The University Library, your partner for digital scholarship
At the University of Basel, numerous projects and infrastructures are operated that work with digital methods in the humanities (e.g. Showcases). Promoting this branch is part of the university’s strategy and the University Library is actively participating in this process by supporting digital research projects with
- project-specific digitisation needs: We'll work with you to figure out your requirements and needs regarding digitised sources and offer you a quote or refer you to a suitable service provider. Smaller digitisation projects can be taken care of by our in-house Digitisation Centre or ordered straight from the swisscovery catalogue (EOD). With bigger research projects, we are happy to advise you in person.
- the processing and enriching of digital corpora: We'll support you with the planning of your research project, offer advice on various possibilites and standards, and offer help with data extraction (OCR or HTR).
- consulting: A lot of research questions need solutions that go beyond what standard services provide. The University Library can provide you with support during any project phase, be it with the development of a prototype or a new interface etc. It is our goal to enable digital research project with and about our collections.
At the University Library
Are you an academic at the University of Basel and wish to make the results of your research more visible?
We will support you with various options for making your publication openly accessible.
Research data management
We would be happy to advise you on the following topics:
- Research data
- Data management plans
- Publication in compliance with FAIR principles
- Data organisation and data archiving
- and many more
AG Digital Humanities
The AG Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary team of subject librarians who are happy to advise and support you in the following areas:
- As a first point of contact for your questions regarding digital humanities and digital scholarship at the University of Basel.
- For information about or support with working with digital methods in your field of research/subject area.
- Organising and arranging collaborations with the University Library.
- The advising and consulting of students and researches in matters of digital humanities and working with digital sources.
- Possibilites for collaborations with (semester) courses, workshops etc.
Other contact points
The Digital Humanities Lab is an interdisciplinary institution with over 20 years of practical experience in digital humanities research. The task of the DHLab is to coordinate and promote research, teaching and infrastructure for digitisation in the humanities and social sciences.
The Research Infrastructure Service unit (RISE) supports researchers in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Basel with questions related to the design of computer-based research, the production and analysis of data, usage-oriented presentation as well as the sustainable and open availability of data.
The Center for Data Analytics (CeDA) supports selected research projects in accessing and making data available, as well as collaborating on data analysis. The service is aimed at all academic disciplines and operates according to FAIR principles in the handling of data.
The Swiss National Data Service Center for the Humanities (DaSCH) is an SNSF-funded national infrastructure that operates a FAIR long-term repository and a generic virtual research environment for open research data in the humanities. It also provides trainings and advice for research data management. DaSCH is located in Allschwil and hosted by the University of Basel.
Working with digital collections / Digital Humanities
The University Library’s digitised sources can be accessed and used directly on the various publication platforms. Various open tools and download options also allow further digital processing. If the specific requirements need to be adjusted or developed, we will work together with RISE, the Digital Humanities Lab of the University of Basel, or with other partners.
In the broadest sense, the digital humanities not only encompass a field of research in its own right, but also all work in which digital methods, procedures and information technologies are applied to research in the humanities. The website www.whatisdigitalhumanities.com provides an illustration of how the digital humanities cannot be clearly defined.
Although the University Library has been investing considerable resources in the digitisation of its historical collection, currently only about one per cent of all material has been digitised and is available on the platforms. In order for you to find all the holdings, a search in the catalogues is highly recommended. There you will also see whether a work is already available digitally.
The selection of catalogues includes (but is not limited to) the following specific research catalogues:
- swisscollections: The swisscollections catalogue is the central search entry point for manuscripts and letters, old prints and rare books, archive holdings and bequests, image and map materials, music and sound recordings from 14 institutions
- e-rara: Digitised rare books from Swiss libraries
- e-manuscripta: Digitised manuscript sources from Swiss libraries and archives
- e-codices: Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland
Very often the sources required for working on a specific research question are distributed across different platforms. In addition to the option of downloading the sources locally, there is now also the option of combining the sources into your own data set via the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework). The Manifest Editor for example, is suitable for this purpose. This allows multiple works, or also only parts thereof, to be saved in a so-called IIIF manifest. Such a manifest can be published online. This allows the data set to be linked directly in the display and to be shared with others.
Zentralbibliothek Zürich IIIF tutorials
The ZB-Lab of the Zentralbibliothek Zürich has created short video tutorials on the topic to facilitate starting to working with IIIF. The videos are listed in the following playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxDekeBVQtVJeRqoTgsif7fJki2X96O-1
We guarantee the sustainability of our digital holdings. We would be happy to support you with regard to data management and the archiving of research data. See also the Basel Long-term Digital Archive project.
DH methods and tools
The digital humanities make use of a variety of tools and methods that are used in research. Some of them are presented and linked here, but the list is by no means complete.
Do you have questions about the individual applications and methods? Or do you have a tool that you would like to see listed here? Please contact the staff of the Digital Services.
- Gephi is an open-source tool for data visualisation and network analysis.
- Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) is a community-driven, open-source effort to define a system for encoding musical documents in a machine-readable structure.
- nodegoat is a tool for the creation of data sets based on your own data models and enables relational, spatial, and chronological analysis and data visualisation.
- OpenRefine is an open-source programme for data cleansing and data transformation/conversion.
- StoryMap enables the depiction of narratives on maps or image materials. Requires a Google account.
- Transkribus is a comprehensive platform for the digitization, AI-powered text recognition, transcription and searching of historical documents. The first 500 credits are free. After that, the University Library offers credits at a discount for researchers.
- Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is an XML-based document format and is the current standard for text mark ups and encoding. TEI guidelines are used widely in all subject areas.
- The Vistorian is an open-source tool for interactive network analysis.
- Voyant Tools is a web-based open-source programme for text analysis. It enables working on texts and/or (custom) text orpora in a variety of formats.
The list lof links to further digital humanities resources, services, tool boxes, link collections etc. is continually updated. Do you have a link to add to this list? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us and we'll gladly add it.
- Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH-DE)
- Linksammlung Brechtbau-Bibliothek Universität Tübingen
- Python Digital Toolbox der UB Bern
- Social Sciences & Humanities Open Marketplace
- Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR) 3
- The Programming Historian
- Toolsammlung forschungsdaten.info