The consortium is building upon established standards of analogue research traditions and applying them to the different contexts of digital research data, thus opening up new research paths while also anchoring digital research firmly in the accumulated research traditions and ethical standards of the participant disciplines. Through this approach, those communication links that have already emerged between historically engaged research and the digital humanities can be deepened and productively developed.
4Memory aims to integrate historical data that comes in widely different data formats and that results from numerous specific application contexts and requirements. These include, among others, texts ranging from antiquity to the modern era, images, photos, audio and video recordings, statistics, structured data, metadata, ontologies, and hypertexts. 4Memory also focuses on personal data, spatial structures, and changes in classification systems and categories over time.
In terms of quality management and in order to have research results acknowledged as scholarly output, the consortium also aims to establish systems for evaluating digital research in the form of digital reviews equivalent to the high standards set by existing peer-review procedures. Its participating disciplines make 4Memory particularly qualified to reflect on the methodological and epistemological dimensions of the digital revolution. As digital literacy is not widespread among the historically engaged disciplines, we need a structured way to enable historical research in the future.
The consortium is thus engaged in working out a range of topics – whether establishing standards and norms for historical research data, enabling access to and the preservation of that data, or ensuring their quality and re-usability – that require an engagement on many levels, whether the concrete issues of software- and application-development or the seemingly more theoretical (though also eminently practical) concerns about the meaning of “digital source criticism” and “data literacy”.