Making Sources on the History of Education Internationally Accessible
Even though educational history research is already internationally oriented, many important collections are relativly unknown beyond their respective national borders. The "International Network of Educational History Collections" (INEHC) under the leadership of the BBF aims to change this. Plans include a database and a network of contact points to facilitate access to educational history collections, initially in Denmark, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The founding members came together for the kick-off meeting on November 16, 2023.
"This is a huge leap forward for comparative research into the history of education," emphasizes Dr. Stefanie Kollmann, who is in charge of the INEHC at the BBF. "In this way, we are creating an infrastructure in which the nationally significant collections of different memory institutions can be brought together." To do this, however, the relevant institutions first need to know about each other and the profiles of the respective collections, the information manager continues.
The collection database is planned as a guidance system through the educational history collections and holdings. It will bring together very different materials, which, according to the information manager, is noan easy task. The BBF already has a very wide range of sources - from old textbooks, files from educational institutions and video recordings of lessons to three-dimensional objects such as old school desks or pencil cases. In Germany alone, however, there are numerous other educational history institutions with other collection focuses. "Even for me as an information specialist, it's challenging to find my way around. It's even more difficult for researchers, especially on an international level," Kollmann points out. The other museums, archives and libraries involved in the network are in a similar situation. The information about these different sources and, in future, their digital copies are to be made available internationally in a comprehensible manner in line with the principles of Open Science.
Another aim of the network is to establish itself as a point of contact and mediation between the collections and researchers. Through its national contact persons, the INEHC aims to provide researchers with subject-specific advice, refer them to collections with relevant holdings for their research and support them in getting access.
In June 2023, the five founding members of the INEHC signed a memorandum of understanding in which they pledged to create this network. The network will be formally constituted next spring, and further interested parties from countries such as Switzerland, Slovakia and Canada are expected to join by then.
In addition to the BBF, departments and individuals from the following institutions are participating:
National Onderwijsmuseum (Netherlands)
Free University of Bolzano (Italy)
Press release 16.11.2023