Historical Social Research

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Patrick Rössler, Achim Bonte & Katja Leiskau: Digitization of Popular Print Media as a Source for Studies on Visual Communication: Illustrated Magazines of the Weimar Republic [Abstract]

Today, the type of illustrated magazine emerging during the 1920s has become an extraordinarily substantial and esthetically top-rate source of information on the history of culture, communication, design, photography and everyday life. However, complete issues in public libraries are extremely rare, and only very few have so far been backed up on secondary media. In an ongoing cooperation project by the Saxon State and University Library of Dresden (SLUB) and the Communication Studies Department at the University of Erfurt, ten of the most important German-language magazines of the 1920s, comprising around 650 issues, an estimated 75,000 printed pages and an expected number of at least 50,000 illustrations, are being made digitally accessible and prepared for a wide variety of interdisciplinary research purposes. The paper introduces main characteristics of these sources and informs about the basic technical conditions for digitizing this particular type of material. In its main part, special emphasis is devoted to the implementation, with regard to methods applied and proceeding. We close with a brief outline of an exemplary research access, referring to the visual framing of the "New Woman" during the Weimar period.