Autumn Beginnings: My New DH-Season at the IEG in Mainz

by Tetiana Shyshkina

Autumn, in my mind, is like a beautiful story about the end of the year. It’s a time when things start to cool down and nature gets ready to rest. Starting in August, the leaves slowly change from green to gold and copper. At the same time, German stores fill up with Christmas treats and decorations. It’s as if they’re quietly saying that the peaceful autumn is just the beginning of something special and bright. Amidst this time of anticipatory waiting and a touch of melancholic premonition, I commence my fellowship, opening what I anticipate being one of the most productive and significant chapters of my life. „Autumn Beginnings: My New DH-Season at the IEG in Mainz“ weiterlesen

Vom Kaffeeholen zur Meisterbarista: Praxiserfahrung in den Digital Humanities

von Merle-Sophie Thoma und Teresa Wendel

Praxiserfahrungen spielen schon lange eine Rolle beim Übergang von Ausbildung zu beruflichem Alltag. Vom 16. Jahrhundert, in dem ein Praktikant noch jemand war, der sich mit fragwürdigen Praktiken beschäftigte, bis zum heutigen Verständnis der praktischen Erfahrung, das von der Ära „Generation Praktikum“ geprägt ist – das Absolvieren mehrerer, oft schlecht oder gar nicht vergüteter Praktika, ohne dass diese zu einer festen Anstellung führen. Während sich die Zeiten ändern, bleibt das Bild bestehen: Praktikant:innen als unerfahrene, ausgenutzte Arbeitskräfte, die frustrierende Büroarbeiten erledigen, Kaffee holen und Kopien machen – man denke etwa an „Der Teufel trägt Prada“.

Anstelle eines verpflichtenden Praktikums ist im Mainzer Masterstudiengang „Digitale Methodik in den Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften“ das Absolvieren eines Praxisprojektes vorgesehen. Mit dem Blick auf die Rolle von Praxiserfahrungen, wirft das Fragen auf: Was bedeutet es, wenn im Curriculum ein Praxisprojekt verankert ist? Wie unterscheidet sich dieses von den üblichen Praktika? Welche Vor- und Nachteile bringen Praxisprojekte mit sich? Was sollte man bei der Durchführung eines Praxisprojekts berücksichtigen? Und vor allem: Welche Rolle spielen Praxisprojekte im Kontext der Digital Humanities?

„Vom Kaffeeholen zur Meisterbarista: Praxiserfahrung in den Digital Humanities“ weiterlesen

Wie Historiker:innen arbeiten. Einblicke in die Projektlehre im DigiKAR-Projektseminar

von Lara Beringer

Häufig laufen Lehrveranstaltungen nach einem bestimmten Schema ab: Die Themen der Seminare und einzelnen Sitzungen stehen bereits fest, während des Semesters werden von den Dozent:innen vorab ausgewählte Quellen und Literatur gelesen und vorbereitet, meist hält man ein Referat, eine Sitzungsleitung o. Ä., um seine aktive Teilnahme zu erlangen und am Ende des Semesters schreibt man eine Hausarbeit, die nach der Lektüre durch die Dozent:innen für immer in der Versenkung verschwindet. Während diese Abläufe bewährt sind und insbesondere am Anfang des Studiums die Grundlage für späteres wissenschaftliches Arbeiten schaffen, sind sie im fortgeschrittenen Studium immer häufiger repetitiv, frustrierend und weit entfernt von der eigentlichen Arbeitsweise von Historiker:innen.

Ganz anders lief ein von mir besuchtes Projektseminar im Sommersemester 2022 ab, das im Rahmen der Digital erweiterten Projektlehre (ModeLL-M) von Prof. Dr. Bettina Braun angeboten wurde. Der Titel war weit gefasst: Mobilität in Kurmainz. „Wie Historiker:innen arbeiten. Einblicke in die Projektlehre im DigiKAR-Projektseminar“ weiterlesen

On Learning Languages (a DH Fellowship Report)

by Ian Marino

 “My IEG fellowship experience can be summed up as a great place to learn languages.”

Emphasizing “languages” in the title of my digital humanities fellowship report may seem unusual. Yet, it has been the word resonating most during my 8-month stay in Mainz. My IEG fellowship experience can be summed up as a great place to learn languages. Let me explain.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, language is “a system of communication used by people in a particular country.” Coming from São Paulo, Brazil, living in Germany introduced me to new communication experiences. German and diverse English accents from colleagues created a unique soundscape. Working with Portuguese, Spanish, and French sources, attending (great) conferences in various cities – Budapest, Belfast, Berlin, Lisbon – exposed me to an array of languages and accents I had never encountered before.

But language goes beyond sounds and characters. It encompasses more. Ordering coffee in German and conversing in English with colleagues wasn’t enough. Germany opened a world of interconnected academic institutions-research colloquiums, DH meetings, international conferences, and academic journals – each with its own specific language. How do you frame your work to be understood in these spaces? How do you navigate the unspoken rules and influences? There was much to learn.

