Digital Hermeneutics II: Sources, Analysis, Interpretation, Annotation, and Curation

Veranstalter: Matthias Hemmje, Almut Leh, Uta Störl, Dennis Möbus, Binh Vu, Helmut Hofbauer, Christian Nawroth

23. November bis 24. November 2023 in Frankfurt am Main

Foto: akinbostanci / Getty Images

Digitization has reached almost all areas of science and scholarship. And even in the cultural sciences and humanities, computers, databases and digital tools are increasingly important. Last year's annual conference "Digital Hermeneutics: Machines, Procedures, Meaning" of the research cluster digital_culture dealt with the theoretical and conceptual challenges inherent in hermeneutic methods, tools, and applications. The results of the conference supported understanding and meaning, when algorithms, programs, machines, and other technical procedures contribute to it[1]. Following up on these initial theoretical and conceptual results, we now want to address more technical aspects of methods, technologies, tools, and applications supporting Digital Hermeneutics under the title "Digital Hermeneutics II: Sources, Analysis, Interpretation, Annotation, Curation" and take a look at digitally supported hermeneutic research processes and anticipate the future of digitized working practices in the cultural sciences and humanities.

Without such digital support systems, it will no longer be possible to index, find, annotate, and curate the ever-growing number of digitally available resources for research data. Digital systems are also already in use for analyzing, indexing, enriching, and annotating multimedia data. But what about systems that support the analysis, annotation, and interpretation of digital research data – thus: representation of hermeneutic methods – and their results as well as supporting machine learning, reasoning, and finally automating the documentation of annotation, interpretation, and understanding?

In an exchange between humanities scholars and computer scientists, we want to explore the possibilities and limits of the vision of digitally supported hermeneutics circling around the following questions:

  • Digitization processes bear the risk of information loss or structural shifts and biases. How can these risks be dealt with?
  • The transformation of sources to data involves coding and enables the enrichment with information. How does one deal with the loss of the original source characteristics? Do standardizations promote a focus on unifying features of different sources or can nuances and deviations also be mapped?
  • Do the questions and epistemological interests of humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences change the availability, quality, and quantity of sources in the form of data?
  • How can algorithms and tools support, possibly even expand, research questions and epistemological interests in the humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences?
  • Can computer science also benefit from the discussion of methods in the humanities, social sciences, and cultural studies?


