The Herzog August Bibliothek is a leading European institute for research on the medieval and early modern periods. As such it conducts its own long and short-term research projects, often supported by outside funding.
The library’s holdings from these periods form an archive of Western culture that is nearly unique in its scope. Manuscripts, incunabula, early imprints and special collections such as graphic art and maps provide material for almost limitless investigation into European cultures of knowledge in a global context. The Herzog August Library is a place where in-depth cataloguing and research go hand in hand. Through this interaction, projects implemented by external funding arise, often in cooperation with partners. The library aims to foster discussion in the humanities and cultural studies by virtue of its particular research infrastructure which offers library staff, guest researchers, students and conference participants an opportunity for exchange and debate in an interdisciplinary and international framework.
Concerning our collection-based research we are following a two-fold approach. Firstly, we are developing projects which have a focus on the collections themselves and their history. This comprises for instance of projects on manuscript cataloguing, on particular legacies or on image sources. Besides this, theme-orientated projects are being developed, providing a new focus on the collections. In the last few years, and still currently, topic-based projects are being carried out with regard to the knowledge history at the former University of Helmstedt, to Lutheran confessional culture and to questions of cultural transfer. Building on the methodological innovations arising from the digital humanities, we are also developing and implementing standards for digital editions at the HAB in several, partly long-term, projects.
The special atmosphere at the HAB as a research centre is stimulated by the communication between scholars, visiting researchers and research staff who all work with its historical collections. By organizing working groups and conferences, the library is also integrated into a regional, national and international academic discussion culture.