Edition of the Augsburger Masters Builders' Ledgers

DFG-Project: Methods of Digital Humanities in the processing and exploration medieval account books - Possibilities and limitations by the example of the digital edition of the Augsburg Master Builders' Ledgers

An exceptional source of more than regional importance is available in the Imperial City of Augsburg with the account books known as the “Master Builders’ Ledgers” (BMB) after the city councillors responsible for keeping the accounts. Almost unbroken from 1320 until 1800, year after year, almost the entire expenditure and in part receipts of the city and council of Augsburg are recorded in them. The Master Builders’ Ledgers are therefore an outstanding source, not only for economic and administrative history questions, but in particular also for questions concerning social and cultural studies.

During the project, the medieval account books of the City of Augsburg for the period from 1320 until 1466 will be dealt with first, in order to prepare them for an online presentation. The medieval texts will be recorded with the help of digital transcription tools. The texts transcribed in this way will be provided with a specialist commentary with further information about persons, places, institutions, as well as about the time and factual context. In collaboration with the Competence Centre for Electronic Accessing and Publication Procedures in the Humanities of the University of Trier and Mainz University Library, an online presentation of the BMB is being created that in future will be searchable and freely accessible online. A further aim of the project is to develop the technologies and methods employed further and make them applicable for comparable projects.

The methodology of Digital Humanities is utilised in a twofold respect: on the one hand, in the editorial preparation of the historic material and, on the other, this type of processing makes possible the (later) systematic assessment of the data material available in a structured form. What is being aimed for is the possibility of the automated assessment of the account books by EDP means, e.g. in order to visualise wage or price developments. IT-aided accessing, in which the editorial processing and the digital acquisition mesh together, facilitates the manageability of the material handed down on a huge scale and opens up new possibilities of evaluation.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Jörg Rogge
Project team members: Simone Würz M.A., Sarah Schrade M.A., Dr. Stefan Grathoff
Further persons involved: Claudine Moulin (University of Trier), Andreas Brandtner (Mainz University Library)
Duration until: June 2014 – May 2019