MHDBDB: Medieval Literature at your fingertips

About the MHDBDB

The Mittelhochdeutsche Begriffsdatenbank (Middle High German Conceptual Database), in short MHDBDB, is a database that is very unique. It allows access to the most important works of Middle-high German literature using a very sophisticated and powerful search functionality. The user can not only search for words, character strings and concepts in a number of different sources, but also evaluate virtually any kind of linguistic or semantic query on the text basis. Thus, the MHDBDB is more powerful than even the most comprehensive wordindex.

Furthermore, the database offers the possibility to search for complex combinations of words or concepts, i.e. the co-occurrence of different words or concepts in a given context frame. For example, it is not only possible to search for the occurrence of the words swert and künec at the same time, but the user can also search for the co-occurrence of concepts, like, in this example, Waffen (weapons) and Geburtsadel (hereditary nobility); consequently, the result of this query is a superset of the former one. This functionality provides the means for a much deeper insight into the motive material and structure of single works as well as the complete text corpus, and opens up a profound insight into the embedded cultural information.

The two most important modules of the MHDBDB are the Wordindex with Concepts and the Textual Search with References.


The database system under the name MHDBDB is the result of a close co-operation between the long-standing projects:

  • Names in Medieval German Literary Texts by Dr. Horst P. Pütz, Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, and
  • The Conceptual Wordindex of Medieval German Literature, Prof.Dr. Klaus M. Schmidt, Bowling Green State University

Both projects operate jointly since 1992.

Since January 2002, the system is located at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria (Europe):

For forty years both projects have created and stored electronic texts of Middle High German standard editions. Joining the two projects has resulted in the largest electronic text archive of medieval German literature and has led to the most powerful and comprehensive on-line retrieval system for medieval texts currently in existence. After completion the project will provide the entire lexical material of the text archive in a fully lemmatized form and accessible through conceptual categories (similar to those in Roget’s Thesaurus) for a multitude of different queries to scholars all over the world via Internet.

Our long-range goal is to expand the text base and to offer it in a completely lemmatized and disambiguated form (i.e. where homographs are separated by different meanings) for on-line queries.

Recommended citation

Mittelhochdeutsche Begriffsdatenbank/Middle High German Conceptual Database (MHDBDB). Coordination: Katharina Zeppezauer-Wachauer. Technical Direction: Nikolaus Morocutti/Daniel Schlager. 1992-2022. URL: (release date).

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University of Salzburg

External contributors


Former contributors (in alphabetic order)

  • Maike Ahrends, Barbara Aitenbichler, Claudia Becker, Wolfgang Boepple, Claudia Bornholdt, Michael Brachtl, Katrin Callsen, Christof Danzl, Werner Dietl, Andrea Dietrich, Alfred Ebenbauer, Jim Ecker, Annemarie Eder,Harald Feiel, Bente Gebhardt, Susanne Gehrke, Camilla Groth, Bettina Hatheyer, Britta Jäkel, Barbara Kraus, Susanne Lang, Thomas Mahler, Anindo Majumdar, August Mayer, Peter Meerwald, Nikolaus Morocutti, Silvia Müller, Ulrich Müller, Charles Osborne, Horst P. Pütz, Judith Pouget, Anne Rahmlow, Ron Reazin, Martin Schubert, Leevke Schiwek, Svenja Schulz, Rudolf Schürer, Barbara Siebert, W. Maurice Sprague, Margarete Springeth, Joachim Steinwendner, Joe Uffner, Verena Vitzthum, Tanja Vogl, Ruth Weichselbaumer, Michael Westreicher, Katrin Woesner




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