Working on the "Polytechnisches Journal"

Every year's issues should be enclosed with a complete index of persons and subjects to make it even more useful as a whole. (Dingler, Volume. 1, 1820, S. v.)

This promising remark by the editor J.G. Dingler has, to a certain extent, remained programmatic until today. Even before the first publication Dingler was working under the premise of completing the journal with a detailed index. This leads to the conclusion that he saw the project as establishing an encyclopedic reference text. The fact alone that in the beginning only once a year, which means every third or fourth volume, those detailed indexes were included gives a hint of how work-intensive it must have been to add these indexes by hand.

Today those indexes can partly be produced automatically. This carries us over to "Dingler online" – the digitized "Polytechnisches Journal". Transferring this wealth of information into a user-friendly well-structured interface requires a lot of work that needs to be done by hand.

In this sense our project has a self-understanding as a true resumption of the editorship of the "Polytechnisches Journal". For more specific information concerning the building of the indexes through TEI please consult the Metadata Section.

Working with the digitized "Polytechnisches Journal"

According to the plan, the "Polytechnisches Journal" shall unite usability with thoroughness and completeness of contents [...] (Dingler, Volume. 1, 1820, S. v.)

The completeness of contents that Dingler claims in the preface of the first volume is a hint to the european wide sources that were reviewed in the process of making the journal. The archive therefore allows conclusions about the relevant (poly-) technical discourse of the respective time.

Since the editors of the "Polytechnisches Journal" gave detailed bibliographic notes of the journals used for reference, it is now possible to interlink those originals. This becomes easier as an increasing number of those other journals has been digitized by now. For more specific information concerning the building of the indexes through TEI, again, please consult the Metadata Section.

It becomes possible to reconstruct the criteria for which european inventions were seen as relevant in Germany. Also patent feuds can be retraced, some of which stretched over several countries and cultures. Translation mistakes can be analyzed as well: An invention might seem relevant or interesting, yet their functions or dysfunctions are impossible to deduce from both the original publishing and their commented translation in the "Polytechnisches Journal".

For this reason Cultural tradition in the Dingler does not only contain knowledge that is of interest to science historians. The journal oscillates between knowledge and science, between every-day life and the industry, between the concrete and the universal, between text and image.

Concerning the transformation of knowledge the image material is an aspect just as important as the text of the articles. The "Polytechnisches Journal" contains an extremely rich set of images. Respective to the time the journal was published those were first produced as appendixes (copperplate engraving or lithographs). Since 1891 the images were incorporated in the text.

The tables and the up to 100 illustrations on them are numbered by their coordinates. This makes it possible to connect them directly to the text using links. For more specific technical information please consult the Metadata Section.