May 3

Forum | 03. May 2021

Forum Standards for 4Culture Data – Invitation to Talk

Close up of a typewriter with a paper inserted and the word "Standards" typed on it


"Close up of a typewriter with a paper inserted and the word "Standards" typed on it" CC BY-SA 3.0 Creator: Nick Youngson, Owner: The Blue Diamond Gallery

As part of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), the NFDI4Culture consortium launched in fall 2020 to provide and expand use-centered and research-driven infrastructures for a broad range of disciplines from musicology, art history, and architecture to theater, film, and media studies. The associated activities are intended to enable the sustainable, qualitative, and systematic preservation, indexing, and utilization of research data.

One focus of the work of the consortium, which is funded by the federal and state governments, is standards with regard to data formats, data quality, and data curation (Task Area 2). In the diverse field of cultural studies research data, priorities must be set over the next five years and precisely those topics must be addressed that are central to the scientific branches associated with NFDI4Culture. The agenda is not yet fixed; it is to be developed in dialogue with users from expert communities. Based on the impulses of the Culture Community Plenary on February 2nd, 2021, six topics with broad scope and relevant for more than one user community were selected and presented by experts. At the same time, sufficient opportunity was given to highlight individual aspects of these topics. A total of over 270 persons participated in the online event.

After an introduction of the objectives, the team and the work program of TA2 by the co-spokespersons Barbara Wiermann and Christian Bracht as well as by Patrick Primavesi, the speakers presented their topics in lightning talks. Then they went into greater depth in parallel 90-minute workshops that took place in parallel. The results were recorded on a joint board.


  1. Application of the MEI (Music Encoding Initiative) format to audiovisual data
    Benjamin W. Bohl (Bernd Alois Zimmermann-Gesamtausgabe, Musicological Institute, Goethe University Frankfurt a. M., Lightning Talk) and Axel Berndt (Center of Music and Film Informatics, Detmold University of Music)

  2. Data Models for Performance Data in the Performing Arts and Music
    Klaus Illmayer (Theadok, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Lightning Talk) and Andrea Hammes (FID Musicology, Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library)

  3. Primary research data requirements of digital image science, art history, and their neighboring disciplines
    Peter Bell (Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  4. Hot data - cold data: Quality management with the new LIDO version 1.1
    Regine Stein (Göttingen State and University Library)

  5. Extraction and automated classification of historical occupational titles
    Katrin Moeller (Historical Data Center Saxony-Anhalt, Institute for History of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)

  6. Re-Collecting Theatre History. Reflections on digital indexing of estates from a theater studies perspective
    Nora Probst (Theatre Studies Collection, University of Cologne)

The presentation of the workshop results was followed by a general discussion on the direction of the activities in the Task Area, While standards and data quality is a cross-cutting topic for almost all areas of the NFDI, it likewise touches on the everyday practice of many practical projects and initiatives. Resources are nonetheless limited, so it is necessary to prioritize the issues and assets to work on. As part of this analysis, the potential target groups must also be more closely defined and weighted: Are we addressing researchers, the larger public, civil society, or parts thereof? In accordance with NFDI's programmatic approach, researchers should be consistently identified as the primary target audience, but other user groups should also be considered. The challenge here is to balance specific interests with universal minimum standards, with the best possible feasibility for institutions and audiences.

It was discussed how general, cross-disciplinary or even interdisciplinary or how specific to certain subjects or issues the activities should be. Even though the initial interest to participate usually comes from the specific experiences and needs, the participants were clearly in favor of an overarching approach that bundles interrelated topics, identifies the cross-disciplinary common ground in questions of data modeling or use of authority data, and develops solutions from this level that can be re-used in many contexts. The cross-disciplinary challenge of modeling event data could be a good place to start. In doing so, NFDI4C would like to tie in with existing developments, expand them, support them and network them. There should be no competition between initiatives.

A larger forum event like this is intended to take place once a year. The dialogue with the community will be continued in a series of smaller topic-related events. Suggestions are welcome. The forum is thus constituted in the form of an open group of continuously engaged individuals. This group may also be approached in the future for Task Area activities, to enable the exchange of their expertise and collaboration between the Task Area and the professional communities.