International Workshop: Information Modification and Loss

Co-organized by Professor Dr. Claudine Moulin

Das Leben der Schwedischen Gräfinn von G.***


06.07.2023 bis 08.07.2023


LEUCOREA Foundation
Collegienstraße 62
06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg




The workshop aims to address the question of the reasons behind information loss and manipulation through an interdisciplinary approach. Some information may have been intentionally "lost" or altered due to censorship, destruction, content or moral concerns. Additionally, temporal loss occurs due to errors in transmission and dissemination, as well as impairment caused by material decay or disasters such as fires, and so on.

For information and our understanding of the Middle Ages, we rely on tangible, concrete, and abstract evidence, with written sources being particularly significant for the humanities. However, important sources and therefore information are sometimes not fully preserved during the long journey from the Middle Ages to the present. Particularly, carriers of transmission that contain writing have often suffered from careless treatment, leading to various types of losses. It is one of the tasks of science to reconstruct such lost information—an often seemingly insurmountable challenge. This also includes the question of the authenticity or reliability of the preserved information. The possibilities of writing and reproduction, especially since the 16th century, have allowed for practically limitless manipulation of historical sources.

The following questions arise, among others:

Why were certain texts deemed worth preserving while others were not? What possibilities exist to restore lost knowledge or fill gaps, and to what extent can lost information be reconstructed? Does an increase in transmission also mean an increase in information? To what extent can preservation and presentation of what is (still) available play a role? Can the new possibilities of digitization slow down or prevent further information loss? What role did archives and libraries play in the past and continue to play today? How important is the question of an "original"?

The workshop, whose idea thematically also originated in cooperation with the TriKo, aims to address a wide range of disciplines, from textual criticism and literary and language sciences to archaeology and art history. By doing so, it seeks to highlight not only the discipline-specific requirements regarding the problem of information loss but also the possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration.


Dr. Jessica Ammer
History of the German Language and Linguistic Variation
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn

Prof. Dr. Claudine Moulin
Older German Philology - Historical Linguistics of German
University Trier

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Joachim Solms
University professor. ret.
History of the German Language and Older German Literature
Martin-Luther-University Halle/Wittenberg