The digitisation and public provision of Germany’s cultural heritage are national tasks of historic importance and great urgency in the age of the Internet and global communications. On the basis of its legal mandate (DNBG) and the act governing the use of orphaned and out-of-commerce works (UrhGuaÄndG) the German National Library has a major role to play role in completing this task; a task which can, however, only be fulfilled cooperatively. In addition, digitisation represents a precondition for the German National Library to fulfil its legally defined tasks in a modern form which is suitable for the 20th and 21st centuries.
The digitisation strategy of the German National Library is part of its overall strategy. This has multiple objectives:
Firstly, digitisation serves to protect and preserve the original text, image and sound documents of Germany’s cultural memory. A further objective of digitisation is to radically improve the visibility, access to and usage possibilities of the Library’s own resources for science and research, education and culture as well as for the general public in Germany and abroad. The Library operates on the fundamental principle of open access and, within the limits of its copyright framework, on the principles of providing free access to the digitised objects, of embedding these in innovative academic, social and cultural contexts, and of attracting new user groups who are less familiar with books.
As part of the collection care work, publications are currently being digitised, the originals of which are no longer available to users on account of their preservation status (approx. 6,500 works, including roughly 500,000 pages per year). In addition, the tables of contents of all incoming new books are being digitised on an ongoing basis and made available for use around the world free of charge. Cooperation with the Ancestry Information Operations Company is now making it possible to digitise over 5,600 address books held by the DNB which were released in or before 1955.
By the end of 2018 the German National Library had digitised 134,543 objects, including 10,813,339 pages and about 1,86 million tables of contents and 14,667 audio files.
Last update: 14.01.2019