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Since the 2000s, there have been extensive digitisation projects carried out at the University and State Library of Saxony-Anhalt. Our focus lies on historical prints and writings. As part of the VD 16, VD 17 and VD 18 projects (VD stands for Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachraum erschienenen Drucke), we are predominantly digitising such valuable holdings. By doing this, it is assured that these unique materials are available for the long term and remain accessible for future generations.

What is being digitised?

Our focus lies on various materials, including copyright-free materials from the 16th to 19th centuries per user request. Furthermore, 16th to 18th century prints are heavily digitised as part of the VD digitisation projects supported by the German Research Foundation. Another special focus lies on historical newspapers. With more than 1,500 newspapers published before 1945, including about 800 regional newspapers from Central Germany, the ULB calls one of the largest newspaper collections in Germany its own. Also the digitisation of historical maps from our extensive map collection is an important task.


For more information on completed and ongoing projects, please see the project overview.


Examples of digitisation projects regarding:

Quality and standards

During digitisation, we hugely emphasize the compliance with defined standards. Both the quality of the scans, which are created using book scanners gentle on the material, and the scope, format, and provision of bibliographic and technical metadata are carefully considered. As a result, our digitised works are presented and researchable in high quality. In addition to making them freely available on the web, long-term digital archiving also plays an important role in ensuring the long-term conservation of the digitised works and their metadata.

Technology and workflows

To ensure efficient digitization, we operate a modern digitisation line. Owing to our high-quality technology, it is possible for us to scan originals up to A0 format. Additionally, we own a roll film scanner which is used to scan stocks that have been prior preserved on microfilm.


Our workflow thereby is largely based on open source software such as Kitodo.Production supplemented by our own developments to ensure efficient and smooth digitisation.

Accessibility, presentation and metadata

An important goal of our digitisation projects is to facilitate the accessibility of historical prints for research. Therefore, we additionally generate extensive full text data for already digitized works. Here, we use components of the OCR-D project as well as our own developments to enable precise and efficient text recognition.


Our digitised works are presented on the repository Share_it, which is based on the software DSpace. This repository has been specifically extended for our requirements to allow optimal presentation and use of digitised materials. For example, it supports the IIIF Image Framework Image and Presentation APIs, which allows modern viewers such as Mirador viewer to work with our digitised materials.


Valid metadata is also of central importance to us. They serve to uniquely identify and permanently locate our digital objects. By using standards-compliant metadata, we ensure interoperability and integration possibilities between different systems and platforms.

Support for digitisation projects

As a state library, we also support other state institutions in their own digitisation projects by offering our experience and expertise to ensure that other institutions can also benefit from the advantages of digitisation.

Digitization in numbers
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