EHDA Environmental History Database Austria


What is Environmental History in the context of EHDA?

To us, Environmental History focuses on the reconstruction of the state of the environment in the past, on the physical interaction of society and nature, it’s historical development and on the reconstruction of the perception and interpretation of this interaction by contemporaries.

Environmental History is treated as an interdisciplinary field. Therefore the search was not confined to self-defined Environmental History. We included papers which define themselves as agricultural history, history of technology, history of science, historical geography, ecology, social and economic history, historical ecology, archaeology or other fields. Due to their interest in the subject, despite differences in their approach, to us they form part of the literature on Environmental History in Austria.

What was included in the database? How did we search for and select data?

Geographical coverage is based on Austria in its current borders, with few exceptions. Works by Austrian researchers about other regions and those which do not have a regional focus such as theoretical work, reviews of the literature and comparative studies, are also included. Solely works published after 1945 have been included.

From January to March 2005 experts from a variety of disciplines were asked to share their knowledge of works relevant to Environmental History in Austria from their fields of expertise. Using the criteria mentioned above a selection from these recommendations was made by the project team. 41 thematic clusters were identified and subsequently searched for in the online catalogue of the Austrian library system. Selected scholarly journals were systematically reviewed for the period 1945-2005, and these findings are also included in EHDA. This is only a first stage of gathering data and should be seen as work in progress.

Related work: The project team has written two overviews on Environmental History in Austria based on EHDA in German. Ortrun Veichtlbauer’s text focuses on the field’s contribution to the debate about sustainability and the methodology for analysing the database. You can download the pdf (ca. 250 kb) here.
A subchapter of Martin Schmid’s dissertation from 2007 discusses the state of the art in Austrian Environmental History compared to international trends and gives insights into the team’s process of creating EHDA. You can download this pdf (ca. 580 kb) here.