The Heinrich-Heine-Portal. A digital edition and research platform on the web (

  1. 1. Nathalie Groß

    Universität Trier

  2. 2. Christian Liedtke

    Heinrich-Heine-Institut Düsseldorf

Work text
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In this paper we are presenting the Heinrich Heine Portal,
one of the most sophisticated web resources dedicated
to a German classical author. It virtually combines the two
most defi nitive critical editions (DHA=Düsseldorfer Heine-
Ausgabe and HSA=Heine Säkularausgabe) in print together
with digital images of the underlying textual originals within
an elaborated electronic platform. The project, which has been
established in 2002, is organized as a co-operation between
the Heinrich-Heine-Institut (Düsseldorf) and the Competence
Centre for Electronic Publishing and Information Retrieval in
the Humanities (University of Trier). It has been funded by the
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research
Organisation) as well as the Kunststiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen
(Foundation for the Arts of North Rhine Westphalia). The
work within the project consists of two major parts. On the
one hand it has to transfer the printed texts into a digital
representation which serves as the basis for its electronic
publication. On the other hand it aims at a complete revision
of important parts of the printed critical edition and provides
new results of the Heinrich-Heine research community.
The fi rst part of the workfl ow is organized as a typical
retro-digitization project. Starting with the printed editions,
consisting of nearly 26,500 pages with an amount of about 72
millions of characters, the text was sent to a service partner
in China, where it was typed in by hand. During this process
two digital versions of the text were produced and then sent
back to Germany, where they were automatically collated.
After that the listed differences were manually corrected
by comparing them with the printed original. The result of
this step is a digital text that corresponds with the printed
version providing a quality of nearly 99.995%. The next task
was to transform this basic digital encoding into a platform
independent representation, which then can be used as the
main data format for all following project phases. In order to
achieve this goal a pool of program routines was developed
which uses the typographical information and contextual
conditions to generate XML-markup according to the TEI
guidelines. Because of the heterogeneous structures of
the text (prose, lyrics, critical apparatus, tables of contents
etc.) this was a very time consuming step. At the end of
this process a reusable version of the data that can be put into the archives on a long time basis exists. Using the XML
encoding the digital documents were imported into an online
database, where different views onto the data are stored
separately, e.g. metadata for the main information about the
letter corpus (list of senders, addressees, dates and places
etc.) or bibliographical information on the works. In order to
get access to the information from the database the project
has been supplied with a sophisticated graphical user interface,
which has been built with the help of a content management
framework (ZOPE).
Besides providing online access to the basic editions DHA and
HSA the Heinrich-Heine-Portal offers a completely revised
and updated version of the letter corpus and displays newlydiscovered
letters and corrigenda, which are being added
constantly. Additionally, the portal is an electronic archive
which contains and presents more than 12,000 digital images
of original manuscripts and fi rst editions, linked to the text and
the apparatus of the edition. Most of those images were made
available by the Heinrich-Heine-Institut, Düsseldorf, which
holds nearly 60% of the Heine-manuscripts known today.
The collection of the Heine-Institut was completely digitized
for this project. In addition, 32 other museums, libraries
and literary archives in Europe and the United States are
cooperating with the Heine-Portal and have given us consent
to present manuscripts from their collections. Among them are
the British Library and the Rothschild Archive in London, the
Russian Archives of Social and Political History in Moscow, the
Foundation of Weimar Classics and many others. One of the
long-term goals of the Heine-Portal is a “virtual unifi cation” of
all of Heine’s manuscripts. Beyond that the Heine-Portal offers
extensive bibliographies of primary sources and secondary
literature, from Heine’s own fi rst publications in a small journal
(1817) up to the most recent secondary literature. Other
research tools of the Heine-Portal are a powerful search
engine and a complex hyperlink structure which connects
the texts, commentaries and the different sections of the
Portal with each other and a database of Heine’s letters with
detailed information on their edition, their availability and the
institutions which hold them.
Our paper will describe the technical and philological aspects
of the work process that was necessary for the completion of
the Heine-Portal, it will give an account of its main functions
and demonstrate their use for students and scholars alike, and
it will discuss possible pedagogical applications for schools as
well as university teaching.
Bernd Füllner and Johannes Fournier: Das Heinrich-Heine-
Portal. Ein integriertes Informationssystem. In Standards und
Methoden der Volltextdigitalisierung. Beiträge des Internationalen
Kolloquiums an der Universität Trier, 8./9. Oktober 2001. Hrsg.
von Thomas Burch, Johannes Fournier, Kurt Gärtner u.
Andrea Rapp. Trier 2002 (Abhandlungen der Akademie
der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz; Geistes- und
Sozialwissenschaftliche Klasse), pp. 239-263.
Bernd Füllner and Christian Liedtke: Volltext, Web und
Hyperlinks. Das Heinrich-Heine-Portal und die digitale
Heine-Edition. In Heine-Jahrbuch 42, 2003, pp. 178-187.
Bernd Füllner and Christian Liedtke: Die Datenbanken des
Heinrich-Heine-Portals. Mit fünf unbekannten Briefen von
und an Heine. In Heine-Jahrbuch 43, 2004, pp. 268-276.
Nathalie Groß: Das Heinrich-Heine-Portal: Ein integriertes
Informationssystem. In Uni-Journal 3/2004, pp. 25-26.
Nathalie Groß: Der Digitale Heine – Ein Internetportal
als integriertes Informationssystem. In Jahrbuch für
Computerphilologie - online. Hg. v. Georg Braungart, Karl Eibl
und Fotis Jannidis. München 2005, pp. 59-73. Available online:
Christian Liedtke: Die digitale Edition im Heinrich-Heine-
Portal – Probleme, Prinzipien, Perspektiven. In editio.
Internationales Jahrbuch für Editionswissenschaft. Tübingen 2006.
Bernd Füllner and Nathalie Groß: Das Heinrich-Heine-Portal
und digitale Editionen. Bericht über die Tagung im Heinrich-
Heine-Institut in Düsseldorf am 6. Oktober 2005. In Heine-
Jahrbuch. 45. 2006, pp. 240-248.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2008

Hosted at University of Oulu

Oulu, Finland

June 25, 2008 - June 29, 2008

135 works by 231 authors indexed

Conference website:

Series: ADHO (3)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None