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WZIS - Watermark Information System for Germany


The objective of the project was to establish a common information system for watermarks and their descriptions. The identification of watermarks is a basic component of palaeography and provides important information on the structure of the marks and helps in dating them. The system standardises the structure and administration of digital watermark collections and renders them usable for specialists by providing central, Internet-based access.

Roughly 10,000 new watermarks have already been entered into the information system by the Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München and the Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig.

The renewal proposal approved in April 2012 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) covered expansion of the project to include new cooperation partners (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and German National Library), new watermarks and the latest technical developments. The German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum) of the German National Library in Leipzig has contributed 9,300 watermark prints on hand-made paper created in the region now covered by the German state of Thuringia.

Project partners


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Project duration

1 February 2010 to 31 December 2014 (including project extension)

Project homepage

Last update: 05.01.2015

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