Cultural and Scientific Heritage of Styria

About the Project

"Repository of Styrian Cultural Heritage" Project

The project "Repository of Styrian Cultural Heritage" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and facilitates the digital processing, protection, publication and accessibility of Styrian cultural and scientific heritage. The partner institutions hold a considerable number of manuscripts, photographs, constructional drawings, bequests and historical records of varying nature. The digital repository will make rare or unique cultural and scientific heritage of Styria available for teachers, researchers, students and the scientific community. The hidden treasures of the area will be brought to light and used as the starting point for new scientific research and cultural activities.


"Cultural and Scientific Heritage of Styria" Web Portal

In addition to the continuation of digitization and development of digital curation practices at the partner institutions, the project "Repository of Styrian Cultural Heritage" aims to create a common web portal. Here you will be able to access and search through the holdings of all partner institutions. The web portal extends access by providing various search options, descriptions of collections and objects, as well as virtual tours on specific topics. The portal also allows to playfully get to know parts of Styrian cultural and scientific heritage. The Centre for Information Modelling - Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities is responsible for the realization of this web portal, contributing its longstanding expertise in long-term archiving and administration of scientific and cultural heritage repositories. The web portal ist part of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutschsprachiger Portale zu Regionalgeschichte und Landeskunde" (http://www.ag-regionalportale.de/).

Centre for Information Modelling - Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities

The centre's focus is on applied research in the area of information and data processing in the humanities, with special emphasis on the theory of data-modelling, and the practical implementation of this research topic in teaching and projects.

The Centre for Information Modelling acts as a cooperation partner in research projects, a) developing and maintaining modern IT structures based on results of applied research, b) advising partners on IT-related planning, development and implementation of methodological tasks, c) autonomously examining central questions of knowledge modelling and transfer.

More information on research, teaching and projects of the centre available at http://informationsmodellierung.uni-graz.at/en.


GAMS

GAMS (short for Geisteswissenschaftliches Asset Management System, Humanities' Asset Management System) is an OAIS-compliant asset management system for the storage and administration of digital resources produced in a scientific context. It supports the electronic dissemination of research data and related metadata from humanities disciplines. The purpose of the GAMS project is to ensure long-term availability and flexible (re-)use of digital content. This is achieved through an XML-based content strategy, the employment of standardized (meta) data formats and the functionalities of the software. We particularly focus on topics such as persistent identification, open access and long-term preservation.

Based on the open source software project FEDORA, the infrastructure is continuously being developed at the Centre for Information Modelling. GAMS has been a certified trusted digital repository in accordance with the guidelines of the Data Seal of Approval since 2014 and forms the basis of the current web portal.

More information on the technical background, the documentation and published projects can be found at http://gams.uni-graz.at.


Challenges

The challenge of the present project lies in the often very heterogeneous annotation of (meta-)data in different collections and institutions. Previously annotated collections should be included and the use of controlled vocabularies and standardized metadata formats should enrich the resources (”metadata management”). Homogenization is required for the common search interface and the representation of the resources on the web platform. The technical challenge is to cope with very different software and storage systems, where interfaces have to be defined to guarantee interoperability.

Guidelines for the annotation and quality control of data are all the more important in this project, since a variety of different types of sources from different institutions and disciplines are linked. Controlled vocabularies, thesauri und authority files support the interconnection of different information resources. Persons and places for instance can still be distinguished if they have the same name, while historical variants or alternative terms can be merged. In the project the free database GeoNames is used for geographical markup and the ”Gemeinsame Normdatei” (GND) of the German National Library is used for persons and organisations. Material and object classification is based on a newly developed thesaurus in alignment with the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) of the Getty Research Institute. These basic data are mapped to the Europeana Data Model (EDM), a data model specifically designed for the harvesting of cultural heritage resources.

In addition to this highly structured search interface, there was the need to offer the possibility of a virtual tour through the collections. To this end the free tool StoryMapJS was used. In cooperation with the partners a concept for presentation was developed and then implemented.

Contact: Elisabeth Steiner
elisabeth.steiner@uni-graz.at