Towards a knowledge base of late medieval elites

The aim of the project “Collaborative Open Research-Environment (CORE-H): A Digital Research Environment for the Humanities. Requirement analysis and first prototypical implementation using the example of research into southwest and central German humanism” is the first step towards realising a vision of a digital and collaborative research environment for the humanities. To this end, the requirements for the research environment for historical research topics will be specified and individual functionalities will be implemented in a prototypical way.

Objectives & Approach

The digital research environment should help to reorganize the research process as a computer-supported workflow. To the outside world, the research environment presents itself to the users as a “digital assistant”, where we take our cue from a famous analog prototype – “Luhmann’s Zettelkasten”.

Network of annuity payments to the papal curia under Pope Sixtus V (1471-1484)

As a best-practice model for our research environment, we have chosen the study of learned elites of the late Middle Ages. The basis for our research are the Repertorium Germanicum, the Germania Sacra and the Regesta Imperii, from which we want to generate prosopographic knowledge about the scholars and clerics of the Late Middle Ages. All three repertories belong to the largest data collections for German medieval sources at all and are available in digitalised form, which makes them analysable with semi-automatic evaluation methods such as text mining. They contain thousands of registers and information deriving from the late medieval Vatican registers, imperial charters and historiographical sources, thus providing a large amount of prosopographical data.

Letter networks of Johannes Eck and Philipp Melanchthon in pre-reformatory times

The project is conducted by the Working Group Digital Modells, Explanations and Processes in the historical sciences (MEPHisto) at the University of Jena.

Project Partners

German Historical Institute in Rome (
Regesta Imperii (
Germania Sacra (
Chair of Medieval History Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (
Working Group Artifical Intelligence Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (