Update: BKG-Database Historical Place Names

For about 16 years, we have been giving hints on useful information in the field of auxiliary sciences of history. The web archive of our “Tips of the Month” now provides a solid instruction manual for getting started with archival research and working with sources.
Older entries, however, require sometimes an update beyond the correction of links and addresses.
In February 2007, we recommended the database “Historical Place Names” of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) for regions formerly belonging to Germany. The search result lists the historical, parallel and current place name in the respective national language and state and administrative district for the years 1939, 1945 and 1992 (see example of use on the screenshot). The application runs with Java applet, thatswhy for modern browsers an exception in the security settings is needed:

  1. Update Java Runtime Environment
  2. Java Control Panel / Security / Exception List: “http://sg.geodatenzentrum.de”
  3. Download and run HistoNameApplet.jnlp

European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI)

The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) provides access to information about sources of Holocaust history that are kept in archives in Europe and around the world. The portal is divided into the areas “Countries”, “Archival Institutions” and “Archival Descriptions” and offers not only a free text search in the metadata but also navigation options via a controlled vocabulary (thesaurus), facets and filters. The menu items and search results can be displayed in English, French, German and Polish, but the descriptive texts for the archives and collections are only available in English. Anyway, for research on the level of finding aids or original sources, knowledge of the respective national language and / or the language in which the sources were written is required.

Leonardologist’s Reference Style or solution of the Advent Riddle

There was another hard nut to crack this year. Once again, courageous people took up the challenge bridging the time span of five centuries to the spirit and work of Leonardo da Vinci.
Many thanks for the solutions sent in, all of which testify to an intense and creative involvement. Congratulations to Pasadena (California) for the winner!
Using the example of da Vinci’s notes, scattered around the world and rebound in different codices, we wanted to demonstrate how difficult is searching for manuscripts, deciphering and referencing them. As in the case of printed works, the correctness of an reference is not obtainable without checking the original. All your solutions, however, contained information about the collection, the name of the codex, sheet number and side, as well as references to secondary sources such as catalogs, scholarly publications, fable editions, facsimiles, transliterations and digital libraries. So they comply with the Leonardologist’s Reference Style.

Advent riddle: The fabulous Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci, whose 500th anniversary will be celebrated next year, not only studied anatomy and motion of animals, but also their personality.
His observations on the nature of individual species he recorded in short, sketchy, often unfinished fables. To make it a readable story was left to later publishers and translators.
About 7200 pages of da Vinci’s notebooks on various topics have been handed down, mirror-written and richly illustrated. Today they are scattered in various collections in Europe and North America.
Da Vinci gained his knowledge rather by imagination and close monitoring than studying sources and literature. However, for our riddle we accept both approaches:

  • The Leonardo Solution: A fable idea in the style of da Vinci with one or more of the animals pictured above
  • The Leonardologist solution: A title to a recorded fable of da Vinci with one or more of the animals shown above with correct source reference of the manuscript (collection, codex, page)

Please send your solution to buero@archivauskunft.de until January, 1rd 2019, 12.00 pm CET. The winner can choose one of the following prizes:

  1. Walter Isaacson: Leonardo da Vinci
    Simon & Schuster 2017
  2. Charity Children: Fabel (Berlin Street Music, CD or Vinyl)
  3. Moleskine Notebook Classic, colour on request)