University of Göttingen Launches the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities

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Press Release, Nr. 146/2011

University of Göttingen Launches the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities
Formal Ceremony in the Paulinerkirche, 12 July, 2011

“Digital Humanities” – this term encompasses both the systematic creation of digital collections and the development of computer-aided methods for their analysis and utilisation in Humanities research and teaching in the digital age. With the formal inauguration of the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH), the University of Göttingen will further expand the emphasis it places on this dynamically growing domain. Also central to this event will be the announcement of TextGrid, a networked research environment for the Humanities and social sciences (TextGrid 1.0). In addition, the festivities will kick-off the national collaborative project DARIAH-DE (Digital Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities).

The formal launch of the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities will take place on Tuesday, 12 July, 2011, at 12pm in the Paulinerkirche, in the historical building of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB). Opening addresses will be given by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel, President of the University of Göttingen, Dr. Wilhelm Krull, Chairman of the Foundation Council of the Foundation University, Rüdiger Eichel, from the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Prof. Dr. Herbert Jäckle, Vice President of the Max Planck Society, and Prof. Dr. Norbert Lossau, Director of the SUB. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Haim Gertner from the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and partner in the joint EU project European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI).

The Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities has as its goal the coordination and constant development of research and teaching in the Digital Humanities, both in Göttingen and internationally, as well as the cultivation of the corresponding infrastructures. Along with the SUB, the following are members of the Centre: the Social Sciences, the Faculties of Business, Law, Theology, and Philosophy, with the latter holding the leadership position. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Lauer, member of the GCDH Board of Directors and Professor in the Seminar for German Philology, stresses, “It is especially important for us to integrate the various disciplines, allowing them to take an interdisciplinary approach to research questions.”

The ceremony will also include the introduction by the German national research association TextGrid of their virtual research environment: beginning in 2006, TextGrid has developed, under the coordination of the SUB, an internet-based platform to give scholars in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences access to software and services for the analysis of textual data from various digital archives – irrespective of data format, location, or installed software. TextGrid will present version 1.0 of this virtual research environment, which will give scholars their first access to these tools and data, allowing them to apply these to their work with textual data. Prof. Lossau explains, “TextGrid offers scholars an infrastructure, which allows them to work together on geographically scattered data. In the future, the DARIAH-DE project will expand this to the European level, thus strengthening interdisciplinary and international research and cooperation.” This enterprise, coordinated by the SUB, serves as a national sub-project in the Europe-wide DARIAH-EU project.

University President Prof. Beisiegel stresses, “The University is involved in many international Digital Humanities projects. Digital research infrastructures are for us an integral part of research and teaching in the Göttingen Research Campus. Our new centre will bring these research initiatives together and thus advance interdisciplinary research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Along with talks and presentations, the programme for Tuesday, 12 July, will also include a discussion of the opportunities presented by, and difficulties inherent in, the digital humanities. On Wednesday, 13 July, participants will be able to attend a variety of workshops and training courses.

Further information can be found on the web at www.textgrid.de/festakt