Digital Edition and Analysis of the Mediality of Diplomatic Communication - Habsburg’s Envoys in Constantinople in the mid-17th century

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Carina Koch

    Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz)

  2. 2. Christoph Würflinger

    Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg (University of Salzburg)

  3. 3. Anna Huemer

    Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg (University of Salzburg)

  4. 4. Lisa Brunner

    Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg (University of Salzburg)

Work text
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Research Question


FWF - Austrian Science Fund,

-funded project about the mediality of diplomatic communication examines the exchange of information of Habsburg’s diplomats in Constantinople with the imperial court in Vienna. Written sources (letters, final and secret reports, as well as a long-lost travelogue) from the 17
century are the basis of the study. They provide a deep insight into problems of peacekeeping, intercultural and interreligious coexistence, consequential conflicts and strategies to solve them (Meienberger 1973; Droste 2006
). However, the information is not “objective”; discourse traditions, personal interests, the self-portrayal of the agents, as well as transmission conditions (postal routes, information security) are of importance. In summary: the media had a great impact on information and knowledge transfer between Habsburg’s diplomats and the Viennese Court. Moreover, the media determined what people learned and knew about the Ottoman Empire (Faulstich et al. 2007). Thus, the computer-aided analyses of the selected sources is conducted from a media-scientific viewpoint. The study will provide a better understanding of the constructed knowledge about Ottomans and the Islam in (Central) Europe, which has still an impact until today.

Digital Edition
The travelogue and the correspondence, as well as research results and analyzes, will be open access and publicly available as a digital edition

The digital edition will meet the evaluation criteria for digital scholary editions by the Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik (IDE) (Sahle, 2014), the Quality criteria for electronic source editions of the Porta Historica Porta Historica (2008) and the Minimum Standards for Electronic Editions of the Association for Documentary Editing (Hajo 2002).

. The edition will offer different perspectives

Digital methods create a transmedial representation of text. On transmediality of text, see: Sahle (2016), Sahle (2010).

on the texts, which include not only the digital facsimiles and the transcriptions, but also semantic enrichments and visualizations to uncover the ways of knowledge transfer and discourse traditions. Additional historical background information provide the contextualization of the sources.

The historical critical edition of the travel report and letters will be realized in TEI-P5

TEI, Text Encoding Initiative,
(accessed 2018-10-31).

and follow wherever possible the DTA-Basisformat

DTA-Basisformat (Deutsches Textarchiv, 2018) is a guideline for historical texts, recommended by CLARIN-D and the DFG

. A detailed encoding definition for research specific annotations will be documented in TEI ODD

ODD stands for "One Document Does it all". It is a TEI XML-conformant specification format that allows customizing TEI P5.

. It includes major transcriptional observations (line breaks, damages, corrections), text structures (divisions, paragraphs, headings) and historical interpretation (persons, places, general terms, events, correspondence formulas or plagiarism). Especially the latter annotations get identifiers to interlink text passages within the sources. By merging the specific events, persons or places direct comparisons and analyses of the reports can be made.

The travelogue will also be described with the methods of the manuscript-description module of the TEI

TEI Modul Manuscript Description,
(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Besides, the digital resources are described in METS

METS. Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard,
(accessed 2018-10-31).

for the representation in book viewers and system-internal in Dublin Core

DC. Dublin Core Metadata Initiative,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. The data model of the letters also include the TEI extension “correspondence description”

TEI element <correspDesc>,

to enable data exchange with the web service CorrespSearch

correspSearch. Search scholarly editions of letters, (accessed 2018-10-31), see: Dumont (2016).

Semantic Web technologies are used for data enrichment: SKOS

SKOS. Simple Knowledge Organization System, (accessed 2018-10-31).

representations of concepts for indexing and to integrate the data in the Linked Open Data context, the project will make use of public identifiers from international authority files

e.g. GND. Gemeinsame Normdatei,
(accessed 2018-10-31), VIAF. Virtual International Authority File,
(accessed 2018-10-31), GeoNames,
(accessed 2018-10-31), Deutsche Biographie,
(accessed 2018-10-31).


Based on the encoding, content analyzes for a comparison of the content in the two media types and visualizations will be realized. This will include for example space-time visualization of the named locations from the itinerary or the scenes of the events described, evaluations of categorized passages to reveal dominant topics, or network analyses to identify main actors and their relationships to each other.

