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Learned Periodicals of the 18th Century
Learned periodicals and newspapers as networks of knowledge in the age of the enlightenment
 
„What is Enlightenment?“ – One of the most notorious question of the eighteenth century was posted in a monthly paper in 1784 by which time newspapers and periodicals had become the “repositories of human reason”. In the 18th century, magazines served as ‘key media’ for the scientific world. With these journals, a new kind of learned network was institutionalized which made public what scholars, heretofore, had mostly exchanged among each other. These magazines published news about recent discoveries, experiments, and reviewed the newest scientific debates. Their significance for the scientific world was far-reaching. Announcing new printed books and providing a space for the emerging system of reviews, journals and periodicals became essential instruments for orientation in the rising ‘ocean of books’.
 
While much is known about scientific communication in the 18th century, the tradition of learned papers is not yet sufficiently explored. This applies to content as much as to the precise communicative and medial merits of individual periodicals. This lack represents the point of departure for the present project which is planned as a cooperation between the Academy of Science and Humanities Göttingen, the Leipzig University Library, and the Bavarian State Library Munich. In the extensive database which is to be constructed, articles, reviews, learned news and notes from approx. 128 periodicals of the 18th century will be made available; they will also be searchable. The projected outcome will be important not only for questions of the general topography of knowledge and knowledge networks, but also for the history of reception of individual works and the development of increasingly specialized disciplines.
 
The three departments (Göttingen, Munich, Leipzig) projected to cooperate in this task are determined by geographic and confessional criteria as well as by local availability. In the second half of the eighteenth century in Bavaria the printing of journals and newspapers was increased. The Munich staff of the project is indexing the scholarly periodicals, whereby Bavaria's significance for printing and journalism of the later catholic enlightenment gets proper consideration.

Project data
  • A project of the Academy of Sciences of Göttingen in cooperation with the University Library of Leipzig, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich and the Lower Saxon State and University Library of Göttingen
  • Supported by the Union of German Academies of Sciences
  • Project duration: 2011 - 2025
  • Project participants in Munich:
    Dr. Maja Eilhammer, Gertrud Friedl, Dr. Claire Gantet, Dr. Antonie Magen
    Head of Munich working group and contact person: Dr. Claudia Fabian