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Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek


Making cultural objects freely accessible in digital form - that is the primary objective of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library - DDB). These objects range from books, pictures and sculptures through to archival documents, including music and other sound recordings, films, sheet music and monuments. As the central national portal the DDB will eventually link up the digital services provided by all heritage institutions in Germany in order to grant all interested parties access to the nation's cultural heritage.

The Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek is aimed at a range of different target groups. These include the culturally-interested general public, the fields of academia (especially the arts and humanities) and education (students and teaching staff from all educational institutions), and the cultural institutions with which the DDB has set up a network for exchanging views on digitisation and providing related services.

The Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek provides professionally processed materials. It supplies reliable information from German heritage institutions. The process of digitising the German cultural memory is expected to take many years. The free and universally accessible portal provides an impression of the possibilities of the DDB. The functions and the documented holdings will be continually expanded even after the conclusion of the beta phase in March 2014.

Besides its function as an access point, the DDB also constitutes a data hub which acts as a national aggregator for the European digital library, the Europeana, and also makes the data available for re-use in other contexts via open interfaces. The metadata provided under CC0 licence conditions and all functions of the DDB backend can be used via a public application programming interface (API).

Organisational structure and partners

Logo "Member of Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek"

The DDB is currently supported by a competence network consisting of 13 cultural and academic institutions. These include:

  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
  • Bibliotheksservicezentrum Baden-Württemberg (BSZ)
  • Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum (BLDAM)
  • Bundesarchiv
  • Deutsches Filminstitut (DIF)
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library - DNB)
  • digiCULT-Verbund eG
  • Digitales Kunst- und Kulturarchiv Düsseldorf (d:kult)
  • Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg (LABW)
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (MPIWG)
  • Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen (SUB)
  • Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB)
  • Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg, in particular digiCult-Verbund eG
  • Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK)

This network integrates skills and interests from different cultural and academic fields in Germany into the project.

The supervisory board of the DDB is a committee of representatives from federal, state and local bodies. The general meeting of the competence network elects the management board of the DDB.

The head office of the DDB is located at the headquarters of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. The German National Library has assumed the role of coordinator of the competence network, making it responsible above all for overall project management. The DDB service centre is also housed at the German National Library. It serves as the main point of contact for heritage institutions wishing to contribute their digital holdings to the DDB.

The day-to-day management of the German Digital Library is overseen by the executive management team. This is comprised of two managing directors with equal responsibilities who are based at the DDB’s two main sites in Frankfurt and Berlin.

Length of project, funding

On the basis of a framework paper, the state (Conference of Prime Ministers from 28 to 30 October 2009) and federal (cabinet meeting on 2 December 2009) governments approved the plans and had an administrative agreement drawn up which guarantees annual funding of EUR 2.6 million for operating the German Digital Library until the year 2015. Following an interim assessment which was carried out in spring 2014, decisions are to be made on the continuation of the project, its funding and the future legal and organisational structure of the DDB.

In 2010 and 2011 the federal government injected EUR 8 million of Konjunkturprogramm II funds for the necessary infrastructure; this was supplemented by special federal and state funds totalling EUR 1.3 million in 2013.  A special project for the modernisation of the IT infrastructure of the DDB, supported by special funds of the Federal Government to the value of EUR 1 million, is running from March 2016 until May 2017.

Online portal

General questions regarding the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek should be addressed to . Further information can also be found on the DDBpro service portal

Last update: 25.04.2018

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