Changing Geographical Names as a Challenge for Research and Gazetteer Management. Research Issues and Perspectives for Future Development

09.09.-11.09.2019, Herder Institute, Marburg

Veranstalter: The Herder Institute; The Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, LeipzigThe Justus Liebig University, Giessen

In many regions of the world, geographical names are the subject of heated debate. Often, they embody local or national identities; some names even express political or territorial claims. At the same time, gazetteers are a useful tool in everyday life and in research. However, existing gazetteers demonstrate great variation in content and metadata structure. These variations prove a severe hindrance to research that aims to compare data from different databases.

In 2019, researchers from the Herder Institute, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig and the Justus Liebig University Giessen will start work on a project exploring the content and metadata structure of existing gazetteers. The project is financed by the Leibniz Association. The project team will bring together historians, geographers and computer scientists. At the first workshop of our project, we will address the following questions:

- What do the various disciplines expect of gazetteers, regarding their content and their metadata structure? What could be the lowest common denominators for gazetteers mirroring spatio-temporal changes in geographical names?
- How will research institutes, libraries, archives, governmental institutions and citizen science initiatives further develop existing gazetteers?
- What kinds of spatial and spatio-temporal data modelling support the creation of digital gazetteers and are therefore suitable for further collaborative development?
- What fruitful examples and possible perspectives for national and international exchange or cooperation can be identified, with regard to historical place names and gazetteers?

The project team will welcome colleagues from all over Europe and the world to contribute to the workshop. We explicitly invite researchers in both the humanities and sciences who are using, exploring and analysing gazetteers, as well as computer scientists who are further developing the metadata structure or managing the content of gazetteers.

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