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DRQEdit - Deutschsprachige Rechtsquellen in digitaler Edition – Digital edition of legal sources in German

DRQEdit - Deutschsprachige Rechtsquellen in digitaler Edition – Digital edition of legal sources in German, commented by Sonja Dünnebeil (IMAF)

Link: [14. 05. 2013]

The goal of DRQEdit is to make German legal literature of the 15th and 16th centuries available on the Internet. The edition focusses on the reception of Roman law and the adoption of the Ius commune taught at universities into normative texts and everyday legal literature. Access to these works, of which in most cases only a few remaining copies exist, is generally very difficult, only few of them being available in modern editions. Even though scans of some of these works have been made available in digital libraries, they can only be found by searching for specific authors or titles. The project therefore aims at making these sources available as a corpus that is searchable by a variety of metadata.

The corpus includes printed works until the year 1600 (only first impressions and later issues with significant changes) that are at least partially written in German (including Low German).

A series of criteria have been defined in order to arrive at a manageable corpus of sources, which includes:

  • Normative texts (but not church or police ordinances), such as
    • Gerichtsordnungen und Malefizordnungen
    • Town law (Stadtrecht) reforms
    • National law (Landrechte) and national ordinances
    • Imperial law (Reichsrecht), especially edicts of the Imperial diet
  • Popular legal literature, in particular
    • Translations and interpretations of Roman law
    • Editions of German law books (with commentaries)
    • Formularies and other instructions for legal practice

Research to date has resulted in a corpus of around 450 works and some 90,000 printed pages. In addition to being available as digital facsimiles, some of the sources have also been transcribed.

DRQEdit is a project which developed out of work on the “Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch”. It is being carried out jointly by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and the Chair of Historical and Cultural Information Processing at the University of Cologne under the leadership of the former head of the “Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch” research unit, Dr. Heino Speer.

There is the possibility to subscribe to a RSS-Feed to be kept informed about newly added materials.

The website is in German only. The full text version can be searched word by word. Some of the texts provide special links that contain additional information to facilitate further research. Cross-referencing is an essential aspect. On the one hand, the popular legal literature contains a large number of references (allegations) to passages in the Corpus iuris civilis and its related medieval commentaries. These allegations require a fundamental familiarity with this literature including the modalities of citation, relationships between the texts are intricate and very difficult to understand. Moreover, the normative texts have frequently to be seen in the light of earlier texts, but without explicit mentioning being made of this dependent relationship. Within the scope of the project it is only partially possible to clarify the relationships between the texts included in the corpus and written manifestations of Roman law.

There is no possibility for the user to annotate, correct or add to the material directly, it is possible, however, to contact a member of staff via e-mail. DRQEdit is available on open access and for free, login is not necessary.