12:00 - 12:30   Welcome and Introduction
12:30 - 13:30 Keynote Andreas Fickers: Working on the “Digital Hermeneutics Cookbook”.
Some recipes for turning “raw” into “cooked” data
13:30 - 15:00 Panel I Digital Hermeneutics – Problem Statements
13:30 - 13:45   Michael Piotrowski: Model, Corpus, Interpretation: Elements of Computational Hermeneutics
13:45 - 14:00   Discussion
14:00 - 14:15   Bianca Mix: Towards an Evidence Storage for Hermeneutic Argumentation in a Knowledge Management System
14:15 - 14:30   Discussion
14:30 - 14:45   Carlos Manuel Romero Torrado: Soft and Hard Digital Hermeneutics. From Close Reading to Data Analysis
14:45 - 15:00   Discussion
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee  
15:30 - 17:00 Panel II From Data to Scientific Questions for Digital Hermeneutics
15:30 - 15:45   Isabelle Sarther: Infrastructures of Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age.
An Empirical Study of the Auschwitz Museum on Twitter.
15:45 - 16:00   Discussion
16:00 - 16:15   Alexander Friedrich: Digital History of Concepts with the Word Sense Induction Based Research Tool SCoT. Application Examples and Methodological Questions
16:15 - 16:30   Discussion
16:30 - 16:45   Onur Engin: “Noise Everywhere”: A Quantitative Textual Analysis of Travelers’ Accounts in Late Ottoman Istanbul
16:45 - 17:00   Discussion
17:00 - 18:30 Panel III From Data to Scientific Methods for Digital Hermeneutics
17:00 - 17:15   Alexa Lucke: On the Benefits of Natural Language Processing in the Computational Analysis of Literary Texts
17:15 - 17:30   Discussion
17:30 - 17:45   Shahriyar Babaki, Shital Bagankar: Topic Extraction from Biographical Interviews
17:45 - 18:00   Discussion
18:00 - 18:15   Lucija Mandić: Topics of the Literary Canon: A Case Study of 19th-century Slovenian Narrative Prose
18:15 - 18:30   Discussion
18:30 - 19:30 Snack  
19:30 - 20:30 Keynote Julianne Nyhan: Towards a Digital Hermeneutic Proving Ground? Multimodal Oral History: Prospects and Limits
20:30 Get-together
Fr., 24.11.    
09:00 - 10:00 Keynote Joris van Zundert: Hermeneutics as an Interdisciplinary Means of Understanding
10:00 - 11:30 Panel IV Sustainable Data Management for Digital Hermeneutics
10:00 - 10:15   Anja Haque: Co-Creating in Practice. Work Formats, Decision-Making, and Managing Research Logics in the Interdisciplinary Work for the D-WISE Tool- Suite
10:15 - 10:30   Discussion
10:30 - 10:45   Alexander Duttenhöfer: Towards Supporting Digital Hermeneutic Application with Emerging Knowledge and Argumentation Detection through Vocabulary Evolution Analysis
10:45 - 11:00   Discussion
11:00 - 11:15   Cord Pagenstecher: Oral-History.Digital – Qualitative Data, Quantitative Methods, Ethical Questions
11:15 - 11:30   Discussion
11:30 - 11:45 Snack  
11:45 - 13:15 Panel V Costs and Benefits of Digital Hermeneutics
11:45 - 12:00   Fabio Roman Lieder, Burkhard Schäffer: Reconstructive Social Research in the “Uncanny Valley“? Orientations of Empirical Social Researchers Towards AI-Assisted Interpretation
12:00 - 12:15   Discussion
12:15 - 12:30   Edel Ennis: Applications of Digital Hermeneutics to Suicide Prevention and Digital Mental Health
12:30 - 12:45   Discussion
12:45 - 13:00   Flavia Ferrigno: On the Relationship Between Privacy and Memory
13:00 - 13:15   Discussion
13:15 - 14:00   Conclusion and Outlook

Book of Abstracts


Language & Venue

The workshop language is English and it will take place on the Frankfurt Campus of the FernUniversität in Hagen:
Walther-von-Cronberg-Platz 16, 5th floor
60594 Frankfurt am Main


If you are interested in joining the conference as a guest, please send a mail to dennis.moebus. No fee will be charged, the external get-together is on self-pay basis. Please let us know, if you will be present for only one of the days or both.

Scientific and Organizational Committee:

Valentina Bachi, Photoconsortium
Marco Xaver Bornschlegl, FernUniversität in Hagen
Swati Chandna, SRH Univ. of Heidelberg
Felix Engel, TIB – German National Library
Lina Franken, Univ. Vechta
Antonella Fresa, Promoter S.r.l.
Ingo Frommholz, Univ. of Wolverhampton
Matthias Hemmje, FernUniversität in Hagen
Helmut Hofbauer, FernUniversität in Hagen
Almut Leh, FernUniversität in Hagen
Michael McTear, Ulster University, Belfast
Bianca Mix, FernUniversität in Hagen
Dennis Möbus, FernUniversität in Hagen
Christian Nawroth, FernUniversität in Hagen
Muskaan Singh, Ulster University, Magee
Uta Störl, FernUniversität in Hagen
Manés Torres, Univ. of the Basque Country – UPV/EHU
Tom van Nuenen, Univ. of Cal. Berkeley
Joris van Zundert, Huygens Institute Amsterdam
Jan-Niklas Voigt-Antons, Univ. of Hamm-Lippstadt
Binh Vu, SRH Univ. Heidelberg