EGO | European History Online is a transcultural history of Europe on the Internet. The project investigates processes of intercultural exchange in European history whose impact extended beyond state, national and cultural borders. EGO describes Europe as a constantly changing communicative space which witnessed extremely varied processes of interaction, circulation, overlapping and entanglement, of exchange and transfer, but also confrontation, resistance and demarcation.
EGO examines 500 years of modern European history by transcending national, disciplinary and methodological boundaries. The subjects are as diverse as the communicative and transfer processes which EGO depicts. They range from religion, politics, science and law, to art and music, as well as to the economy, technology and the military. Ten thematic threads enable a systematic approach to accessing the project's content. "Surveys" provide background information and context. "Basic elements" describe and analyse specific transfer processes relevant to Europe. "Focus elements" contain materials and information on discrete aspects or introduce particular mediators that were significant for intercultural transfer processes. Over 200 articles will be gradually published by 2013.
EGO links refereed academic articles to images, primary sources, statistics, animated and interactive maps, as well as audio and video clips. This multi-media network enables a journey through space, time and themes. The various elements can be browsed in all directions via links and navigation bars. In this way, EGO takes full advantage of the Internet's multi-media potential.
All the multi-media elements are organised into a list of media. Internal links and references connect the EGO articles with one another. They connect the content of the texts to images, diagrams and tables that provide examples or additional information, or support the argument being made.
Moreover, a network is created via links to images, digitalised sources and biographical data available outside EGO, as well as to academic literature published online and other academic online resources referenced in the notes to the articles.
Access is not only provided by the threads, but also a versatile search function that offers an individualised means of viewing the project's content. The full-text search brings up every relevant element in EGO. The simple search puts together a selection of articles based on period, topic, geography 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. The search results create a personalised short "history of Europe" that corresponds to the interests of the user.
Target Audience and Users
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. They therefore avoid overly detailed and specialised discussions of the research (with the exception of the thread "Theories and Methods").
EGO does not aim to cover the "canonised" knowledge of the history of Europe as, for example, it is presented in BA courses. Rather, EGO articles bring together the most recent research. They are based on the specific perspective of communication and transfer. In this way, too, EGO differs from a reference book, encyclopaedia or portal.
EGO aspires to create an interdisciplinary network of international historical research on Europe. Authors and editors can comment upon their articles in an internal discussion forum. All other users can directly communicate their impressions and comments to the authors via a contact form. User comments can, thereby, be incorporated into updated versions of the article. Unlike open online encyclopaedias, the authors of European History Online retain authorial control over their articles.
EGO employs the principle of open access – i.e. it provides free access to academic literature and materials (on the Internet). Equally, the use of more than one language serves the goal of spreading the content across boarders quickly and unhindered: the user interface is bilingual (English and German). Articles are accepted in English and German. All surveys are translated into the other language and published in both languages. Other important articles will be translated in the course of time.