ASCH - Project details

Developing interoperable metadata standards for contextualising heterogeneous objects, exemplified by objects of the provenance von Asch

The name Georg Thomas von Asch (1729-1807) is irrevocably connected with parts of the historical collections of the Göttingen University. In 1744, Baron v. Asch, who was born in St. Petersburg, came to Germany to study medicine in Tübingen and Göttingen. In 1750, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Georg August University, and returned back to Russia. In the years between 1771 and 1806, he sent donations of more than one hundred and twenty parcels and boxes to the Göttingen University as a sign of his close ties to this institution. These donations contained artifacts from nature as well as ethnographic objects, mainly collected in the Circumpolar Region, which then were incorporated into the Royal Academic Museum, founded in 1773. Books, maps, drawings, coins and medals were included into the University Library’s holdings. After the death of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), the curator of the Royal Academic Museum, the museum was closed, and its collections were distributed among the new founded departments of the Göttingen University. The skulls, Baron von Asch had sent to Blumenbach and which became part of his private collection, went to the Department of Anatomy, the coins and medals to the Coin Collection in the Archaeological Institute, the ethnographic objects to the Ethnographic Collection, geological items to the different geological collections (now in the Center for Geosciences), print holdings to the Art Collection, zoological objects to the Zoological Collection, and seeds and plants to the Botanical Collections.

According to archival documents, partly preserved in the University’s various departments, not all of the objects of the provenance von Asch can be identified unambiguously, and some holdings are today presumed lost or even destroyed. The still existing and identified material, which is documented  by following different recording and annotation guidelines applied in the different repositories, are very heterogeneous.

The project Developing interoperable metadata standards for contextualising heterogeneous objects, exemplified by objects of the provenance von Asch (abbreviation: ASCH) is supported by the DFG (German Research Foundation). Its aim is the development of a metadata model, which will allow the contextualisation of different types of digitised resources. This model will then be put to a practical test, using as examples a selection of various objects that von Asch had bequested to the University of Göttingen. The linking of digital representations, object descriptions and evidences will make it possible to represent objects and their provenance clearly. The major effort is put into the model’s sustainability, which means, that it can be used as well as within as across academic disciplines, providing the data as linked open data.



Project board at the SUB Göttingen

Project staff at the SUB Göttingen

SUB Göttingen departments / units involved in the project

Former project staff of the SUB Göttingen

Dr. Gudrun Bucher, Jürgen Dönitz