Skip to main content

Datacisation of the Humanities: Potential and Limits

The eHumanities tie up the humanities and social sciences with computer science. This has emerged as a topic of major interest at the University of Passau over recent years: projects and participating scholars in a nutshell.

Since 2011, the University of Passau has consistently been working across the faculties and disciplines to scrutinise the impact of digitalisation on society. The follow-on programme Technik Plus and the second phase of the successful DFG Graduate College Privacy have lent a lasting impetus to interdisciplinary collaboration between the faculties. One of the consequences has been the establishment of the Passau Centre for eHumanities using funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The eHumanities (enhanced/enabled humanities) is a research field that stands for a new level of interdisciplinary research at the interface shared by the humanities and social sciences as well as computer science. At the University of Passau, this discipline benefits not only from its proximity on the campus to a highly regarded Computer Science faculty that conducts both fundamental and applied research but also from its incorporation in the Technik Plus chairs of related subjects, including Data Science.

The Laboratory for Cultural Heritage Digitisation of the Chair of Digital Humanities supports eHumanities¬ activities in research and teaching and serves as a platform for scientific exchange. The Laboratory offers solutions for the experimental digitisation of texts and cultural artefacts, text recognition, text encoding, for the analysis and visualisation of semistructured and structured data as well as for web publishing.

Insights into Research

Jelena Mitrović is interim Junior Professor of Computational Rhetoric and NLP at the University of Passau.

From Serbia to Passau, from junior researcher to interim Junior Professor of Computational Rhetoric and NLP: Jelena Mitrović combines the ancient art of Rhetoric with Artificial Intelligence.

Prof. Dr. Jörg Trempler erklärt die Emerenz-Meier-Büste in Passau.

The district of Lower Bavaria is documenting public art on the "Art in Lower Bavaria" web platform. Thanks to the work of students at the Chair of Professor Trempler, the project has been enriched by around 70 works of art in recent months.

Digital humanities would not be possible without specialist disciplines, such as historical research. You could say that interdisciplinary networking is the foundation of what we do.

Professor Malte Rehbein, Digital Humanities

At the BMBF-funded Centre for eHumanities (PACE), researchers from all four faculties investigate how texts, image and audio interact in order to attribute meanings to objects within the context of digital and digitalised media. In other words, they are adding image, video and audio to the methodical repertoire. This allows cultural studies to make a quantitative assessment of art, photography and film. PACE creates the structural conditions needed for such research. 

 

Participating researchers

Professor Oliver Decker

Professor Oliver Decker

conducts research in modern German literature and media semiotics

What cultural patterns do people use online to present themselves?

What cultural patterns do people use online to present themselves?

Professor Dr. Oliver Decker has held the Chair of Modern German Literature/Media Semiotics at the University of Passau since 2011. He has been chairman of the German Semiotic Society (DGS) from 2014 until 2017.

Professor Michael Granitzer

Professor Michael Granitzer

conducts research in data science

How can contexts of meaning be identified in a deluge of digital media?

How can contexts of meaning be identified in a deluge of digital media?

Professor Michael Granitzer holds the Chair of Data Science. His research focuses on the use of machine-based learning methods and intelligent human-machine interfaces.

Professor Siegfried Handschuh

Professor Siegfried Handschuh

conducts research on the processing of natural language and on knowledge graphs

How can methods used in the humanities be translated into algorithms?

How can methods used in the humanities be translated into algorithms?

Professor Siegfried Handschuh coordinates numerous international research and development projects funded, among others, by the EU, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

Professor Rüdiger Harnisch

Professor Rüdiger Harnisch

researches communication spaces

Which spaces do we use to communicate online and offline?

Which spaces do we use to communicate online and offline?

Professor Rüdiger Harnisch holds the Chair of German Language of the University of Passau. He is a member of two project advisory boards of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and is a former member of the DFG Review Board for Linguistics.

Professor Dirk Heckmann

Professor Dirk Heckmann

conducts research in IT law

Which data merits protection and why?

Which data merits protection and why?

Professor Dirk Heckmann holds the Chair of Law and Security of Digitization at the Technical University of Munich and heads the Research Centre for IT Law and Network Policy at the University of Passau. He is also a member of the federal government's Data Ethics Commission and serves, among other functions, as a constitutional judge in the Bavarian Constitutional Court. From 1998 to 2019 he held the Chair of Public Law, Security Law and Internet Law at the University of Passau.

Professor Horst-Alfred Heinrich

Professor Horst-Alfred Heinrich

conducts research on methods of empirical social research

How do collective interpretations of cultural events emerge?

How do collective interpretations of cultural events emerge?

Professor Horst-Alfred Heinrich has held the Chair of Empirical Social Research at the University of Passau since 2010. His research focuses on a number of areas, including national identities as well as memory politics and politics of history.

Professor Harald Kosch

Professor Harald Kosch

conducts research on distributed and multimedia systems

How can intelligent systems source information from across various media?

How can intelligent systems source information from across various media?

Professor Harald Kosch has held the Chair of Distributed Information Systems at the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics since 2006. He is the German director of DFH/UFA Doctoral College, which brings together INSA de Lyon and the University of Passau. The main purpose of this exchange is to facilitate cooperation projects in intelligent digital systems.

Professor Malte Rehbein

Professor Malte Rehbein

conducts research in digital humanities

How can historical sources be digitalised and assessed with the assistance of computers?

How can historical sources be digitalised and assessed with the assistance of computers?

Professor Malte Rehbein has held the Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Passau since 2013. He is a member of both the board of Digital Humanities in German Speaking Countries and the Scientific Advisory Board of Deutsches Museum.

Professor Ursula Reutner

Professor Ursula Reutner

researches cultural patterns

Where will digitalisation take us: towards a unified culture or ever greater diversity?

Where will digitalisation take us: towards a unified culture or ever greater diversity?

Professor Ursula Reutner has held the Chair of Romance Languages and Cultures of the University of Passau since 2009; since 2014 she has held the post of Vice President for International Relations.

Professor Tomas Sauer

Professor Tomas Sauer

conducts research on digital image processing

How can strategies of image processing and deep learning be combined?

How can strategies of image processing and deep learning be combined?

Professor Tomas Sauer holds the Chair of Digital Image Processing. In addition, he heads the Fraunhofer research group 'Knowledge-based Image Processing' at the University of Passau and the Institute for Software Systems in Technical Applications of Computer Science (FORWISS Passau).

Professor Daniela Wawra

Professor Daniela Wawra

conducts sociolinguistic and cross-cultural research

How do culture and language shape analogue and digital interactions?

How do culture and language shape analogue and digital interactions?

Professor Daniela Wawra has held the Chair of English Language and Culture of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities since 2010. From 2018 to 2020 she was Vice President for Study, Teaching and Internationalisation at the University of Passau. 

Playing the video will send your IP address to an external server.

Show video