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“The Digital Humanities Meet Public History”

How can commemoration initiatives and local remembrance groups profit from digital tools? On June 26, 2018, the International Tracing Service (ITS) is hosting a theme night on the opportunities and possibilities offered by the new media for addressing young people in a language they understand. The speakers will be Manuel Burghardt (Leipzig University), Nina Hentschel (Berlin) and Stefan Bartsch (Berlin).

Apps, websites, Facebook, Twitter & co. are influencing everyday life to an ever-increasing degree. The work of commemoration initiatives and local remembrance organizations can also profit from digital methods. With the aid of new communication forms, findings on (local) historical events can reach new target groups. In his lecture “Digital Humanities Meet Public History – Chancen und Möglichkeiten digitaler Erinnerungsprojekte” (“The Opportunities and Possibilities of Digital Remembrance Projects”), Manuel Burghardt will show that the digital presentation of research results doesn’t have to be either complicated or expensive. On invitation from the ITS, he will introduce methods and programs for actively treading new digital paths without a lot of extra effort.

In 2017, the ITS itself ventured a digital experiment and, for the first time, participated in a culture hackathon. At these events, archives, museums and other cultural institutions make data available for use by programmers, web designers and augmented reality experts in creating new, innovative projects. Two projects worked with the data provided by the ITS – the card index of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden (“Reich Association of Jews”) in which all German Jews were registered at the command of the Gestapo. The digital experts took the cards—numbering some 32,000—, complete with metadata, as a basis for creating an app for exploring Berlin in the footsteps of Jewish school children as well as a comprehensive database on Jewish life in that city. The former, a guided walking tour of the city that functions like a WhatsApp chat, won the “Out of Competition” jury prize for especially valuable cultural achievements. Nina Hentschel (from the “Marbles of Remembrance” team) and Stefan Bartsch (from the “Visualisierung jüdischen Lebens” team) will round out the evening with presentations on the two projects.

At a glance

Theme Night: “The Digital Humanities Meet Public History”
When: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 6:30 pm
Where: ITS cafeteria, Grosse Allee 5–9, 34454 Bad Arolsen
Free of charge, no reservations necessary


The speakers:

Manuel Burghardt is a junior professor of computational humanities at Leipzig University. He previously served as the head of the digital humanities taskforce in the media informatics faculty at the University of Regensburg. His field is the application of digital tools and computer-based methods in the area of the humanities and cultural studies. His research focusses include the computer-aided analysis of literature, film and music and the employment of digital tools in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) sector. 

Stefan Bartsch is a programmer with a strong penchant for the history of his native Berlin. The project he carried out within the framework of the 2017 Coding da Vinci Hackathon offered him the opportunity to work with open datasets (such as the 1931 Jewish directory of Greater Berlin, the minority census of 1939 and the card index of the Reich Association of Jews) to develop a website that shows where Jews lived in Berlin and what happened to them during the Nazi era. 

Nina Hentschel studied architecture and world cultural heritage management. A non-programmer, she immersed herself in the digital interpretation of cultural heritage by taking part in the 2017 Coding da Vinci Hackathon, and with her team developed the “Marbles of Remembrance” chatbot. On the basis of the Reich Association of Jews card index, the app guides walkers through Berlin, telling stories about Jewish children during the National Socialist period.