AIT sets new standards for the interdisciplinary exploration of our digital cultural heritage

The Open Source platform RECOGITO developed by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology is setting new standards in online-based cooperation between experts in a wide range of disciplines around the globe.

The RECOGITO platform has been developed under the direction of AIT, together with Exeter University, the Open University, the University of London and the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, and with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It enables research teams all over the world to identify correlations in the vast quantities of data generated by our increasingly digital society and global cultural heritage stored in libraries, museums or universities. The platform provides these teams with a simple method of working together on this data, of sharing results and making them available to the public. RECOGITO is open to all and has already been successfully adopted by leading universities to study and preserve mankind’s digital cultural heritage and make it available for everyone.

RECOGITO was awarded the accolade of "Best Digital Humanities Tool 2018" at the 2018 Digital Humanities Awards; it recently also received another prize at the 2019 Open Publishing Awards in the "Open Source Software" category, which was presented in Edinburgh, Scotland, in mid-October this year. These awards illustrate the international recognition already achieved by RECOGITO.

Intelligent databases combining state-of-the-art digital technology with human innovation

Today’s search engines generally employ full-text search techniques, bringing back results primarily based on frequency and probability. In RECOGITO, AIT has impressively demonstrated that in our information age, an agile and truly intelligent (context-based) data archive can only be created by employing semantic Open Source internet technologies using real-life, human expert knowledge to annotate objects and things.

RECOGITO is a software solution which applies state-of-the-art digital technologies to understand text and images and is available to the global community as an Open Source platform. A public version of the platform in operation at AIT currently has around 4,700 registered users, hosts over 4 million annotations, and registers the activities of around 500 user contributions every day.

RECOGITO in use worldwide

RECOGITO was created for real-world applications in the scientific community. Scholars around the world use the platform for a multiplicity of exciting tasks including the study and transcription of digitised historical maps; as a collaboration, annotation and sharing platform in the field of image archiving; building databases of place names from medieval manuscript sources; and creating online editions of historical travel accounts. Today RECOGITO is increasingly being used in teaching, and is regularly offered by faculties of humanities with a digital focus, such as the Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School, the Linked Open Data Indian Summer School in Mainz, and in seminars taught in Sofia, Cluj-Napoca, Ankara, Tbilisi, London and Athens, among others. Here the focus lies on researchers who wish to improve their digital skills and develop new approaches to digital teaching.

Furthermore, discussing and analysing historical documents by annotating them in RECOGITO, and producing related visualisations is currently used to assess students in at least three higher education institutions: the University of London, Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and King’s College, London.

Other independent installations of specific RECOGITO entities supervised by AIT's data science experts are currently in operation at the University of Umea (Sweden), the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (Germany) and the University of Lancaster (Great Britain).

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Mag. (FH) Michael W. Mürling
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
Marketing and Communications
Center for Digital Safety & Security
M +43 (0)664 2351747

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