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wisspub.net is a German-language community blog on online scientific communication. Its first entry was created in March 2009. It gives an overview of what the blog’s goals are. The main focus is on digital scientific publishing, which is also reflected by the fact that the four authors[1] from different research institutes in Germany are either advisors on digital publishing, or scientists who digitally publish themselves. Furthermore, their interests include information and knowledge management, digital review processes, and open access. The topics covered include information about current events in the domain, as well as comments and opinions on them. The range of subjects is quite broad: science blogging, wikis, e-journals, open access repositories, open data, legal questions, and the publishing industry (adaptation to digital natives, future of newspapers, etc).

There is a post on digital humanities in Germany, which is of particular interest for our DH class. As a side note, it is interesting that the auther chose to use the German translation “digitale Geisteswissenschaften”, whereas the German wikipedia article uses the Anglicism “Digital Humanities” as its main title. It can be observed in many other neologisms in the German language that ultimately the Anglicism is adopted, simply because it was there first (examples include “E-Mail”, “Software”, “E-Reader”, “Webbrowser”).
Compared to North America, the recognition of DH as its own discipline has happened relatively late in Germany, and in Europe in general. For a long time, efforts were only undertaken in very specific domains, e.g. computer linguistics, whereas mainstream humanities have largely been ignored. However, more recently, some notable projects have been started in Europe as well:

The grand vision for DARIAH is to facilitate long-term access to […] all European Arts and Humanities […] research data. The DARIAH infrastructure will be a connected network of people, information, tools, and methodologies for investigating, exploring and supporting work across the broad spectrum of the digital humanities.

  • TextGrid
    This is a German project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Its goal is to create a virtual research platform for philologists, linguists, musicologists, and art historians.
    TextGridLab gives access to scientific tools, services, and contents.
    TextGridRep, a scientific long-term archive, embedded in a grid infrastructure, guarantees the long-term availability and accessibility of humanities research data.

It is worth noting that these two projects are very technical in nature, all they do is providing some infrastructure to make digital information available. On the other hand, they have little concern for research on new tools, methods, or services that might be useful in the humanities field; they are mostly an implementation of previously existing ideas.

Looking at some more recent blog posts, it becomes apparent that since 2009, activity in the German DH community has rapidly increased. There are many German-language conferences or other events happening, particularly in the field of Open access (OA).
There is for instance a post about WissKom2012, which will take place November 5 to 7 in Jülich. The topic of the conference is stated as “Linked knowledge – data, humans, systems” and the schedule includes talks about digital libraries, acquiring and using medical data, oblivion on the internet, and linking OA-contents semantically.


  1. wisspub.net authors: Heinz Pampel (GFZ), Cornelius Puschmann (HHU), Robert Forkel (MPDL), Ulrich Herb (SULB)