About the project


Table of contents


German Inscriptions: Medieval and Early Modern

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The principal aim of our project is the collection and edition of all Latin and German inscriptions of the Middle Ages and early modern period, up to the year 1650. The area of collection covers Germany and Austria in their modern boundaries, as well as South Tyrol. The results of our work are published in the series of DI (Deutsche Inschriften) volumes. Each volume contains either the inscriptions from one or more city- or rural administrative districts (in Germany: Landkreise, in Austria: politische Bezirke) or the inscriptions from individual towns. In the case of cities with an exceptionally large corpus of inscriptions, particular inscription-corpora are edited separately. The epigraphs included are both the surviving originals as well as those now known only from copies.

The “German Inscriptions” project is by far the oldest modern enterprise dedicated to the collection of medieval and early modern epigraphs. It was founded over seven decades ago as a common undertaking of the German and Austrian Academies of Sciences and Humanities, at the initiative of the German philologist Friedrich Panzer (Heidelberg), with significant support from the historians Karl Brandi (Goettingen) and Hans Hirsch (Vienna).

The traditionally federal structure of Germany and its academies is reflected in the organisation of our project: six of the seven German academies, together with the Austrian academy, have established their own epigraphic research offices, each of which is responsible for a clearly defined region related to the boundaries of the federal states (Länder).

“German Inscriptions Online”

The “German Inscriptions Online” project (DIO) is coordinated via a close collaboration between the academies of Goettingen and Mainz. Its long-term goal is to digitalise and make available online all volumes of the DI series.

Thhe databases already developed by the research units in Mainz and Greifswald provide the technical basis of the project. All expertise gained during its runtime is now devoted to the overall aim of achieving the complete digitalisation of the “German Inscriptions” series.

What is the current state of the project, and what remains to be done?

 The DIO team has tested, optimalised and standardised the following procedures: retro-digitalisation of older volumes for which no digital versions exist has been carried out; volumes more recently published have been copy-edited; the rights for the internet reproduction of images have been obtained; meta-data for the respective photos have been entered; supplementary photos of many objects have been made, where hitherto only black-and-white pictures were available. Moreover, the first steps have of course been taken to present the epigraphic collection in an attractive and modern internet layout, while ensuring conformity with the scientific and editorial guidelines of the DI series

The Digital Academy in Mainz, supervised by Torsten Schrade, is responsible for the technical and editorial realisation of the DIO project, and also coordinates the processing and online activation of the DI data in accordance with the respective research teams of the several academies involved.

The DIO portal does not display merely scanned bookpages, but rather makes available the contents of DI volumes in a new presentation, enriched by a proliferation of additional photo-images. This web presence is able to be upgraded and updated through the means of a corrigenda and addenda function. Further additional features, such as the possibility to search and capture data from the complete data pool, will soon be added, thereby enhancing the scholarly and scientific value of the website as compared to the printed volumes.

Research Facilities