Part of the data will be experimentally processed with natural language processing (NLP) tools. For example, Named Entity Recognition (NER) to identify spatial information or persons, n-grams and part-of-speech tagging for analyses of the use of words and word frequencies. The outcomes should help to uncover plagiarism or help answer the question of how information is conveyed and what opinions (positive, negative or neutral) have been expressed about an entity, in particular in connection with the characterization and description of persons or the self-presentation of the writers. It is experimental because applying natural language processing (NLP) methods and tools to historical texts is problematic, especially because of a lack of standardized orthography (Piotrowski 2012).
Digital Repository

The described analysis, processing and presentation as well as the archiving will take place via an in-house digital research data repository GAMS

GAMS - Geisteswissenschaftliches Asset Management System,

(accessed 2019-04-26).

(Stigler, Steiner 2018). It is an OAIS

OAIS. Open Archival Information System, (accessed 2018-10-31).

-compliant Asset Management System for the management, publication and long-term archiving of digital resources from all disciplines of the humanities. The infrastructure is based on the open source software project FEDORA

FEDORA. Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, (accessed 2018-10-31).

and is continuously further developed since 2003. T
he citability of all data objects in the system is guaranteed with persistent identifiers based on the Handle System

Handle System,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

and the reusability as well as the compatibility of the research data, the data models and the transformation scripts by the use of data standards (TEI, DC, RDF, SKOS, METS).



(accessed 2018-10-31).

Search scholarly editions of letters

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Dublin Core Metadata Initiative,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Deutsche Biographie

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Deutsches Textarchiv
(2018). DTA-Basisformat,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Droste, H.
(2006). Im Dienst der Krone. Schwedische Diplomaten im 17. Jahrhundert, Berlin: LIT.

Dumont, St.
(2016). "correspSearch – Connecting Scholarly Editions of Letters". Journal of Text Encoding Initiative 10,

(accessed 2018-11-14).

Faulstich, W. et al.
(2007). Medialität. In Anz, T. (ed), Handbuch Literaturwissenschaft, Bd. 1: Gegenstände und Grundbegriffe, Stuttgart, pp. 203-264.

. Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Austrian Science Fund,

(accessed 2018-10-31).


(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Gemeinsame Normdatei,

, (accessed 2018-10-31).

Hajo, C. M.
. Association for Documentary Editing (2002). Minimum Standards for Electronic Editions of the Association for Documentary Editing,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Handle System

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Meienberger, P.
(1973). Johann Rudolf Schmid zum Schwarzenhorn als kaiserlicher Resident in Konstantinopel in den Jahren 1629-1643. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen Österreich und der Türkei in der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts, Bern: Lang.

. Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Open Archival Information System,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Piotrowski, M.
(2012). Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts, Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies. San Rafael, Calif: Morgan & Claypool.

Porta Historica
(2008). Quality criteria for electronic source editions of the Porta Historica,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Sahle, P.
(2010). Zwischen Mediengebundenheit und Transmedialisierung. Anmerkungen zum Verhältnis von Edition und Medien. editio 24, pp. 23-36.

Sahle, P.
(2014) in collaboration with Georg Vogeler and the members of the IDE. Criteria for Reviewing Scholarly Digital Editions, version 1.1,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Sahle, P.
(2016). What is a scholarly digital edition (SDE)? In Driscoll, M. and Pierazzo, E. (eds), Digital Scholarly Editing. Theory, Practice and Future Perspectives. Open Book Publishers, pp. 19-39.

. Simple Knowledge Organization System,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

Stigler, J. and Steiner, E.
(2018). GAMS – Eine Infrastruktur zur Langzeitarchivierung und Publikation geisteswissenschaftlicher Forschungsdaten. In Mitteilungen der VÖB 71 (2018) Nr. 1: Repositorien in Österreich, DOI:

(accessed 2019-04-26).

TEI Modul Manuscript Description

(accessed 2018-10-31).

. Text Encoding Initiative,

(accessed 2018-10-31).

VIAF. Virtual International Authority File, (accessed 2018-10-31).

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Conference Info

In review

ADHO - 2019

Hosted at Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands

July 9, 2019 - July 12, 2019

436 works by 1162 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (14)

Organizers: ADHO