Another definition of language from the Cambridge Dictionary is “a system of symbols and rules for writing instructions for computers.” Working with memory projects and metadata, I knew about the importance of normalized metadata for computers – which I could improve during my stay at the IEG. But the language experience went beyond that. My mentor, Dr. Demi Vasques, patiently introduced me to programming. Additionally, the “Chat GPT Storm” accelerated the public debate regarding AI, requiring a deeper and critical understanding of its specific language.

Lastly, another layer of language emerged during my final weeks – the sensitive memories of the pandemic, which are my core sources. As a historian, dealing with traumatic historical wounds and not objectifying or victimizing those affected poses a challenge. It calls for a new ethical framework and appropriate language. I, like other historians, am still learning this language.

I express deep appreciation for my DH fellowship at IEG. It provided a fantastic environment to immerse myself in these diverse languages. Conversations with colleagues made English almost natural, and I improved my work-in-progress German. Friends helped me refine my writing skills. Conferences, colloquiums, and the DH Lab meetings taught me to navigate the institutions of this new research world. And who knows if AI tools acted as an assistant writer for this post itself?

As I finish this report in a now empty office, melancholy mixes with satisfaction. I have learned many languages at IEG, and probably more await me on my journey. For now, I can only extend a heartfelt thank you to all who made this experience so remarkable.

Aquele abraço.


Cite this article as: Ian Marino, “On Learning Languages (a DH Fellowship Report),” in Digital Humanities Lab, 29/06/2023, https://dhlab.hypotheses.org/?p=3814.

Featured image: photo by Ian Marino, all rights reserved.

What is a Digital History Lab? Reflections from a trip to Lisbon

by Ian Marino and Demival Vasques Filho

Being part of a DH Lab involves questioning what constitutes this type of organism: who we are, what we do, how and why we do it. A recent workshop at the Digital Humanities Lab of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa has sparked a reflection regarding the question that entitles this blog post.1 The multiple nationalities and institutions of the researchers present there added ingredients that allowed such a question to cross European national borders and even the Atlantic Ocean.

Coming from a research-first institute at the IEG to meet labs with teaching as a chief concern may look like a mismatch. The language, the position of the labs within their main institutions, and the composition of the teams also present a situation in which it is easier to point out differences than similarities. However, the feeling of proximity spoke loudly. Why so? The answer to that may be in a combination of two seemingly out-of-place words: Digital History labs are marked by need and precariousness.

Such words make us think about materiality. Yes, many DH labs worldwide are precarious regarding physical space and hardware, not to mention the absence of stable funding for research and teaching. Such precariousness reflects global inequalities, which contribute to forging new layers of inequity in the development of knowledge within the Digital Humanities in general.2

That is one of the unfoldings of the “laboratorial turn” that defines the field’s recent growth in the last decades.3 As our host in Lisbon, Daniel Alves, defined well, the Digital Humanities are a “community of practices”: Increasingly, people are the labs, more than physical and institutionalized spaces.4

Nevertheless, we are making a different point here when we say that DH labs are marked by need and precariousness. Without proper training5, digital historians face the constant sensation of delayed understanding and following up in a continuously updating digital world.6 There is always new software, new methods, or updated versions of available tools (not to mention AI!). For example, after a workshop that presented Tropy – a new software for most of us which allows managing research photos in an unprecedented way – a conversation between the participants went more or less like this:

– We would love to know more about Omeka in our lab, but it is so hard to find time for it…
– Oh, we use it a lot here; maybe we can help you!
– Really? Thank you, that would be great!

DH labs function like mechanic workshops for cars that never stop moving. But these cars are digital, and they do not stop accelerating. DH Labs are collective ventures: We need partners and must learn from each other. That is what drove our meeting in Lisbon and drives the excitement and constant search for external collaborators in domestic events, like in the case of the IEG’s monthly event, 60 minutes of DH, for example.

There is a flipside to that. The time to catch on to the novelties is rarely available, which creates constant gaps of knowledge that lead, in turn, to the anxiety and sensation of delay that digital historians know so well. Once again, need and precariousness. The need for time, space, and funding to surpass institutional barriers and collaborate with external researchers. The precariousness of institutional structures and research agendas that do not acknowledge the need for such inter-labs partnerships.

What is a Digital History lab? In our return to the IEG, the question has stuck in our minds. The fact that we are both foreigners here and have a set date to leave only increases the perception that this issue is global. Maybe every DH researcher has similar questions and possibly different answers, which might travel around the world from lab to lab. Nevertheless, our stay in Lisbon has shown us that the possibility of interacting with peers can only increase the quality of the reflections regarding what we do, how we do it, who we are, and who we could be.


