Vienna Data Resources

"Transpirationswaage" (after 1945) Instrument for the measurement of the loss of humidity in plants in milligrams over time | Collection of historical Instruments of the former Institute for plant physiology | Photography courtesy of: Gregor Eder & Irene Lichtscheidl | Core Facility Cell Imaging and Ultrastructure Research | University of Vienna

 

 

[List of Archives as PDF download]
[Selection of online archives --->]

 

The sciences and the humanities create and sort data, construct material archives to keep these resources safe and stable, and often imagine that this data will be useful for future researchers. And these are not the only contexts in which actors gather to preserve eloquent objects, paperwork, or digital inscriptions. Companies, state bureaucracies at home and in the colonies, health care providers, non-governmental organizations and informal interest groups such as the women’s movement and HIV/AIDS activists have created data resources to support their investigations.

This website presents some of these repositories, adopting a broad notion of “data”. Data are not the “raw” ingredients from which to produce knowledge, they are not simply “givens” to be collected, but are always created with an eye to specific interest. From the “early modern information overload” and the “information order of Newton’s Principia” to contemporary “big data,” the very format of data conveys specific attitudes toward social structures and knowledge production. This Vienna Data Resources page presents instruments, materials, patterns, models, replicas, units, measurements, numbers and traces, which were created, chosen and serialized by actors in Vienna for a range of different epistemic projects.

These data resources cover Vienna’s history of science from the Middle Ages to today. A combination of municipal and university records dating back to the fourteenth century and a rich array of public and private collections chronicle the city’s history. Vienna Data Resources provides researchers with an overview of holdings that are relevant to the history of the natural and social sciences in, and relating to, Vienna. The current emphasis on administrative history and non-European engagements aims to promote the visibility of Vienna's vast collections as resources for historians and to highlight the central role that the city and its scholars have played in the global history of science.

Please contact us if you would like to suggest an archive or collection to add to the growing list of institutions holding relevant material for historians of science. It is collected and edited by Brooke Penaloza Patzak [List of Archives as PDF download].