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Key research area "Digital Humanities"

In the key research area Digital Humanities, Paderborn's Computer Science and Humanities are breaking new ground together. Research in the field of humanities raises new challenges for computer science, e.g. in the research of non-standard data. Conversely, the digital processing and analysis of research objects leads cultural studies to a significant expansion and reflection of its canon of methods. A particular focus of cooperation is on the interdisciplinary development of technology and methods as well as on the development of data and coding standards for the cultural sciences - the latter in discourse with the relevant international standardisation initiatives and the corresponding committees, institutions and alliances.

How humanities and computer science can successfully conduct research in constant mutual exchange can be seen, for example, in the Zentrum Musik – Edition – Medien (ZenMEM), where edition approaches in musicology and media studies are further developed through new data formats, visualisation procedures and analysis methods. Moreover, in Paderborn, methods of machine learning expand the spectrum of data-driven possibilities for gaining new insights in the field of Digital Humanities. The variety of textual and hybrid data covered in Paderborn's cultural sciences (including graphic novels and graffiti) in combination with the broad spectrum of computer science research contributes to the development of a specific Digital Humanities research profile at Paderborn.

Research contact: Prof. Dr. Michaela Geierhos and
Prof. Dr. Axel-Cyrille Ngonga Ngomo

Research areas involved: humanities and computer science 

Interdisciplinary Research Institutions

ZenMEM – Competence Center "Music – Edition – Media"

The goal of this collaborative project between Paderborn University, Detmold University of Music and the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe has been to establish a competence centre at the interface between computer science and the humanities.
Representatives of media sciences (media pedagogy and media economics), musicology and various fields of computer science (contextual computer science, human-computer interaction, music and film computer science and software technology) will pool their experience, concepts and methods in this centre.

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Competence Center for Cultural Heritage

The Competence Centre sees itself both as a service provider in the field of teaching and as a coordinating institution for research projects in the field of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Since October 2006, the Paderborner Bildarchiv (Paderborn Picture Archive) has been established and developed under the direction of the UNESCO Competence Centre for Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage, and various research projects on cultural heritage have been supported.

In 2013, the Competence Centre was renamed Competence Centre Cultural Heritage: tangible – intangible – digital in order to meet the current research priorities. The research projects united by the Competence Centre are dedicated to both tangible and intangible cultural heritage as well as the field of Digital Humanities.

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Musicology Seminar Detmold/Paderborn

The Musicology Seminar Detmold/Paderborn is a joint institution of the Detmold University of Music and the Paderborn University. It offers studies in musicology (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate) as well as courses for the University of Music. The close connection with to music practise at the University of Music constantly gives new impulses for scientific research, which focuses especially on historical musicology. The Musicology Seminar Detmold/Paderborn is also home to the Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe (WeGA), the Centre for Music – Edition – Media (ZenMEM) and the only university chair for musicological gender research in Germany.

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Research Projects

Beethoven’s Workshop: Genetic Text Critique & Digital Music Edition

The research project Beethoven's Workshop, funded since 2014 by the german Academy of Sciences and Literature, is dedicated to Beethoven's compositional working processes. This project in the field of music philology is based on two closely related research areas: Parallel to the genetic text critique methods which are being developed, digital techniques and forms for an adequate presentation of research results will be developed. The methods and possibilities for visualization will also be transferable to other composers. For the research work, the coding format MEI (Music Encoding Initiative) will be used and expanded.

The music-related genetic text critique that is being developed takes up both working methods of musical sketch research and methods of the French, literary-oriented Critique génétique. This project investigates the compositional thinking and working processes, and tries to reconstruct the creation of a composition by using available workshop documents.

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Early-Career Research Group Hybrid Narrativity

Combining methods drawn from the cognitive sciences and digital humanities with narratology and literary history, the research group aims at a richer and empirically robust understanding of graphic literature and, in particular, the genre of the graphic novel. The group brings together scholars from psychology, computer science, as well as literary and cultural studies to contribute to the establishment of empirical methods in the humanities.

