Legal History meets Digital Humanities

Digital Longevity: Learnings from the (Digital) History Project Stadt.Geschichte.Basel

by Dr Moritz Mähr

Lecture Hall (Z01) (Hybrid Format: online and in Frankfurt)

Lecture Hall (Z01)

Hybrid Format: online and in Frankfurt

Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory Hansaallee 41, 60323 Frankfurt am Main

This session explores the critical challenge of digital longevity in the field of digital history, with a focus on the public history project Stadt.Geschichte.Basel. It highlights the Endings Project at the University of Victoria, which proposes a comprehensive framework of principles to ensure the sustainability of digital projects. These principles emphasize the importance of open data formats, detailed documentation, rigorous editing, user-centric product design without server-side dependencies, and a strategic release management protocol to mitigate the risks associated with a potential "digital dark age". The Stadt.Geschichte.Basel project exemplifies the application of these principles and demonstrates how a publicly funded digital history initiative can achieve long-term preservation and openness. The project highlights the need for ongoing stakeholder engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the application of user-centered design for inclusive and effective user participation. It emphasizes the importance of iterative refinement in the development process to address the technical and organizational complexities inherent in multi-stakeholder settings. By extracting best practices from the Stadt.Geschichte.Basel experience, this session contributes to the discourse on project management in digital history and serves as a guide for creating resilient, user-centered, and sustainably managed digital resources.

More information on the principles of digital longetivity adopted in the project can be found here.

Dr. sc. Moritz Mähr is an Associate Researcher in Digital Humanities at the University of Bern and the digital project manager of Stadt.Geschichte.Basel at the University of Basel. His research interests include science and technology studies, digital humanities, and the history of computing. He is an advocate of open science, open access and open source.

Recommended reading


Drucker, Johanna. 2021. The Digital Humanities Coursebook: An Introduction to Digital Methods for Research and Scholarship. Routledge.

Goddard, Lisa, and Dean Seeman. 2020. “Negotiating Sustainability: Building Digital Humanities Projects That Last.” In Doing More Digital Humanities: Open Approaches to Creation, Growth, and Development, edited by Constance Crompton, Richard J. Lane, and Raymond George Siemens. London ; New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Kemman, Max, and Martijn Kleppe. 2015. “User Required? On the Value of User Research in the Digital Humanities.” In Selected Papers from the CLARIN 2014 Conference, edited by Jan Odijk, 63–74. Linköping, Sweden.

The Endings Project Team. 2023. “Endings Principles for Digital Longevity Version 2.2.1.” Endings Principles for Digital Longevity. March 3, 2023. 

Organized by

Permanent Seminar 'Legal History meets Digital Humanities' (Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory)