Developing an online resource providing medieval literature for younger students and their teachers

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Gerlinde Schneider

    Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities - Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz), Zentrum für Informationsmodellierung (ZIM) (Center for Information Modelling) - Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz)

  2. 2. Ylva Schwinghammer

    Department of German Studies - Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz)

Work text
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Teaching material on medieval German literature adequate to present-day educational standards is insufficiently available. Additionally, the subject tends to be marginalized in current curricula for teacher training. Consequently, schoolteachers often lack the impetus and time to prepare and arrange medieval texts for their students.

The objective of the publicly funded "Sparkling Science" project “Arbeitskoffer zu den Steirischen Literaturpfaden des Mittelalters” (Toolbox for the Styrian literature paths of the Middle Ages) is to develop an openly accessible, virtual didactic environment (the “Text portal”) which enables teachers to address the topic of medieval literature in class and familiarize their students with older German texts. For that purpose a corpus comprising regional medieval literature is made available on the Text portal by providing the transcription, translation and facsimiles of the respective texts. Furthermore, glossarial information and additional teaching material adapted to the requirements of students on secondary educational level are featured.

This poster introduces the online resource outlined above which is developed at the University of Graz in a collaboration between the Department of German Studies and the Centre for Information Modelling. The main focus is set on the following two aspects which are fundamental for the realization, progress and sustainability of the project:

1. The inclusion of prospective users
The project primarily targets two disparate groups: Teachers in secondary education on the one hand and their students on the other hand. In order to provide an efficient and effective resource, the requirements of both user groups were considered the guiding principles for the development of the portal and its underlying data, from the very beginning.

The initiators of the project are scholars of German Studies involved in the education of both teachers and younger students. In addition to their individual views on the issue, the requirements to this resource were elaborated in the context of university courses for teacher training in concert with actual teachers and teacher trainees.

To investigate the demands of the younger students, a multilayered empirical analysis was conducted amongst several hundred pupils to survey the acceptance and comprehension of Middle High German and Early New High German texts. The outcome of this survey directly influenced later decisions concerning the selection and edition of the texts provided.

Taking account of the diversity of the prospective user groups, an intuitive, user-friendly and dependable interface will be realized. With this goal in mind, the development of the portal is subject to continuous evaluation within the project team. Further evaluations and test runs in a real-life environment with students and teachers are scheduled as the project progresses.

2. The involvement of Digital Humanities competence
The literary texts provided on the text portal are chosen with regards to their supraregional importance or their interest within the medieval literary canon, with the majority not yet being available in a standardized digital format. Enrichment and annotation methods common in Digital Humanities and the usage of trusted digital infrastructures serve to produce digital resources in this particular project which are later reusable in other contexts and sustainably preserved.

All textual sources used within the project are encoded conforming to the guidelines of TEI P5, annotated and documented in a way that makes an adaption to further editorial works or other projects as unproblematic as possible. The TEI representations as well as the pictorial representations and the metadata of the original sources are openly available via the FEDORA based asset management system GAMS.

Hockey, S. (2012). Digital Humanities in the Age of the Internet: Reaching Out to Other Communities. In Deegan, M. and McCarty, W. (eds), Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 81-92.

Kümper, H.(2011). Mittelalter und Mittelalterunterricht im neumedialen Zeitalter. In Kümper, H. (ed.), eLearning & Mediävistik. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 7-65.

Schmidt, S. (2004). Neue Medien und alte Themen: Internet & Co als Vermittlungshilfen in der Schule, im Museum und an der Universität. In van Eickels, K., Weichselbaumer, R. and Bennewitz, I. (eds), Mediaevistik und Neue Medien. Ostfildern: Thorbecke, pp. 243-259.

TEI Consortium (2013). TEI P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, Version 2.5.0. Virginia: Text Encoding Initiative Consortium Charlottesville.

Warwick, C. (2012). Studying Users in Digital Humanities. In Warwick, C., Terras, M. and Nyhan, J. (eds), Digital Humanities in Practice. London: Facet Publishing, pp. 1-22.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2014
"Digital Cultural Empowerment"

Hosted at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Université de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

July 7, 2014 - July 12, 2014

377 works by 898 authors indexed

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Conference website:

Attendance: 750 delegates according to Nyhan 2016

Series: ADHO (9)

Organizers: ADHO