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Department of Computational Linguistics

Bullinger Digital

About Bullinger Digital

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) was a collaborator and successor of Huldrich Zwingli and an important multiplier for the ideas of the Reformation in Switzerland and Europe. From his extensive correspondence, some 2000 letters that Bullinger wrote and 10,000 letters that he received have been preserved. The originals are kept in the Zurich State Archives and the Zurich Central Library. 80% of the letters are in Latin, most of the others in Early New High German. About 2900 letters have already been manually transcribed and edited. They can be searched online. Another 5000 letters have been transcribed and are available as electronic texts.


Project Aims

The current project aims at an efficient scan-to-text alignment of the transcribed letters, which will allow researchers to appreciate the transcribed texts in sync with the scan images. On the basis of these scan-aligned transcriptions, we will train systems for handwritten text recognition (HTR) to efficiently convert the
remaining 4000 letters into electronic text. Moreover, we will experiment with machine translation to translate the letters written in medieval Latin or Early New High German into modern German or English. The so enriched scans of the letters will be ingested into a search engine and thus accessible to researchers and the public.


Principal Investigators


Project Team @UZH

  • Patricia Scheurer (administration, contact person) E-Mail
  • Lukas Fischer (machine translation)
  • Raphael Müller (front-end development)
  • Bernhard Schroffenegger (database and infrastructure)
  • Phillip Ströbel (handwritten text recognition)



The project is kindly funded by the UZH Foundation (with contributions among others by the Hasler Foundation).


Project Duration

January 2021 - December 2022

Weiterführende Informationen

bullinger logo

To the project's webpage