Virtueller Raum Reichsrecht (ViRR) – the virtual reading room for Reichsrecht
The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which survived until 1806, may be described as a supra-national European legal and constitutional system that encompassed the territories of thirteen of today’s EU member states. It produced a vast corpus of legal sources ranging from “Reichsgesetze” or Imperial laws through to European treaties. A complete contemporary or indeed modern collection of the law or enacted legislation of the Holy Roman Empire has never been successfully compiled. Its legal sources are therefore scattered among a vast number of publications that are in turn to be found in diverse European libraries and archives.
The goal of this project is to create a digital collection of legal sources and develop these into a virtual reading room devoted to the law of the Holy Roman Empire, or Reichsrecht. As a first step, some important and rare collections and legal texts have been digitised, the chosen documents being selected on the basis of academic criteria. This in-depth indexation using structural data (tables of contents, indices) may, in the long term, be followed by full text cataloguing. The collections digitised in the course of the project will gradually be linked with other resources such as, for example, digitised print publications that occur in other contexts, as well as with archive material and images. It would also be desirable to combine sources and current research findings such as bibliographies and old and new research literature, and add links to electronic references such as library catalogues and databases. A virtual reading room for Reichsrecht of this nature will offer new scope for initiatives such as international and interdisciplinary virtual research projects and facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge about the law of a supra-national European system.