Elevation is a tool for thinking because thinking needs interaction with sources.

For this reason, this is a concept of a database driven web application that allows users to collect, to organize and to structure their diverse digital working materials in their own way. At the same time users have the possibility to start right from the beginning with their own text production next to their collected sources.


Elevation a tool to build and work with  your knowledge base

Today, scientists work with a variety of different media formats. Thus, in the course of a research process, a vast collection of different analog and digital sources is created. Especially at the beginning of a research process, which is often characterized by conceptual openness and a lack of structure, the great challenge for researchers is to work out one or more concepts from the collected material.

Elevation is a software concept that supports this initial stage of a research process and provides a useful feature set that gives researchers a better overview of their collected material. And how does that work? 



Elevation Mental Model behind the software concept, 2019 

Elevation Mental Model behind the software concept, 2019 

The aim is to support the initial phase of a research process in which materials are first collected in a relatively unstructured way and are later sorted with a focus on an identified problem or research question. Elevation helps the users to get a better overview and to identify patterns within their collected source material. 

This project was first initiated to solve the problem of the digital and collaborative input of ethnographic field notes, for which there was no corresponding software at that time, but which was urgently needed in the context of an extensive ethnographic field observation at the Interdsiciplinary Laboratory Image Knowledge Gestaltung.

Elevation is a database-driven client server software in which all entries are stored independently of each other in an endless stream together with a set of metadata. For this reason, all entries are individually addressable, searchable, filterable and can be restructured at any time. Since it is a web-based application, collaborative work is also possible.

This graph above illustrates the mental model behind this software concept. There are a total of five core functions on which the concept is based. Collect (1), comment and add categorised keywords (2), reflect and create connections (3), evaluate (5) and track the process (4). All these work steps, which researchers previously had to perform by using several documents or different programs or platforms, are now combined in one graphical user interface. Elevation therefore allows a holistic view and handling of one's own research materials.


Elevation Visual Design Concept (preliminary), 2019 

Elevation Visual Design Concept (preliminary), 2019 

The first version of this application with limited functionality has been in use for more than two years (2016-2018) and has been tested by several users. During that time it became obvious that the software concept could also be very attractive for other researchers from other disciplines who are working methodologically similar. Therefore, since April 2019 I have been supported by the DesignFarm Berlin to adapt the concept to an extended group of users, to develop a business plan and on this basis to create a strong argument for more funding. The current version which was last iterated in November 2017 has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Séverine Marguin (Sociology) and Tobias Bleifuß (Computer Science) who both still support the project with their expertise and network.

One of the most important functions within the software, which distinguishes it significantly from common note taking apps, is that users can put all content created in the application into a (technical) relationship with each other. This allows them to visualize the relationships in their collected material over time and thus gain a better overview and deeper understanding. Furthermore, it is possible to export the restructured data as a package for further processing in other programs. So, we understand Elevation as a tool to deal with intermediate formats in the conceptual phase of knowledge work.

Since April 2019 Elevation is supported by



Since April 2019 Elevation is supported by DesignFarmBerlin: