eHumanities-Center for Historical Lexikography

Dictionaries – in their traditional form and increasingly also as digital systems – are essential forms of representation and documentation in the research of historical word usage and the lexicon and have a far-reaching impact beyond the history of language on social and cultural history, the history of technology and intellectual history. The joint project ZHistLex, promoted by the BMBF, aimed at creating a modern eHumanities-Centre for historical lexicography that will be extending across locations. The centre wanted to develop and document generic methods for the integration, presentation and the usage of digital dictionary and corpus data. These methods were applied in the construction of a lexicographic research portal in order to demonstrate new possibilities of digital research and the study of historical lexicography and its findings, e.g. in the area of word and lexical history and to encourage further research.

Initially, the focus was on the development and the maintenance of structures and formats serving as a basis on which different individual resources of word and lexical history can be used in a coherent way, i.e. in particular linking digital dictionaries to one another and, if available, to underlying sources and corpus texts and their bibliographic descriptions. On the basis of established standards and by taking into account documentation systems (e.g. concept registries) of current projects of infrastructure (CLARIN-D, DARIAH) web services were implemented that allow users specific automatic access to distributed and heterogeneous resources and their components. The possibilities of this infrastructure shall be demonstrated on the basis of selected amounts of data of historical lexicography (i.e the German Dictionary by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and different dictionaries of Middle High German) and with regard to selected research questions.

ZHistLex was meant as an interface for gathering the bodies of knowledge that have grown in single disciplines in a contemporary and systematic manner and providing them for current and future research. Thus, the centre is also integrative which allows it to intensify and continue academic cooperation and exchange of researchers at academies, universities and research institutes such as the Institut für Deutsche Sprache on a permanent basis.

Please see the final report for more information.