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Information for Researchers No. 07 | 6 February 2013
Updated DFG Practical Guidelines on Digitisation Now Available in English

Digitisation has become a vital research tool in the humanities, cultural studies and the emerging field of digital humanities. It has made direct research with sources much easier while conserving valuable and sometimes fragile originals. Not only does the digitisation of library, archive and museum holdings make copies easily accessible online, it also helps build an infrastructure that turns the internet into an integral research space for the increasingly digitalised research in the humanities and cultural studies. By linking these digital documents with other online resources, the potential of the internet can be fully leveraged. Thus the objective is not only to make these materials available, but also and especially to network the different resources to form a virtual research infrastructure. Creating integration-friendly data for this virtual research infrastructure requires standards to be applied, and the DFG Practical Guidelines on Digitisation, among other reference sources, define these standards.

The DFG Practical Guidelines on Digitisation are a key reference for DFG-funded digitisation projects. The document contains information about technical and organisational issues arising from the preparation and implementation of digitisation projects and is aimed at a wide audience even outside the DFG. The DFG Practical Guidelines on Digitisation are designed both to facilitate the planning of digitisation projects and to provide help and guidance to project teams, institutions and researchers who do not receive DFG funding. By defining standards, the Practical Guidelines will help to ensure that supported projects and the resulting infrastructure last well into the future for the benefit of future researchers.

The rapid pace of technical developments makes it necessary to update the DFG Practical Guidelines on Digitisation at regular intervals. The latest version was prepared by a working group which included members of the DFG Committee on Scientific Library Services and Information Systems and the Subcommittee for Indexing and Digitisation. In addition to general guidance relating to the digitisation of library stock, for the first time the updated version includes detailed recommendations for the digitisation of archival materials, particularly visual objects in museum collections.

Sections 1 to 5 provide a general and a more comprehensive introduction to the issues and methods relevant to projects that aim to digitise material from libraries, archives or museum collections. These sections are especially geared toward those who are planning such projects and may not have any detailed previous knowledge. Section 6 specifies the presentation standards and formats required by the DFG for text-based materials. Section 7 briefly summarises the most important requirements. Finally, Section 8 lays out important procedural rules for conducting DFG digitisation projects.

Further Information

The updated version is available at:

DFG programme contact: