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RetroDig

Standardised work flows for retro-digitalisation: a case study of the excavation records of the roman fort of Heidelberg-Neuenheim

Coordination: Eric Decker, Armin Volkmann

Abstract

Retro-digitalisation of the excavation diary; editors draft for annotation of text and image section with person name markings; source: excavation dairy "Heukemes" of the excavation "Kastellweg 1975" Kurpfälzische Museum Stadt Heidelberg ©.

Retro-digitalisation of the excavation diary; editors draft for annotation of text and image section with person name markings; source: excavation dairy "Heukemes" of the excavation "Kastellweg 1975" Kurpfälzische Museum Stadt Heidelberg ©.

The Project RetroDig develops infrastructure and workflows for retro-digitalisation and academic analysis of paper-based documents.

The focus is on preserving information gained from the work. As a case study the present and so far unpublished documentation of the roman fort excavation in Heidelberg-Neuenheim in the 1970th were reprocessed since they were only analog so far. Due to the course of the excavations, where researched records are mostly irrecoverable going to be destroyed, only the documentation of records is the only way for ongoing studies. Production methods, storage conditions, environmental influences and also the simple touching of paper documents are reducing the span of life and threaten the recorded data upon it.
The goal of the project is the analysis and extraction of the containing information at very little effort. For a prospective usage in the field of digital humanities the information will be stored as a lasting, interoperable data type. Therefore already developed digital tools will be used, modified and provided as a cheap and lasting open-source solution.
The results of the case study can be used disciplinary in research and teaching – on the other hand the developed infrastructure can be used interdisciplinary in other academic fields.
The project is a cooperation of the Junior Research Group Digital Humanities and the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA) at the Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context together with the Kurpfälzisches Museum of the city Heidelberg. The project is financed through the "Field of Focus 3: Cultural Dynamics in Globalised Worlds" for one year and started on April 1st 2015.

« SARIT HRA1 Restructuring the conceptual field »

Digital Outcome

Screenshot showing the ann-y-can annotation tool.

During the project the complete excavation documentation has been digitized and transcribed. The metadata has been encoded in VRA-XML and stored in the Cluster's Research Environment. The access to the material is restricted.

In addition a prototype of an annotation tool (ann-y-can) was developed. Ann-y-can is available as Open Source Software.

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Student Assistants

Dirk Eller
Rebekka Müller