Since 1 January 2020, the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society (TMWWDG) has been funding the research project "Collaborative Open Research-Environment (CORE-H): A Digital Research Environment for the Humanities. Requirement analysis and first prototypical implementation using the example of research into southwest and central German humanism" as part of the state programme "ProDigital 2020 - 2024".
Since 1 January 2020, the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society has been funding the research project "Collaborative Open Research-Environment (CORE-H): A Digital Research Environment for the Humanities. Requirement analysis and first prototypical implementation using the example of research into southwest and central German humanism" as part of the state programme "ProDigital 2020 - 2024".
The project aims to be a first step towards realizing the vision of a digital and collaborative research environment for the humanities. To this end, basic requirements for a research environment for historical research topics will be specified as well as important individual functionalities that will be part of a first implemented prototype.
The digital research environment should help to reorganize the historical research process as a computer-supported workflow. It shall present itself to its users as a "digital assistant", somehow like its analog precursor, the "Luhmann's Zettelkasten". This digital assistant must meet the following requirements:
1. Collaboration: it is easy to work in a team.
2. Openness: relevant historical knowledge can be represented flexibly.
3. Reusability: the represented knowledge can easily be reused for new research questions.
4. Adaptability: algorithmic functionality for specific research tasks can be integrated, such as import and export filters or analysis procedures. Import filters allow the semi-automatic integration of other repositories; export filters make the represented knowledge available for external use.
5. Transparency: the origin of each fact is traceable. This implies the logging of changes and the generation of explanations for derived facts. Improvements in the traceability of published knowledge also lead to an improvement in the research process.
6) Consistency: the system can cope with contradictory information and point the user to automatically identified inconsistencies. Comment functions and a version management system make it easier for users to store the knowledge step by step.
7) Ergonomics: the system offers powerful ways to navigate through the represented knowledge, to determine facts relevant for a research question, and to prepare these facts in a structured manner for further scientific processing.
We have chosen the study of learned elites of the late Middle Ages as a best-practice model for our research environment. This study will be based on the Repertorium Germanicum, the Germania Sacra, and the Regesta Imperii, from which we want to generate prosopographical knowledge about the scholars and clerics of the late Middle Ages. These repertories belong to the most extensive data collections for medieval sources in Germany. Each of them is available in a digitalized form and can, therefore, be analyzed with semi-automatic evaluation methods such as text mining. Together they contain thousands of registers and information from late medieval Vatican registers, imperial charters, and historiographical sources, thus providing a huge amount of prosopographical data.