DFG Project


Sustaining Living Digital Systems in the Humanities.

The Project

Scientific applications have come to play a crucial role in securing outcomes and results from research projects, especially in the humanities. Presentational systems, interactive visualizations, research databases, digital editions, and digital research environments serve as working tools, platforms of dissemination and aggregation and have become an integral part of day-to-day research work. Keeping them alive, maintaining them, and ensuring their long-term availability beyond limited funding periods is a major organizational and ultimately financial challenge. 

While it is comparably easy to conserve static research data in repositories with long-term preservation, living systems face different exposure. They are part of a digital ecosystem and as such need to be adjusted regularly, e.g. by updating the various components. In this project, we seek to transfer solutions developed in the context of cloud computing and provisioning strategies and adjust these methods and technologies towards the living systems that are currently running at the Data Center for the Humanities (DCH) at the University of Cologne. We will use the OASIS standard TOSCA and its open-source implementation OpenTOSCA, which was developed at the Institute of Architecture of Application Systems (IAAS) at the University of Stuttgart. 

During the project period, use-cases for scientific applications will be analyzed in order to identify key components with a high potential of creating synergistic effects, as well as typical software architectures and common management tasks. Findings will be modeled as components and application templates and implemented respectively in the OpenTOSCA environment. These efforts aim at developing a standardized approach to providing and maintaining key components of scientific applications. Results and best practices will be documented and edited in a manner that enables partners and fellow research data centers to apply them practically in their respective institutions. Two workshops will be organized in the course of the project to optimize knowledge transfer to interested parties in the research data community. 

With this project, the DCH and the IAAS will make an important contribution to the development of a more efficient approach towards long-time operation and maintenance of scientific applications in the humanities, and thus also to the reduction of running costs.

Das Konsortium

  • University of Cologne - Data Center for the Humanities (DCH)
  • University of Stuttgart, Institute of Architecture of Application Systems


Lukas Harzenetter

Lukas Harzenetter

Research Associate

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