The second solution developed in the eSciDoc project, the Scholarly Workbench, aims at providing a generic solution for communities in the arts and humanities, to store their digital artifacts and make them “processable” and reusable within a collaborative environment.

The first basic concepts have been developed in strong cooperation with one partner institute, the MPI for the History of Science and focus on functionalities needed for a collaborative authoring process on digital artifacts, such as images, manuscripts, drawings, transcriptions, annotations. The solution aims at the recombination of published artifacts, and the integration into other knowledge representations, to support the steadily growing network of digitized cultural heritage. The publication workflow supports a distributed collaborative environment, where users can submit, annotate, and publish collections and bundles of multiple objects, which can be related by structural and semantic relations. Annotations and comments to semantic units enrich the published artifacts. The solution supports the versioning of each object as well as of the respective compilations. The persistent identification of relevant published data entities and compilations will be guaranteed. To support the specific requirements for viewing and processing the artifacts in high resolution, specific viewing environments and tools will be developed. The integration of linguistic tools and external services such as language technologies supports the seamless navigation and research process.

However, this vision of a Scholarly Workbench is very ambitious. Therefore, we have decided to take an interative approach and start with a much simplified solution (FACES), focussing on images. Other solutions will follow (e.g., ViRR), which will add features like transcriptions, bundles, and annotations. With each iterative step, we will be able to converge towards the envisioned full-featured Scholarly Workbench.

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