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MU Libraries Integral to Research on Kafka

Assisted by the MU Libraries, humanities researcher Carsten Strathausen is constructing a comprehensive visual database encompassing all adaptations of Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.” This resource aims to serve scholars and students for years to come.

Research Librarian Anne Barker consulted with Carsten on the project by identifying and acquiring materials, suggesting strategies for gathering data, and pointing him to other library staff who could assist. Seth Huber, head of cataloging acquisitions and collection development,
searched for and downloaded the catalog records of versions and translations of “The Trial.”
In addition, Steven Pryor, director of digital initiatives, developed a Python web-crawler to gather metadata on these resources and played a key role in organizing the dataset. He also helped to created an Excel sheet containing vital information to track advancements, which will be useful to continue these research endeavors.

The Interlibrary Loan team played a crucial role in acquiring numerous adaptations of “The Trial” from around the globe, including artworks, films, graphic novels and more. Ivy Hui, head of the ILL Borrowing/Requesting Unit, and her dedicated team maintained regular communication with Dr. Strathausen, updating him on their progress in locating these elusive adaptations of Kafka’s text.

Dr. Stathausen is continuing his work with a grant from the MU Center for the Humanities and is organizing an international symposium on “Digital Kafka” that will take place this fall at Georgetown University.

For more information on this project and an interview with Dr. Strathausen, visit Research, Innovation and Impact.