ECHO – Cultural Heritage Online

Open Access Research Infrastructure: ECHO – Cultural Heritage Online

Cooperation Partners: 

more than 170 scientific and cultural institutions worldwide


Example of the ECHO working environment

In 2002 the initiative “ECHO – Cultural Heritage Online” was established to create a research driven infrastructure for the humanities.
In cooperation with the MPIWG library, part of the ECHO infrastructure is dedicated to the installation and documentation of workflows for the digitization of cultural heritage. In cooperation with the IT group developments of research driven tools and workflows for analysis and publication of scholarly data linked to primary sources were supervised and integrated in the common and expanding open access working environment. In addition, work focused on the development and documentation of XML-full text production and its possibilities for linguistic analysis and comparison of large text corpora.

Since 2004, the content of the ECHO environment has been greatly expanded and its technical infrastructure and accessibility improved. ECHO now features more than 70 collections from more than 24 countries worldwide. Its basic infrastructure has been adopted for all internet-based projects of the MPIWG and has also provided a model for the development of a common research infrastructure by the MPDL (Scholarly Workbench). The ECHO initiative is characterized by its strict open access policy. It has been presented at many international forums, such as UNESCO, various Open Access conferences, advisory boards for funding organizations (DFG, Gerda-Henkel-Stiftung, NSF, Getty Foundation), as well as advisory boards for national and international initiatives for creating research infrastructures (DDB, Europeana, DFG, DARIAH) as a best practice example of an open access environment. It now includes more than 890,000 digitized images of historical source material in high-quality resolution, about 240 video sequences, and 57,000 full-texts in several languages, 95 seed collections in several disciplines and thematic fields, in particular in the history of science.