Cite this article as: Ian Marino and Demival Vasques Filho, "What is a Digital History Lab? Reflections from a trip to Lisbon," in Digital Humanities Lab, 20/04/2023, https://dhlab.hypotheses.org/3925.

Featured image: photo by Demival Vasques Filho, all rights reserved.

  1. We would like to thank to all the researchers of the DH labs that were part of this experience: the IEG’s Digital Historical Research Unit, the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, the Digital Humanities Lab, and the Center of Digital Humanities-Unicamp. Particularly, we would like to thank the researchers Agatha Bloch, Anita Lucchesi, and Joana Paulino. Finally, an especial appreciation to Daniel Alves, who received us at the Nova University’s Digital Humanities Lab. []
  2. Barbara Göbel and Christoph Müller, “Transformação digital, arquivos e assimetrias do conhecimento,” in Desigualdades interdependentes e geopolítica do conhecimento: negociações, fluxos, assimetrias, ed. Eloísa Martín and Barbara Göbel (7Letras, 2018), 132–47. []
  3. Urszula Pawlicka-Deger, “The Laboratory Turn: Exploring Discourses, Landscapes, and Models of Humanities Labs,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 014, no. 3 (September 25, 2020), http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/14/3/000466/000466.html. []
  4. Daniel Alves, “As Humanidades Digitais como uma comunidade de práticas dentro do formalismo académico: dos exemplos internacionais ao caso português,” Ler História, no. 69 (December 30, 2016): 91–103, https://doi.org/10.4000/lerhistoria.2496. []
  5. Jane Winters, “Digital History,” in Debating New Approaches to History, ed. Marek Tamm and Peter Burke (New York ; London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 277–300. []
  6. Mateus Henrique de Faria Pereira and Valdei Lopes de Araujo, “Updatism: Pandemic and Historicities in the Never-Ending 2020,” Journal of Foreign Languages and Cultures 5, no. 2 (December 28, 2021): 090–102, https://doi.org/10.53397/hunnu.jflc.202102009. []

Workshop in Villa Vigoni

by Jaap Geraerts

There’s a wonderful phrase in Dutch: “het nuttige met het aangename verenigen,” which means something like “to unite that which is useful (nuttig) with that which is pleasant (aangenaam).”  Although in general academia tends to be firmly tilted towards the former, occasionally it does happen that the coveted combination of utility and pleasantness is achieved. The week I spent at Villa Vigoni in Menaggio, Italy, together with a number of colleagues in late February/early March 2023, is a particularly great example thereof. „Workshop in Villa Vigoni“ weiterlesen

EuroCarto 2022 – presenting DigiKAR to the international cartographic community

a guest post by Mariam Gambashidze,
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig

Conferences are exciting scientific events, especially if they are held in person after the long pandemic times. In September 2022, the capital of Austria, Vienna, hosted a big cartographic event: EuroCarto 2022, where I was happy to present our ongoing project  ‘Digitale Kartenwerkstatt Altes Reich’ (DigiKAR) to the scientific community. „EuroCarto 2022 – presenting DigiKAR to the international cartographic community“ weiterlesen

DH Lab Retreat 2022: Delving into goals, tasks and values

by Jaap Geraerts

In September 2019, so in pre-pandemic times, several (former) members of the IEG DH Lab went on a retreat to Kloster Jakobsberg for a couple of days. The main goal of this retreat was to discuss the individual research projects and to discover overlap between them and encourage cooperation within the frame of the DH Lab. In other words, the focus was on putting flesh on the bones on the laboratorial dimension of our research unit. „DH Lab Retreat 2022: Delving into goals, tasks and values“ weiterlesen

Projektmanagement in den Digital Humanities – World Café auf der DHd 2022

von Fabian Cremer, Swantje Dogunke, Jonathan Geiger, Anja Gerber, Anna Maria Neubert, Julian Schulz, Thorsten Wübbena

„Interdisziplinäre Wissensproduktion innerhalb der digitalen geistes- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Forschung benötigt verschiedene Planungs-, Koordinierungs- und Steuerungselemente, um eine erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit zu ermöglichen.“ Diese These, aus dem Selbstverständnis und der Forschungspraxis der Digital Humanities abgeleitet, liegt unserem Beitrag zur diesjährigen Jahreskonferenz der Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum zugrunde: einem „Peer-to-Peer-Workshop zum Projektmanagement in den Digital Humanities“. Im Rahmen dieses virtuellen World Café haben sich Projektmanager:innen über methodische Fragen, individuelle Erfahrungen und institutionelle Rahmebedingungen ausgetauscht. Die Diskussionen werden in diesem Blogpost zusammengefasst. „Projektmanagement in den Digital Humanities – World Café auf der DHd 2022“ weiterlesen

