Göttingen Dialog in Digital Humanities - Friedrich Kittler’s digital legacy: challenges, findings and approaches in dealing with complex data collections

, 5:00 pm to

Speakers: Jürgen Enge, Susanne Holl, HAWK Hildesheim/Germany

Three years after his death Friedrich Kittler’s impact on the Humanities and Media Studies remains a topic of interest to scholars worldwide. The intellectual challenges presented by his theoretical work, however, are now complemented by the practical and archival difficulties of dealing with his personal digital legacy. How are we to preserve, survey and index the complex data collection Kittler bequeathed to the German Literature Archive in Marbach in the shape of old computers and hard drives? How are the Digital Humanities to handle the archive of one of its most important forefathers?
To address these questions, the presentation will first focus on the estate itself and then describe the design and development of the "Indexer", a tool for the initial indexing of technical information. Two especially problematic aspects are the sheer mass of files (more than 1.5 million) and Kittler's idiosyncratic organization, both of which serve to make conventional content evaluation very difficult. Here, the "Indexer" has proven to be a powerful tool. Finally, a case study using the indexer's web interface will enable us to tackle the question: When and to what purpose did Friedrich Kittler acquire a computer?

Place: Academy of Sciences, Theaterstr. 7, Conference room