STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL

The Estate of Stefan Zweig: History and Holdings

It is his novellas and biographies in particular through which the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) achieved his worldwide fame. Owing to a number of factors, not least among which is his escape into exile, Zweig’s posthumous papers are today dispersed among several public and private collections, creating a complex and sometimes confusing archival situation. In spite of undiminished interest in his works, access to the original manuscripts of one of the most widely circulated and translated German-language writers of the 20th century, as well as to much additional material from his estate, has hitherto been fraught with obstacles.

Since 2014 the Literature Archive Salzburg has been host to one of the largest collections of material from Stefan Zweig’s literary estate, including more than 50 manuscripts and typescripts, more than a dozen notebooks, and all his known diaries. These valuable holdings have now been made available to the public worldwide through the STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL project, an expandable digital presentation that provides the basis for future transcriptions and a scholarly study of the source material. Additionally, the system incorporates manuscripts and typescripts held by the copious Stefan Zweig Collection at the Daniel A. Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia. Thus, Zweig's literary estate, comprising all documents in his possession at the time of his death and now dispersed among both repositories, has been fully catalogued and made accessible to scholarship for the first time.

Scope and Approaches

All material in STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL is catalogued according to established archival and library standards and provided with in-depth descriptions and links that open up a large range of approaches both to scholars as well as to interested non-specialists. Apart from the catalogues proper, researchers are provided with a biographical outline as well as with an index of names and locations encompassing more than 700 entries. Moreover, the site offers a catalogue of all extant books from Zweig’s personal library, facilitating important insights into the works which Zweig took note of, read, and used as sources for his own writings. High-resolution digital facsimiles of Zweig’s works and personal records can be browsed online.

While the complexity of a writer’s literary estate often stretches to the limit traditional archival and library management approaches, the contextualization and semanticization of objects in STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL remain potentially ever-expandable and flexibly linkable. Ultimately, incorporating data and metadata from a variety of collections will enable a more extensive virtual reconstruction of Zweig’s entire estate, allowing users to experience the original sources and the context of their genesis in unique depth and scope.

Technical Infrastructure and Metadata

The scans and other digital objects, enriched with metadata, are administrated and published within the “GAMS” Asset Management System for the Humanities, developed and continuously improved by the Centre for Information Modelling (ZIM) at the University of Graz. A Trusted Digital Repository, GAMS provides STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL with essential and reliable digital archiving facilities, providing reusability of resources and, through persistent identifiers (PIDs), unambiguous references to the digital objects. In addition, the OAIS-compliant system ensures long-term data availability. GAMS builds on a webservice-based (SOAP, REST), platform-independent, distributed system architecture using a largely XML-based content strategy and standardized data and metadata formats (TEI, Dublin Core, RDF). The categories “author”, “title”, and “place of origin” crucial to the management of posthumous papers have been tagged using the the Integrated Authority File (GND) and GeoNames for place designations. Digital representations meet the IIIF standard and are displayed in the Mirador Viewer.

All current retrieval functionalities in STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL are based on RDF data which enable users to search for semantic concepts individually and in combination, such as persons, places, RNA categories, or provenance criteria. To this end, certain metadata and relations are imaged in RDF terms during the process of data ingestion into the GAMS infrastructure. The triplestore database system utilizes the open-source platform Blazegraph, which offers integrated full-text query capabilities; RDF data can be retrieved via SPARQL queries and a content model for query objects. The formalization of data on the basis of a domain-specific RDF referencing knowledge bases (wikidata) and top-level ontologies (CIDOC) both satisfies the requirements of the archival material and meets the standards of data interoperability and Linked Open Data.

Hosts, Cooperation Partners, and Contributors

The STEFAN ZWEIG DIGITAL project is an initiative of the Literature Archive Salzburg based at the University of Salzburg and was realized in collaboration with the Centre for Information Modelling at the University of Graz and a large number of volunteers. Since its launch in June 2018, two major repositories of Zweigian collections, the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem and the Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia, have joined the project as cooperation partners. Other institutions as well as private collections remain invited to contribute records and images of their own holdings relating to Stefan Zweig and his sphere: by expanding the project database, they will be significantly increasing the burgeoning network’s usefulness.