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About the project

Textbooks are an ideal source for the investigation of worldviews, constructed universes of meaning, and values in relation to social cohesion and the political rationales by which societies seek to legitimate themselves.

In August 2009, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) embarked upon the digitalisation of its collection of historic textbooks from Germany for a number of selected school subjects. This endeavour has included the task of supplementing the GEI‘s holdings with textbooks digitalised in other libraries and by digitalising textbooks from cooperating libraries. The GEI‘s long-term aim is to create a single collection encompassing, as far as possible, all textbooks originating from the period from the seventeenth century to the fall of Nazism and held by German libraries, most of which are currently difficult for researchers to access. It seeks to create digital records of these works and their content and make full-text versions of them available to the academic community and other users around the world. A further benefit of the project is intended to be the long-term preservation of these textbooks as national cultural treasures.

The current phase of the project is focusing on out-of-copyright works published between the inception of the textbook genre in the seventeenth century and the demise of imperial Germany in 1918. The GEI‘s future plans for digitalisation of historic textbooks extend beyond this period. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has been funding the project in the context of various of its funding lines since 2009.

The GEI worked with the Göttingen Digitisation Centre, based at the State and University Library of Göttingen, and the Research Library for the History of Education (BBF) of the German Institute for International Educational Research to draw up the project. The Institute also received support from the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel and the library of the University of Augsburg.

Part of the project‘s work will entail creating digital versions of all illustrations contained in the textbooks and archiving them in the digital image archive of the BBF, Pictura Paedagogica Online.

The servers, saving and backup systems for the project are being hosted by the Gauss IT Centre of the TU Braunschweig on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the university and the GEI, ensuring that the content generated in GEI-Digital will be preserved in the long term. The MIK-Center in Berlin Berlin is conducting the digitalisation of the content using the Goobi open source system.

You can read more about the institutions and organisations involved in the project on our partners page.

Digitisation advisory board

We are delighted to have been able to recruit a panel of experts to advise us on areas of focus for our project. The experts are: Prof. Wolfgang Jacobmeyer (professor emeritus, University of Münster), Prof. Luigi Cajani (University of Rome), Prof. Heidemarie Kemnitz (TU Braunschweig) and Dr Christian Ritzi (BBF Berlin).