Frequently Asked Questions

von by EGO-Redaktion Original in German, angezeigt indisplayed in English

What is EGO?

EGO examines 500 years of modern European history by transcending national, disciplinary and methodological boundaries. Ten thematic threads tie together processes of intercultural exchange whose influence extended beyond national and cultural borders. These range from religion, politics, science and law to art and music, as well as to the economy, technology and the military. EGO employs the newest research to present European transfer processes comprehensively in a way that is easy to understand. The articles link to images, sources, statistics, animated and interactive maps, and audio and visual clips. EGO thereby takes full advantage of the Internet's multi-media potential.

How is EGO's perspective different?

EGO concentrates on processes of communication, interaction and interdependency. At its heart are transfer processes that extended across individual, familial and local realms and had a long-term impact. EGO traces these transfer processes in and between, amongst others, the realms of religion, law, politics, art, music, literature, the economy, technology and the military, science and medicine.

What are "transfer processes"?

EGO understands "transfer" to mean when people, objects and ideas move between different cultures (interpretative systems) and in the process undergo transformation. Of particular interest here is the processual character of this transfer, i.e. how the mediation of intermediaries can deform, reinterpret or reject the content of a transfer between the originating and receiving systems.

In accordance with this, three central questions guide the thematic threads and individual contributions to EGO:

1. the question of the content of the transfers, i.e. the objects, ideas, discourses and practices that came out of each "source system" in the transfer process;

2. the question of the role and function of mediators, i.e. particular media and people ("agents");

3. the question of the forms of and criteria for appropriation or rejection in the various receiving systems.

Why does EGO focus on the period from c. 1450 to c. 1950?

EGO examines modern Europe from the end of the Middle Ages up to contemporary history. The 15th century witnessed important developments that had a significant impact on the history of Europe as viewed from the perspectives of communication and transfer: moveable-type printing replaced the reproduction of texts by hand and thereby decisively speeded up and intensified communication. Europe recovered demographically and economically from the Black Death. Intensive transfers in art, literature and philosophy emanating from Italy (the "Renaissance") were set in motion. The Portuguese and Spanish journeys of discovery strengthened Europe's penetration of the (rest of the) world. The Byzantine Empire collapsed with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans and Mongol rule over large parts of Eastern Europe came to an end. At the same time, the articles that deal with the 15th and 16th centuries always take account of developments that began before 1450.

EGO's cut-off point is around 1950. This is because of the project's decidedly "historical" emphasis: EGO does not aim to analyse the various strands of Europeanisation that began after 1950 and fed into the process of economic and political integration (of, at first, Western Europe). The articles trace older processes of Europeanisation that drew on neither political projects nor economic structures, or took entirely different directions to those followed by the history of Western Europe after 1950. Developments spanning the middle of the 20th century into recent contemporary history will, however, be investigated if they began before 1950.

What model of Europe does EGO employ?

EGO does not deal with "Europe" as a geographical or political given: the meaning of "Europe" and the way in which one should ideally imagine it have always been the product of the discussion of the "European". Therefore, EGO understands Europe as a communicative space, whose borders, centres and peripheries depend upon various temporal and thematic contexts. European History Online aims to reconstruct these contemporary contexts. Their polyphonic and contradictory nature contradicts the static images of Europe. Therefore, EGO employs context-dependent understanding of Europe.

Who can use EGO?

EGO is an open access project. Its articles are available to all Internet users free of charge.

What is EGO's target audience?

EGO is aimed at an international audience with an academic education made up of advanced undergraduates, postgraduate students and experienced researchers from all the historical disciplines, as well as those in journalism, publishing, schools and adult education responsible for introducing history to a larger audience. The articles should be written so that readers from various disciplines and with different levels of education can understand them.

What language are EGO's articles available in?

The languages of publication are German and English; articles can be submitted in either language. All articles with a broad relevance to several topics will be published in both languages and all English contributions translated into German.

In addition, EGO offers authors the opportunity to publish their articles in their native language alongside German and English.

How do I find information in EGO on the topic that interests me?

The thematic threads offer an associative introduction that at the same time has a thematic and methodological structure. This modularity guides users from the general to the specific – surveys lead to basic elements, to which focus elements are attached. Images and audio and video clips extend and deepen these guiding strands.

In addition, the versatile search function allows individualised forms of access. The full-text search brings ups every relevant element in EGO. The simple search allows one to put together a selection of articles based on period, topic, geographical space or thematic thread. The advanced search allows one to define the search by keyword, author, period, topic, geographical space and thread. It can also be restricted to specific media.

Where can I find the EGO articles in the Internet?

EGO articles are listed in the most important search engines. In addition, the articles are catalogued in libraries with their URN as electronic publications and are thereby present in online catalogues.

How do I cite an EGO article?

An EGO article can be cited in the same way as a contribution to a printed collection of articles. At the end of every article, there is a recommended form of citation.

For example: Bösch, Frank: European Media Events, in: European History Online (EGO), published by the Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz 2010-12-03. URL: URN: urn:nbn:de:0159-20100921120 [03/12/2010].

May I use EGO articles?

Most articles fall under the most restrictive Creative Commons License (CC by-nc-nd). They may be quoted as excerpts or republished as a whole (online or in print) insofar as i) the author’s name is mentioned, ii) the work is not being used for commercial purposes, and iii) the work is not altered, transformed or built upon. The reference to the Creative Commons License or to an unrestricted copyright comes at the end of every EGO article.

What copyright questions affect EGO?

EGO is published in accordance with German copyright laws, the term of protection of which exceeds the internationally agreed minimum term under the revised Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and extends to 70 years from the death of the author pursuant to the law of the European Union. Our editorial staff carefully check all rights regarding the storage and publication of copyrighted material. Copyrighted material, for which no clarification of such rights is possible, will not be saved or published by EGO.

When will EGO be complete?

EGO went online on 03/12/2010 with about 75 articles. New articles will be published continually. By the end of the initial project (2013), over 200 original articles should be online. Thereafter, EGO will be gradually enlarged with new articles in order to keep pace with new developments in the research.

Will EGO articles remain accessible in the long term?

The participating institutions – the Leibniz Institute of European History (Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte – IEG), which is the publisher, and the University of Trier's Trier Center for Digital Humanities, which is responsible for technical maintenance – will continually maintain, regularly update and systematically enlarge EGO.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) will be responsible for the long-term digital preservation of the EGO articles in Munich. In addition, the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek – DNB) provides legally regulated long-term digital preservation of online publications in accordance with its task of archiving German publications as detailed in the Pflichtablieferungsverordnung of 17 October 2008 (BGBl. I S. 2013).

Why won't EGO's articles become obsolete?

EGO is a dynamic system of publication. The articles will be updated every two years; this will be organised by the IEG in cooperation with the editorial board. Thus, EGO will keep up with the progress of the research. Older versions will remain accessible.

Which academic disciplines and subjects are involved in EGO?

The editors and authors of EGO come from all the academic disciplines that deal with history: ecclesiastical history or historical theology and the history of religion, music history, the history of literature, legal history, anthropology, art history, the history of medicine, the history of science, the history of technology and economic history, as well as from the various sub-disciplines of history (for example, military, social, gender and East European history). EGO understands itself to be a project that brings together the research on Europe's foundations via a common approach.

Who set the topics and chooses the authors?

The editorial board suggests topics and authors in conjunction with the chief editors (the directors of the IEG). The chief editors and editorial staff welcome suggestions on possible topics.

How can I become involved in EGO?

Readers and users can convey their impressions and comments via a contact form. This form can be called up in each article next to the author's name.