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HRA15 Encyclopedia Database

Database for Research on Transfer of Knowledge in Encyclopedias

Koordination: Joachim Kurtz, Barbara Mittler, Madeleine Herren-Oesch, Kaja Müller-Wang, Jens Østergaard Petersen


The Encyclopedia Database arose from Project D11, “Hidden Grammars of Transculturality – Migration of Encyclopaedic Knowledge and Power”. The database is an exhibition of selected digitalized source material with various functions of search and comparison, as well as an interactive platform for discussion.


The purpose of the Encyclopedia Database is to “make the hidden grammars of transculturality visible”. We define as encyclopedic writings such works that strive to present a comprehensive account of knowledge. Yet every piece of work is shaped by what we call “hidden grammars”: the larger historical background of the time and place, as well as the circumstances of writing and publication of the concrete piece of work. By unfolding these layers in a clear structure, we try to draw a map of knowledge in space and time, and to trace back the cultural appropriation of key terms and concepts as they reveal their history in encyclopedic writings. The database presents a selected range of key terms in selected encyclopedias of the 19th and 20th century in a user-friendly environment. In addition, the it provides a set of functionality for internal and external search for related information, as well as an extended commenting function and further research results on the background of single works, authors, selected articles, information on the way of how articles got into the encyclopedic works, and various hints that can be found in the prefaces of the works or in external sources like publishing lists, accounts of readership and diaries of contemporary persons who may have read these works.

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