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Corpora Ethnographica Online
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9/26/2012 to 9/28/2012
When: 9/26/2012
Where: University of Rostock
Contact: Dr. Stefanie Janssen

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corpora ethnographica online

Strategies to Digitize Ethnographical Collections
and their Presentation on the Internet

By now projects of digitization rank among everyday business in cultural sciences, but so far there are no substantial experiences in digitizing large collections and their efficient utilization on the internet. Special problems arise with digitization of handwritten ethnographical collections based on the results of vast field research activities. These huge amounts of documents are barely manageable and often in danger of decay. They need to be long-term preserved, digitized, and sustainably made accessible online by intelligent and efficient content management and retrieval techniques.

The theme of the international symposium, which will be held at the University of Rostock between September 26 and 28, 2012, includes strategies for digitization and presentation of cultural − especially ethnographical − collections and their online presentation. In the context of the project "WossiDiA”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the symposium's hosts are currently preparing the archive of Richard Wossidlo (1859-1939) for it’s complete online presentation. The Wossidlo archive consists of historical documents about folk culture and the dialect of Mecklenburg, including more than two million handwritten notes which are highly interconnected with each other in a complex filing system. The symposium is meant to offer a forum for discussion and exchange of experiences with other projects facing similar challenges. It attempts to bring together archives, libraries, and museums with the computer science and the disciplines of cultural sciences, such as Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology, Volkskunde/ European Ethnology, Linguistics/ Dialectology, and Regional History. Moreover the symposium is intended to promote digitization efforts for cultural collections and their online publication.

The symposium focuses on the following topics:


  • Analog and digital long-term preservation as well as sustainability of digital archives: problems, solutions, guidelines and standards
  • Planning of digitization projects and development of digital archives
  • Interface between cultural sciences on the one hand and software and data engineering on the other hand for digitization projects
  • Digitization: in-house versus external contractor
  • Integration of diverse kinds of documents and objects (manuscripts and letters, prints, photographs, objects, maps, etc.)
  • Challenges in and solutions for design and implementation of digitization workflows

  • Use of existing digital archive and library systems vs. domain specific implementations
  • Interconnectivity between and within digitized collections of archives, libraries, and museums
  • Integration of distributed archive systems and web portals, as well as perspectives for Europeana, the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, and similar initiatives in other countries
  • Metadata and structural data: standards, modification techniques, highly interconnected metadata, classification, thesauri, indexing, and the use of ontologies incl. their dynamics

  • Techniques for retrieval, evaluation and presentation of online collections
  • Visualization strategies and interaction paradigms for working with online archives
  • Usage scenarios for digital archives; using of roles (annotator, editor, contemporary
witness, contributor, etc.)
  • A critical analysis of the behavior of users in online and offline archives
  • Rights of use for contents of digital archives: Open Access vs. Digital Rights Management
  • Digital Collaboration: Use of Web 2.0 technologies to enhance metadata

Interested parties are invited to submit their proposals for presentation. Please send an abstract of no more than one page in length in English or German no later than March 15, 2012 to:

Furthermore you will have the opportunity to present your project in a poster session.
Notification of acceptance for submitted proposals will be sent by April 10, 2012.
The contributions for the symposium will be published promptly.

Symposium‘s website:

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