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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Universitätsbibliothek – Virtual Research Network Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer and his work are among the most prominent topics of research in history of art. The renaissance artist is of special scientific value as the best-documented German artist of his era. The huge body of research focused on Dürer makes it a major challenge to maintain an overview of this scholarship. More specifically, the catalogues of drawings and paintings by Dürer published decades ago are now outdated; there is a huge body of original research about individual works; there now exist many digital resources published by different organisations that are often incompatible with each other; and many cross-links between texts and pictures are missing. The huge volume and diversity of sources, and the continued interest in the artist by scholars, make Dürer the ideal object for a digital platform. offers a platform interoperable with other infrastructures which integrates existing digital resources, allows antiquated data formats to be connected, and facilitates updating of the resource with new data. It will pool knowledge, digitally combine dispersed data, making it a new invaluable resource for the digital humanities.

The first project phase (three years) shall be dedicated to annotating cross-links between relevant articles and other resources. In particular, this will focus on highlighting Dürer’s relationship to the art market of the time, to princes, patricians and academics, as well as to art theory and the concept of the artist in the Renaissance. In particular, this will focus on providing links to Dürer’s printed works. This work will be catalogued and linked according to art history best-practices.

The TEI-based edition of Dürer’s writings - which is in part synoptic – as well as the core of Dürer’s oeuvre and his reception history will form the initial basis for the collection. The first phase will deal with the collections of the city of Nuremberg, the Albrecht-Dürer-Haus Foundation (Nuremberg), the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nuremberg) and the Albertina (Vienna), containing works which are explicitly named in the artist’s written records. These works will be documented according to the rules of art-historical research, including semantic links within the collection connections to external resources via hyperlinks.

This work will use the „Wissenschaftliche KommunikationsInfrasturktur (WissKI)“, a virtual research environment, which will enable us to implement a digital humanities application in line with current standards. Data classification and storage will be based around and using ISO standards 21127 (CIDOC-CRM) with the aid of the Gemeinsame Normdatei GND. By partnering with the Heidelberg University Library (HUL), the project ensures integration of the resources into, HUL’s specialized information service for art, photography, and design. This guarantees the connectivity and sustainability of the resulting resource.

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