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Digital Future for Germany‘s written cultural Heritage

German Research Foundation funds the technical development of a new national web portal for medieval and modern manuscripts

Four major German libraries have received a grant to develop a new national web portal for manuscript codices dating from the Middle Ages and modern times. Besides the Berlin state library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz), which will coordinate the project, Leipzig University Library, the Bavarian State Library and the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel will be partners. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a three-year project phase which aims at the technical development oft the new portal, which will serve as an up-to-date and international research instrument for different disciplines.

From the early Middle Ages, handwritten texts were transmitted in the form oft codices; around sixty thousand oft these unique heritage docments dating from the fifteenth century and earlier are preserved in German libraries and archives. Prominent examples are the manuscripts oft the Middle High German Song oft the Nibelungs (13th c.), the Carmina Burana (c. 1230) or an autograph copy oft Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decamerone (c. 1370).

Embedded in the librarian and academic information infrastructure, the manuscripts portal will serve as the central hub for digital information on manuscript codices in German heritage institutions. Different user communities will be closely involved throughout the development phase oft this open source application.

The general public will also be able to access the web portal without barriers in order to find out more about the oldest written cultural heritage objects in Germany. Modern search engine technology will make available the results of numerous scholarly manuscript cataloguing projects. In addition, new interactive technical solutions such as the IIIF image interoperability standard will facilitate access to the digital images of as many as possible of the sixty thousand medieval codices preserved in German libraries and archives. The release oft a beta version of the portal is scheduled for the summer of 2020.

For further information, see


Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Jeanette Lamble

Universität Leipzig
Dr. Christoph Mackert 
Phone: +49 341 97-30509

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Peter Schnitzlein
Phone: +49 89-28638-2116


Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
Antje Dauer
Phone: +49 5331-808-213