Friday, August 17, 2012

RSS feeds for early modern German studies: quality and quantity

After a few weeks away, I returned to my office and started up Thunderbird, which I use to keep track of RSS feeds. This is what I found:

Bayerischer Multimediaserver. This includes two feeds and appears to be quite active. Most of the digitalized works are from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, however. As with many of these RSS feeds, it would be nice if the libraries would provide feeds for specific centuries.

Berlin. August is a slow month. Over twice as many titles will sometimes appear on a single day. Again, most of the items are from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, but some of the World War One-era items are fascinating and unique, and I've used them in teaching, so a little variety can be useful.

BSB München. One of the largest and most active projects, with a large fraction of the digitalized items from the sixteenth century.

Darmstadt Inkunabeln. This came as  a surprise. I had expected this project to be already completed, or to produce only a few items, but it turns out to be quite active. And every single one is from the fifteenth century.

dilibri Rheinland-Pfalz. This is my new favorite project, with nearly all of its digitalizations from the sixteenth century. Like several other RSS feeds, it appears to have a limit of the fifty most recent items. I wish this were set higher. Most of the works here fall within the broad discipline of the history of science, with perhaps a majority from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. RSS limit of fifty.

Halle. What I like about the Uni Halle RSS feed is that it only includes works from the sixteenth century. They provide feeds for later centuries and specific types of material as well. RSS limit of fifty.

Heidelberg - Druckschriften. I've given this one a misleading name, as I also include their RSS feed for manuscripts. The Heidelberg manuscripts are quite interesting, but at the moment the printed works are dominated by auction catalogs and nineteenth-century art historical journals. I assume the focus changes as the digitalization proceeds. I like the high RSS limit.

SLUB Dresden. Like, it also appears to be strong in history of science, and perhaps with an emphasis on the eighteenth century. RSS limit of fifty. One issue with the Dresden RSS feed is that I only get OAI locators through Thunderbird, which doesn't know how to turn them into URLs. A different RSS reader might not have the same problem, but with Thunderbird, I have to check the SLUB Dresden website if I come across a promising title.

ULB Düsseldorf. RSS limit of fifty. At the moment, most of the digitalized works are nineteenth-century Gymnasium programs, which often contain scholarly articles in the humanities. Another recent digitalized item is Bartholomäus Ghotan's 1492 Lübeck edition of Birgitta's Revelationes.

Uni Augsburg, Uni München. Nothing. Either they have both paused work in August, or their digitalization projects are complete, or no longer active.

Wolfenbüttel. It appears to have a low RSS limit of twenty. Wolfebüttel focuses on digitalization of seventeenth-century editions, but works from earlier centuries turn up periodically as well.

Several of these libraries do provide more specific thematic RSS feeds, but I subscribed to the ones that best match my own research interests. People with different interests are going to be more enthusiastic about some RSS feeds and less enthusiastic about others. Compared to the way things were a few years ago, however, every day is Christmas. I can browse as many titles in a few minutes in my office as I could on one of those rare occasions when I had physical access to the card catalog of a major German research library.

1 comment:

  1. Expect the numbers of 18th century prints to rise, because German libraries are starting "VD 18", the successor project to the mass digitisation of 16th and 17th century prints.