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Centre for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists

The centre, which is funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science, is dedicated to research on the history of women in science and philosophy. The knowledge acquired here is intended to have an even stronger impact on future teacher training. They are important multipliers who make it clear that there are not only great male philosophers and their doctrines. The knowledge gained will be compiled in a digital encyclopedia. In addition to research on the history of women scientists, the Centre is also dedicated to research on the writings of these women from the 18th century as well as on early phenomenologists. Together with partners in Australia, Israel, Canada, the USA, and the European network with countries such as Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Turkey and Hungary, the aim is to strengthen the network of researchers in this field.

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DEMel – Dictionary of Medieval Spanish

Aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive, scientifically sound and semantically structured data archive on medieval Spanish under the name Diccionario del Español Medieval electrónico (DEMel) to the international public easily and quickly on the Internet  and thus to publish the results of a 25-year research project.

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Detmold Court Theatre (1825-1875)

The DFG project, which has been running since September 2014, is for the first time dealing in detail with the rich sources preserved from the heyday of the Detmold Court Theatre and is developing an XML-based model for the deep exploration of comparable stocks.

The source descriptions are based on the RISM data records available since the 1980s, which thanks to RISM's Linked Open Data Initiative can be converted into the data format of the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) and subsequently enriched, e.g. by incipits of the music numbers, collection of personal data, as well as strokes and inlays contained in the materials.

All documents are recorded in MEI or TEI either completely or as regests, so that the interaction of both standards can be intensively tested and, above all, MEI can be further developed with regard to its applicability in music library applications. Facsimiles are also integrated exemplarily with the help of the Edirom tools. The project conceives a model that can be used in the long term for similar projects.

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DMW – Atlas of Dialects of Middle Western Germany

The Dialektatlas Mittleres Westdeutschland (DMW) is a 17-year project in which the systematic collection, evaluation and interpretation of dialects, and the most distant speech styles of two generations of speakers in central West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate) is carried out on a phonetic-phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical level.
The DMW atlas is digital: dialectal language is collected, processed and stored in a complex structured database. It is dynamic, since dialectal information is presented to the users via web browser in form of maps, which are generated on request by means of a database query. It also speaks, since the digital recordings of dialect speech can be called up by a simple mouse click on the map.

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INGRID – Graffiti Information System

Graffiti is an urban phenomenon that is increasingly attracting the interest of researchers. Until now, there has been a lack of suitable data corpora for systematic research. The Graffiti Information System (INGRID) closes this gap: stocks of graffiti images, which were provided exclusively for scientific use within the project, are compiled in a database and made accessible to scientific researchers. At the same time, scientific standards for the digital recording and systematisation of graffiti will be developed.

INGRID currently contains more than 150,000 images from the period 1983 to 2015, which will be digitized and indexed in the coming years. For the first time, INGRID will allow researchers to examine developments and changes in graffiti over a longer period of time on the basis of comprehensive, reliable and high-quality research data, and to investigate the aesthetics of graffiti images, their specific textual (pictorial) nature, their grammaticality, their urban location as well as their social functions and meanings.

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InterGramm – Interactive Grammar Analysis of Historical Texts

This empirical research project investigates the language elaboration of Middle Low German from the 13th century to the written language shift in the 16th/17th century. At this time, Middle Low German lost its dominant position as a supraregional written language to Early New High German.
An interactive procedure is being developed that combines machine learning and expert feedback to solve one of the most central problems of existing annotation tools for historical texts. Existing parsing and tagging systems require static grammars and grammatical categories but these are of no use due to the historical dynamics of grammar. It is intended to discover an evolving, dynamic grammar by using rule-based text analysis techniques and machine learning methods. This enables the researchers to reconstruct the language elaboration in an evidence-based way, which is a novelty. This requires knowledge about historical language and grammar as well as knowledge about computational linguistics and computer science. Therefore, this project is an interdisciplinary one that requires a close cooperation over the whole funding period.

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The University for the Information Society