Copernico. History and Cultural Heritage in Eastern Europe

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Peter Haslinger, Barbara Fichtl M.A.

Project Coordination: Dr. Antje Johanning-Radžienė
Project Staff: Felix Köther M.A., Stefan Lange M.A. (bis 12/2019), Sebastian Weiß B.A., Nico Wiethof M.A., Philipp Horstmeier M.A., Patrick Paul Kopec M.A., Veit Lorenz B.A., Henrik Vollbracht, Hilke Wagner B.A., Melina Werneburg M.A.
Funding: Bundesbeauftragte für Kultur und Medien (BKM)
Duration: 02/2019 – 12/2022

The project aim is to build the new topic and transfer portal Copernico. History and Cultural Heritage in Eastern Europe, which will go online in German and English in 2021. It will present well-founded knowledge and current research results in an attractive and easy-to-understand way, while at the same time increasing the national and international visibility of the partners involved and offering added value to the scientific community with its research tools.

Projektbild Copernico
Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

Multidimensional knowledge transfer

During the initial phase, the portal will mainly consist of two areas: In a research module, projects, collection holdings, exhibitions, publication series, online resources and funding programs of the network and the participating partners themselves will be described in a structured and standard-based manner and will be searchable via a faceted search.

Parallel to this, a specialized magazine will feature articles on selected key topics, presenting both introductory content for interested beginners and more in-depth thematic formats. There are plans to include picture galleries and online exhibitions, map modules and multimedia content (for example, podcasts and short films), as well as introductory texts, biographical articles, annotated text sources, presentations of museum objects, in-depth background articles, interviews with experts and links to other online services and resources. The first magazine will feature the two main topics: migration history and music cultures, the latter entitled “Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen” (in all things there sleeps a song).

Die Visualisierung des Portalkonzeptes mit den zu Beginn beteiligten Partnern (Eva Duwenkamp/Outermedia)

The technical basis: interoperability and sustainability

The portal deliberately removes the separation between low-threshold knowledge transfer and scientifically based data models and places a special focus on technical interoperability and sustainability. The contributions for the topic and research module are recorded using the digiCULT network’s digiCULT.web software, which is based on the base classes of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model and is interoperable with LIDO, the XML data format established within and for the cultural heritage sector. All contents are linked to a specially built multilingual polyhierarchical thesaurus (digiCULT.xTree), which controls the faceted search of the portal. In addition, the portal accesses supplementary databases (a database of places and geographical terms and a database of persons and institutions). Established tools and methods from the fields of user experience and user research have been used since the conception phase.

The partner network

The initial project partners are institutions of various sizes, which are funded by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in accordance with §96 BVFG and deal with the history and culture of the German-speaking communities in Eastern Europe. In the course of the project, the portal network will be expanded to include further and especially foreign research and cultural heritage organizations. Twice a year, partner and networking meetings take place, which lead onto a number of professional development opportunities and workshops. A core element of internal communication is the project info center, which provides the most important information on the project in the form of a wiki.

Part of the internal networking strategy is also improved alignment across sector-specific workplaces: A sub-project, which ran until early-2020, examined the indexing and documentation practices of the eleven participating museums and developed a metadata field catalogue that can be connected to all the museums.


Facebook page:

Twitter profile:


copernico ist online
Copernico is online