Syllabus digitale Geschichtswissenschaft

Einführung in die digitale Praxis in den Geschichtswissenschaften

Syllabus: Introduction to Digital Practice in the Historical Sciences

Level: BA/MA

Workload: 2.5 ECTS

Topic: Digital History/Digital Humanities

Type: Lecture & Excercise

Time: 62.5 hours


Course Description

Digital Humanities is a term used for a diverse field of digital approaches in humanities research. Digital history is considered part of this field, and for a long time did not develop independently either as a discipline or as a specific method. Nowadays, however, this has changed significantly. Promoted by rapid technological developments, enormous digitization efforts, changing educational needs, and because of the boom in so-called public history, the methodological as well as academic involvement in the field has increased.

Understanding digitization processes, possibilities for analysis and visualization tools as well as applying digital methods nevertheless remains a complex challenge for historians. At the same time, digital methods can be trained, and existing tools can be used without advanced computer science skills. This course therefore introduces some digital humanities and/or digital history approaches, gives insights into the use of various useful tools, and trains students in the handling of digital methods. In addition, special attention is paid to critically reflecting on the effects of digitalization on our societies.

The changes in historical research and teaching due to the “digital turn” are at the heart of the course. Digital research resources, archives, libraries, appropriate source and media criticism will be discussed theoretically and tried out in practice, as will corpus linguistic approaches and new visualization possibilities or the use of social media for teaching history. Using practical examples (digitized historical newspapers), a digital history project will be carried out from scratch, that is: scanning the material, creating a digital corpus, transcribing and annotating as well as analyzing and visualizing the corpus and finally digitally narrating results.


No special Computer Science skills are necessary. A basic understanding of computers and historical studies as well as the willingness to get involved with new things are good prerequisites. Students will work on independent projects and get to know different methods using guided digital "workouts", which will ultimately lead to an online presentation of their projects in the sense of a digital public history.


Attendance and regular active collaboration. It is expected that students come to class prepared (that is: prepared to discuss the reading material and the video/audio material etc.) and actively participate (discuss their own projects, give critical feedback, test tools and methods, digitize historical material for their own project, etc.) 30%
Download (digitize), process, edit and annotate a corpus of historical material 30%
Write four blog posts critically reflecting digital historical methods 30%
Presentation of project in a seven-minute podcast (minimum) 10%

Student learning objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to critically examine the relationship between digital technologies and the humanities in the past and today, think critically about various standards, applications, and tools within the digital humanities; critically discuss digital humanities projects, current methods and theoretical approaches to the field; identify opportunities and limitations that exist at the intersections of the digital humanities; plan, develop, and evaluate digital humanities research projects; critically reflect on the impact of the digitization of our societies, talk about fake news and alternative facts and compare the developments to historical events.


Tools and digital methods

Course calendar



Virtual Classroom (VC) &

Online self-learning unit (OS)

Module 1: Introduction

Workload, Course Content, “rules of the course” etc.; blogging the history sphere, course blog

Homework: Digital Workout I

Course blog:



Module 2: Digital History & Digital Humanities, Concepts, Projects, Resources & Copyright

HW: Digital Workout II


Module 3: The internet as archive

HW: Digital Workout III
Google Trends,
Internet Archive Wayback-Machine,
Internet Archive Wayback Machine Link Ripper,
Microsofts Screenshot One Pro


Module 4:From paper to digital data (DocScan, Transkribus, ANNO, NewsEye)

HÜ: Digital Workout IV
DocScan App:
NewsEye Platform,


Module 5: Frequencies, collocations, co-occurences etc.

HW: Digital Workout V
Voyant Tools,
NewsEye Platform,

Blog post I


Module 6: Text Mining & Data Mining

HW: Digital Workout VI
Voyant Tools,
NewsEye Platform,


Module 7: Topic Modeling

HW: Digital Workout VII
Voyant Tools,
NewsEye Platform,

Blog post II


Module 8: Historische Netzwerkanalyse

HW: Digital Workout VIII

Blogbeitrag III


Module 9:Geo-Visualisation, Geo-Referencing

HW: Digital Workout IX
The Programming Historian,
Tim Waters Mapwarper-Projekt,


Module 10: Digital Storytelling: Timelines, StoryMap, Juxtapose

HW: Digital Workout X

Blogbeitrag IV


Final discussion: Digital World Café, Podcasts etc.