Databases and IT Development

Dr. Martin Raspe

Studying the Humanities today is almost inconceivable without access to a computer. In all areas of art historical research data is being collected, logged, structured and processed for use by researchers. Art history presents the additional challenge of processing images with different forms of content and formal categories.

A pioneering project in this area is the Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture, which was operated from the Bibliotheca Hertziana from 1981 to 1995. Since 1995 the photographic collection has been cataloguing and indexing its holdings with the HIDA-MIDAS system developed by Foto Marburg. The data can be searched online through the union catalogue (DISKUS-Verbund).

In 2004 the Bibliotheca Hertziana set up its own academic IT department. Its primary task is the design and development of a research database (ZUCCARO) that brings together data from different areas of research (the Lineamenta and ArsRoma projects) and data on the topography of Roman art and allows researchers to submit complex questions. In addition to this huge project, the department designs and delivers a number of smaller research databases and online resources.

Academic IT development delivers new concepts and practical solutions for data processing in the humanities and develops programs and tools. The future goal is to network the largely autonomous infrastructures of the library, the photographic collection and the research projects into a single, coherent and sustainably useful information system that will not only provide better access to the institute’s data repositories, but also link them to resources and infrastructures on the Web, thereby opening new paths that would have taken enormous time and effort to clear without computer assistance.

Responsible: Dr. Martin Raspe, Academic IT Manager

Supported by: Dr. Georg Schelbert (since 1 November 2011 Humboldt University, Berlin), Dr. Michael Eichberg (system administration), Sabine Winter (data processing in the library), Christoph Glorius MA (data processing in the photographic collection), trainees.