The Faculty of Humanities of the University of Graz has continuously built up special expertise in the application of digital methods in humanities subjects since the 1990s. One expression of this was the founding of the Centre for Information Modelling (ZIM) in 2008. Since then, the Centre has worked successfully in the field of digital humanities (DH) and is prominently represented in the relevant international umbrella organisations and European infrastructures as well as in the national research landscape. The curriculum of the Master's programme "Digital Humanities", which has been offered since the winter semester 2017, is also based on an initiative of the Centre. The University of Graz has thus established itself nationally and internationally as a pioneer in the subject area.
Internationally, digital methods in the humanities have been transformed from an experimental field into an independent subject discipline, "Digital Humanities", which may be seen in the establishment of professorships in German-speaking countries amongst others (https://dhd-blog.org/?p=6174).
In 2015 - inspired by the successful evaluation of the ZIM 2012/13 - the University of Graz announced the first Austrian professorship for Digital Humanities on a temporary basis and appointed the position permanently in 2021. In parallel, the ZIM developed the first Master's programme for Digital Humanities in Austria, which has been available for study since 2017. The students come from Austria and abroad and the programme is very attractive for students, not least due to a graduate profile that is in high demand on the labour market.
In addition, the ZIM has built up a research infrastructure that provides essential support for digitally supported research, not only at the Faculty of Humanities: with the help of the research repository and research environment GAMS (Humanities Asset Management System, http://gams.uni-graz.at), the research results of a steadily growing number of projects from the faculty, from Austria, and from international partners are preserved in the long term. This is due, among other things, to the fact that the faculty provided the centre with staff on permanent contracts in the founding years, so that not only could research be advanced and projects implemented, but also the maintenance and further development of the infrastructure was permanently guaranteed.
It was a logical continuation of this sustainable policy of the Faculty of Humanities to transform the ZIM into a permanent institute (https://mitteilungsblatt.uni-graz.at/de/2018-19/35/pdf), whose tasks are as follows:
- Research on the effects of digitisation on questions, methodological approaches and cognitive processes in the humanities as well as the use of digital methods on culture and society.
- Collaboration on a digitally supported research culture in the humanities, in particular the maintenance and further development of the logistical and technical infrastructure (GAMS) for the long-term availability of digital research results from the humanities.
- Training the general-social and academic demand for young researchers in the field of the digital humanities