GEI-Digital is a long-term project and has been realised as part of several third-party financed projects since 2009.

OCR4all-libraries – full text recognition in historical collections

The collaboration between the Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (GEI), the Zentrum für Philologie und Digitalität ‘Kallimachos‘ (ZPD) and the Chair of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU) aims to expand and modify the GUI-based open source tool OCR4all so that that libraries and archives can flexibly and independently use the low-threshold solutions developed within the OCR-D project in their mass digitisation programmes. The GEI Research Library’s digitisation of seventeenth and eighteenth century textbooks serves as the use case.

Duration: 2021 - 2023

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)


Islam in German Reading Primers

Working closely with the research project ‘Islam in German Reading Primers: An Analysis of Discourse on Islam 1870–1918‘ led by Prof. Christian Dawidowski at the University of Osnabrück, between 2017 and 2020 the GEI’s Research Library digitised the collection of reading primers from the period of the German Empire

Duration: 2017 – 2020

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)



GLOTREC is a central strategic undertaking that consolidates the GEI’s capabilities in the fields of digitisation, internationalisation and applied inter and transdisciplinary research. It is structured around the academic requirements of educational media research, a field that involves many different disciplines and methodological approaches. GLOTREC brings together the GEI’s expertise and educational media collections with those of other international libraries and research institutions.

Duration: 2020 – 2022

Funding: GEI (through special federal funding)


Subjects for Democracy. Current Challenges and Opportunities in Democracy Education (DEMOS)

The DemoS research project, which is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to produce a comprehensive review of democracy education in Germany, both in practice and as a subject and objective of political education at secondary level general education and vocational schools as well as in examples of specialist teacher training. The Research Library is working within a sub-project to digitise relevant materials and is thus helping to create a baseline for research into copyrighted textbooks within the framework of the Urheberrechts-Wissensgesellschafts-Gesetz (UrhWissG) (law on copyright in a knowledge society).

Duration: 2019 – 2022

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Digitisation of German Textbooks for Different Subjects up to 1918

The GEI has begun to create a virtual collection of German historical textbooks for subjects that foster a sense of meaning and identity. The aim is bring together textbooks that are particularly sought after by researchers and that are sometimes hard to access, specifically works dating from the seventeenth century to the end of the National Socialist period, which will be captured, both in terms of content and format, and made accessible, virtually and without barriers, to researchers. The unique international textbook collection held at the GEI forms the core of this source material, through which academics can investigate the symbolic worlds of meaning and values through which societies create social cohesion and establish political legitimacy. These works are therefore of particular significance as subjects of research and as source materials for the academic disciplines of cultural and social studies and the humanities. Access to the digitised material is provided by the GEI-Digital infrastructure, which is being expanded through the integration of external digitised material.

Duration: 2009 – 2016

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)


A series of projects have been launched in recent years that use content from GEI-Digital. An overview of some of these projects and the digital tools employed by them is given below. Other examples can be passed on to the core project team using the contact link.


Data curation for research into historical educational media

The aim of this project is to better support historical research through the use of digital source material. Processes and techniques have been developed through the application of a use case, which allows the data contained within GEI-Digital to be flexibly curated, processed and expanded.

The project works with a selection of historical educational media whose provenance is varied: works that have already been digitised – either with or without OCR generated full texts – and are available from the GEI or other libraries, as well as works that currently only exist in analogue collections held by the GEI or other libraries. The OCR4all software suite and LAREX are used, and modified if necessary, in order to optimise the full texts and mark up the structure of the source material. By creating the appropriate interfaces these tools and the guidelines for quality control that have yet to be defined will be available for use by libraries and individual researchers as part of the Edumeres toolbox.

Duration: 2021 – 2022

Funding: GEI


DiaCollo for GEI-Digital

DiaCollo is an open-source software product for diachronic collocation analysis. It was developed in 2015 by Bryan Jurish at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities’ Research centre language as part of the software development within the joint project CLARIN-D, and is being continually improved through a cooperative joint venture with the working group for historical studies.

Duration: 2020

Funding: GEI


Semantic Concepts in textbooks (SEMKOS)

The Digital Information and Research Infrastructure department is creating a prototype for a digital annotation tool that can continually learn and improve through use, and which is based on a comprehensive needs and requirements analysis. The prototype enables texts to be collaboratively marked up and classified, directly in the digitised material. Words and phrases are linked with entries in a common standard file (GND): these links can be compared, exported and visualised. This tool has been created in response to the rapidly growing number of digital and digitised textbooks, and facilitates research for academics by providing new methods and approaches.

Duration: 2018 – 2019

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Children and their World: Knowledge and Interpretations of the World in Textbooks and Children's Books between 1850 and 1918

Through close cooperation between historians, computer linguists and information scientists the E-Humanities project ‘Children and their World’ aimed to provide new insights into a period of accelerated knowledge generation that was shaped by both globalisation and nationalisation. Instruments were developed through transdisciplinary explorative research for the analysis of large (digital) corpora of source material, which were suitable for the semantics of different educational media in the nineteenth century and revealed ‘qualitative’ structures.

Duration: 2014 – 2017

Funding: Leibniz Association


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