German digital library

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German digital library
Website logo
Culture and knowledge online
Virtual library
languages German , English
operator Cooperation project between federal , countries and municipalities
Registration optional
On-line November 2012 (currently active)

The German Digital Library (DDB) is a virtual library that will network 30,000 German cultural and scientific institutions and make them publicly accessible via a common platform . A beta version of the portal with, according to the company's own information, approx. 5.6 million objects went online on November 28, 2012, the first full version was activated on March 31, 2014. The DDB has been integrated into Europeana at European level .


The establishment of the DDB goes back to a decision of the federal government of December 2, 2009. The development was initially to be financed with 5 million euros from the economic stimulus package II until 2011, before the funding was increased to a total of 8 million by the end of 2010. Since 2011, the federal and state governments have each contributed half of the costs of up to 2.6 million euros annually.

The technical structure of the German Digital Library was assigned to the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS), which is to carry out the concept and implementation with partners. The IAIS is already researching search tools within the Theseus program . The task list was defined together with Virtual Identity AG and the conception and implementation phase began in 2011. Since October 2011 there was initially a test access for cultural and scientific institutions. The official activation of the beta version for the general public took place on November 28, 2012 during a press conference in the Altes Museum in Berlin. Matthias Harbort , Head of Division at the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, spoke of a “work of the century” in which all citizens should participate in the future. In this test phase for the planned “access portal to culture and knowledge”, the DDB initially offered access to around 5.6 million data records. They come from around 90 cultural and scientific institutions such as museums, archives and libraries . It is envisaged that a total of up to 30,000 institutions will participate in the network .

When the first full version of the German Digital Library was published at the end of March 2014, around 2,100 institutions cooperated with the DDB. In June 2015, the DDB and the Consortium for Libraries, Archives and Museums (BAM) announced in a joint press release that the BAM portal could be closed and that the data could be transferred to the DDB if requested. The technical operation of the DDB is carried out by the FIZ Karlsruhe .

Archivportal-D was activated on September 24, 2014. It  offers sector-specific access to the data of the German Digital Library and is designed as a central reference system for the holdings of German archives.


In the library, copies of books, works of visual art , sheet music, music and films should be offered to all citizens. The facility should - in deliberate competition with Google  - offer access to free cultural assets, whereby "the digital power of disposal over the ... cultural heritage should remain a public responsibility". In addition to the provision, the aim is explicitly to protect national cultural assets from catastrophes such as the collapse of the Cologne city archive or the fire of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar .

In works offered by authors , publishers and exploiters via the DDB (including Europeana), consumers are to be given the option of full-text searches and purchases via the libreka project . As an alternative to Google Books , the concept for the DDB also explicitly provides for the protection of copyrights and exploitation rights “at a reasonable price”. The providers should only receive unrestricted exclusive rights if they “actively protect their rights vis-à-vis Google”, for example through the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels or the Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort .

At the end of April 2009, German, Austrian and Swiss institutions registered objects for the World Digital Library , a project of the US National Library of Congress and UNESCO , and some institutions are now involved as project partners , such as the Austrian National Library , the Bavarian State Library , the Berlin State Library , the Heidelberg University Library and the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library .


The DDB board spokesman is the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation , Hermann Parzinger .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ The German Digital Library is online . April 23, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  2. ^ German digital library . ( Memento of June 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media
  3. Fraunhofer Institute plans to set up the German Digital Library . Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  4. News .; Retrieved January 4, 2012
  5. Andreas Maisch: The library is coming home ., June 29, 2011; Retrieved January 4, 2012
  6. ^ Reply of the Federal Government. (PDF) Status of the "German Digital Library" project. (No longer available online.) May 29, 2012, p. 5 , archived from the original on March 31, 2014 ; Retrieved July 8, 2012 .
  7. ^ Current status of the German Digital Library project. Retrieved October 28, 2018 .
  8. ^ German digital library goes online . In:, November 28, 2012, accessed on March 31, 2014.
  9. Questions & Answers ( Memento of the original from March 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In:, accessed on March 31, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Further strengthening for digital access to cultural heritage: BAM Consortium for German Digital Library. (PDF) (No longer available online.) German Digital Library, June 24, 2015, archived from the original on July 6, 2015 ; Retrieved on July 20, 2015 (joint press release of the German Digital Library and the BAM consortium).
  11. ^ Minister of State for Culture wants to address the topic of "Google / Digitization" at the Council of Ministers of Culture . Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, press release, May 6, 2009.
  12. Germany gets a digital library . In:, December 2, 2009.
  13. Contributing Partners of the World Digital Library (English) accessed June 19, 2019.
  14. This is the German Digital Library! , Video from November 28, 2011, created by TVT creative media GmbH on behalf of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, last accessed on December 6, 2012.