We’re very pleased to see that a large collection of German language digital texts has just been released under an open license.
Yesterday, it was announced that Wikimedia Germany, Creative Commons Germany and TextGrid are releasing a large collection of “culturally valuable” texts either in the public domain or under a CC-BY license, which is compliant with the Open Knowledge Definition.
From the press release:
The research group TextGrid recently obtained the texts of the online library zeno.org with financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This digital collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in the German-speaking areas and contains texts from the beginning of printing to the first decades of the 20th century.
TextGrid, Wikimedia Germany and Creative Commons Germany are now cooperating in order to make this collection of texts freely usable for the general public. Wikimedia will soon make the collection available with the assistance of TextGrid. Subsequent use of the texts will be possible without restriction if they are comprised of contents that are in the public domain (particularly in terms of the digitalized texts themselves). If additional data for providing access is included (bibliographic metadata, for example), it will be covered under the license CC-BY 3.0 de.
We were also interested to read the following comment from Dr. Heike Neuroth, TextGrid Project Manager at the Lower Saxony State- and University Library Göttingen:
The primary task of the Digital Humanities is no longer digitalization, as it was in the 90s, but instead the methodically innovative development of structured data sets. With this cooperation we will make access to this information possible not only to research communities but also to the general public.
At the Open Knowledge Foundation, we’ve also very interested in new ways of analysing, visually representing and otherwise exploring digital humanities texts – from our annotation and text analysis tools in projects such as Open Shakespeare and Open Milton to our Working Group in the Humanities which we’ve had on the backburner for a little while.
Many congratulations to Wikimedia Germany, Creative Commons Germany and TextGrid for the new release – and we look forward to the material going live online and learning more about what the collection contains!
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.