A journey through time and networks: a short story from a PhD candidate at the DH Lab

by Daniela Linkevicius de Andrade

Time is a strange thing for historians. It is our object of adoration and frustration, our compass and clock. We study time, but when it comes to the time of our own lives, things get more complicated. Over the last weeks, I’ve constantly heard from other historians: “wow, time went by so fast!”. As a historian, I should know that time is subjective, but I never cease to marvel. After all, it has been eight months since I arrived in Mainz, Germany, and started my fellowship at the DH Lab, but I still find it challenging to translate and express the dimension of eight months. The effort is worth it, and I invite you to join me on a bit of a journey about my time at DH Lab. „A journey through time and networks: a short story from a PhD candidate at the DH Lab“ weiterlesen

RSA 2022 in Dublin

By Jaap Geraerts

Two weeks ago, from March 29 until April 2, the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) conference took place in Dublin. It’s probably the largest conference for academics interested in the early modern period and it customarily attracts scholars from various historical disciplines and fields from all over the world. Over the last couple of years, the number of papers and panels on the digital humanities has been steadily increasing at this conference. For me this is good news: RSA now offers me a platform to share both my latest archival findings and to showcase the technical side of my project. „RSA 2022 in Dublin“ weiterlesen

„Experiment, Ergebnis, Erkenntnis“ – Dokumentation einer Interviewreihe zu Projektmanagement in den Digital Humanities

von Fabian Cremer, Swantje Dogunke, Thorsten Wübbena

1. Motivation

Die „DH from Scratch“-Veranstaltungen markieren auf den Tagungen des Verbandes „Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum“ aktuelle Diskussions- und Handlungsfelder, die sich aus der Koordination digitaler Forschung ergeben. Die vDHd2021 bot Gelegenheit, den Blick thematisch auf das Projektmanagement zu richten und methodisch eine experimentelle und virtuelle Herangehensweise zu wählen: eine partizipative Interviewreihe. Dieser Beitrag skizziert das Konzept, berichtet von der praktischen Durchführung und entwickelt konkrete Thesen als Ergebnis der Auseinandersetzung mit den „Unfrequently Asked Questions“.

„„Experiment, Ergebnis, Erkenntnis“ – Dokumentation einer Interviewreihe zu Projektmanagement in den Digital Humanities“ weiterlesen

Games for the humanities / religious studies – scarce or simply hard to find?

by Monika Barget

Recently, I have more extensively explored serious games for teaching and research communication in the humanities. In a workshop aimed primarily at religious studies scholars, I intended to address analogue board games as well as hybrid and exclusively digital games. And apart from games I myself had used or contributed to, I hoped to present other examples in different languages. Especially in the field of hybrid and digital humanities games, however, my search retrieved few results. This post summarises the vivid discussion with participants that followed my invited talk “Seriously, games?” in the #digitalDonnerstag workshop series hosted by Arbeitskreis Mittelbau und Nachwuchs der Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft e.V. (AKMN). „Games for the humanities / religious studies – scarce or simply hard to find?“ weiterlesen

Differenzieren, Bündeln, Verstetigen – Weiterbildungskonzepte zum Forschungsdatenmanagement in der Geschichtswissenschaft

von Fabian Cremer, Michael Czolkoß-Hettwer und Thorsten Wübbena

Ein Workshop zum Forschungsdatenmanagement ist derzeit zwar keine exotische Weiterbildung mehr, aber als fachspezifisches Angebot in der Geschichtswissenschaft weder üblich noch obligatorisch. Die Landschaft der Angebote zeigt trotzdem eine Vielzahl an engagierten Akteur:innen mit ausgewisesener Expertise. In Rahmen eines Expert:innenworkshops haben einige dieser Personen in einem gemeinsamen Erfahrungsaustausch Ideen und Impulse hinsichtlich der Formate, Themen und Zielgruppen entwickelt, nachvollzogen wie das Konzept erfolgreicher Angebote gestaltet ist und wie deren Zusammenführung weiterentwickelt werden könnte. Diese Ideen werden in diesem Beitrag ausgearbeitet und dokumentiert. „Differenzieren, Bündeln, Verstetigen – Weiterbildungskonzepte zum Forschungsdatenmanagement in der Geschichtswissenschaft“ weiterlesen

Exploring connections: Digital workshop on Network Analysis with Python

by Sarah Büttner

In times of covid-19, virtual workshops can be quite hard for organizers as well as for participants. On the other hand, they offer a unique opportunity to try unconventional methods to improve the situation for both sides. Dr. Demival Vasques Filho, in cooperation with Anna Aschauer, grasped such an opportunity at the DARIAH-DE-workshop Network Analysis with Python for Beginners, when he decided to simultaneously code and explain the basis on network analysis. Furthermore, he managed to address academics from different research areas with the help of some well-known fictional characters.
„Exploring connections: Digital workshop on Network Analysis with Python“ weiterlesen

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