehe: Netzwerk Fahrrad/Geschichte

The appeal and utility also lies in the new link contexts of open science: e.g., texts in Hypotheses with embedded illustrations of the cropped images from scanned newspaper pages, which are then openly published in the Wikimedia Commons – embedded and linked so that they can be added as structured statements of the bibliographic metadata object of the transcript when cataloging in Wikidata, here: #P18.

Transliteration and edition with Wikisource

The Wikisource source collection offers other advantages as well:

  • the four-eye or six-eye principle for text corrections as a quality product for science,
  • Digital community- and crowd-oriented work environments,
  • multiple LOD links between the portals Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wikiversity for the combination and use of the respective portal functions (transliteration, indexing by means of structured data, media repository, OER).

Large and small Wikisource projects offer communication occasions to blog something again. In the process, search engine-relevant link connections are created – in terms of content between Wikisource and Hypotheses on the one hand. On the other hand, on the bibliographic meta-level, when the metadata of a blog post refers to the metadata of the Wikisource project that is to be presented, reviewed or criticized in the blog. 

Moreover: This metadata in Wikidata can in turn be easily linked as queries in blogposts and their menu items or directly embedded as visualizations, e.g. Germany’s strange trees – a series of the ‘Gartenlaube’ – and from it ‘Saxony’s arboreal oddities‘ in Hypotheses or image and keyword galleries for Saxorum. Thematic article and link collections for full texts in Wikisource and to works in Digital Collections can gradually grow collaboratively, here are a few examples:

In principle, this also works in weblogs, if blog posts and their comments are used as living documents and linked, or with serially created transcripts in blog post series with transliterations and their publication including (open) metadata. In blogs, clarity and usability quickly suffer in the process, cf. 66 tour book comments in SLUBlog since 2014.

Wikisource has long been unmanageable to the naked eye, as have Wikidata and Wikipedia. And they continue to grow. Does the ‘Merkblatt für Ortsmuseen im Königreiche Sachsen‘ help here as an impulse? Maybe as an example for a small edition including ‘Wisskomm’ with link connections, but here without hypotheses blogpost. Wikidata item (Q60675580#P1343) was used to index this 1914 document. Wikidata statement (P1343) links to SLUBlog post ‘A ‘fact sheet’ for your own summer research: questions are everywhere(Q659663989), which described the small project in summer 2018. In 2022 we cited this story – in (Q97668365#P2860) also in the metadata.

Benefits for Digital Humanities

Do such blogposts with digital editions possibly have a much greater relevance and significance for internal and external scholarly communication than for research in Digital Humanities projects in the narrower sense? Simply to arouse curiosity in, with and for colleagues and to generate public hypertext visibility! 

May be. But, that would not be nothing. Would it?

The wikidata item for this text is (Q113088573).

This article is licensed under the following license: CC-BY 4.0. When reusing, please include the attribute rel=”canonical” in the link to the original post!

How to cite this Article: Bemme, Jens (2022): “Small Editions for Digital Humanities”. In: Schumacher, Mareike and Seltmann, Melanie (eds.): Public Humanities. https://publicdh.hypotheses.org/491.


OpenEdition schlägt Ihnen vor, diesen Beitrag wie folgt zu zitieren:
Jens Bemme (15. Juli 2022). Small Editions for Digital Humanities. Public Humanities. Abgerufen am 13. Juli 2024 von https://doi.org/10.58079/t26o


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