The Austrian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies

3.4       The web offensive of ÖGE 18

Also at the turn of the century the society took an interest in the new media as an information and marketing tool. In 2001 the first website hosted at the server of university of Graz went online.[72] For the summer and winter term 2004/2005 the society, headed by Wolfgang Schmale, used the web to coordinate a teaching network between colleagues working at the five Austrian universities in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, and Vienna.[73] Twelve Eighteenth Century scholars joined forces in the endeavour to revive interest in Eighteenth Century Studies in Austria among students and young scholars. The idea to this venture was mentioned firstly by Harald Heppner in an internal letter on April 11th, 2000 and then again in a board meeting on July 4th, 2003. The goal was to strengthen the Eighteenth Century Studies by implementing it more strongly in the actual degree programmes and to introduce students to this wide field of research in their own learning environment. The scholars from different disciplines offered various types of classes such as excursions, courses, and seminars and thus diverse approaches to the overall topic, suggested by Wolfgang Schmale, of the teaching network “Semiotics of change in landscapes and cities in the 18th century”. All classes were connected virtually via an online platform that can still be accessed online today via http://ferstel.univie.ac.at. The online platform uses the so-called “Hypertextcreator” which is a content management system committed to didactic and social software principles and was developed in the course of the e-Learning project “Geschichte Online” under the guidance of Wolfgang Schmale.[74] All in all nine classes were held. The platform contains mainly the teaching concepts; depending on that in turn it also presents sometimes the student works of the classes. For three days in March 2005 all participants met in a workshop in Golling an der Salzach, co-ordinated by Gerhard Ammerer and Alfred-Stephan Weiss, in order to exchange and discuss experience and results.[75] The venture turned out to be a success and resulted, according to Harald Heppner, in a “gewinnbringende neue Fülle von inhaltlichen, methodischen und didaktischen ‘Einblicksmaterialien’”[76].

A project currently under way goes back to the start of Wolfgang Schmale’s presidency. It refers to the idea to develop the ÖGE 18 website into a platform for Eighteenth Century Studies.[77] Marion Romberg was asked to realize this new project. The website aims to provide information on “who, where, how scholars work and research”. This need for more transparency was one of the original reasons for the foundation of the ÖGE 18. Again in 1996 Grete Walter-Klingenstein mentioned the still lacking information concerning master theses and dissertations on the 18th century in progress at Austrian universities.[78] Although the board acted on this suggestion, it resulted only in a snapshot of all unpublished work in 1996. The society’s website plans to remedy this by collecting information on current and finished unpublished research like master theses, doctoral theses, or research projects of private nature as well as funded by various institutions and publishing it on the website under Topography. A major criterion to be included in the database is a project’s direct link to the Austrian Habsburg and their territory in the 18th century.

[72] The current website can be found online: <www.oege18.org>. Januar 2010.

[73] For a complete analysis of the concept see Schmale, Semiotik, 149–158.

[74] For more information see <http://hypertextcreator.univie.ac.at> (14.02.2010) and <http://gonline.univie.ac.at/> (14.02.2010).

[75] For a detailed report on this workshop see Winklhofer, Golling, 159–172.

[76] Harald Heppner in his final speech of the workshop, quoted after: Winklhofer, Golling, 171.

[77] See minutes of general assembly in Vienna on November 15th, 2001.

[78] See newsletter 3/1996.

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