Full-text search, steplessly variable zoom, open access – the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek introduces its new Digital Collections with around 2.7 million digitized titles

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has comprehensively updated and improved its digital core piece, the Digital Collections. At the address, it has now been made even easier to search, browse, explore and admire around 2.7 million digitized titles from the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, as well as from the regional State Libraries of Augsburg, Bamberg, Regensburg and Passau.

Initiated in 1997 by the Munich Digitization Center (MDZ) of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Digital Collections, which include over 355 million digitized pages, constitute the largest collection of their kind in Germany today. The current relaunch includes much more than a new optical design. The goal of the technological review is to improve the usability of the written cultural heritage for scholars and researchers, but also for the public in general.

The most important new features in detail:

  • Optimised search: The new search function searches both the metadata of all works and the complete full texts of the digitized works.
  • Usability: The majority of the digital copies (currently around 95%) are presented uniformly in the innovative IIIF viewer "Mirador 3". The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has played an important role in its development together with further national and international institutions. The IIIF technology is an international standard for making available digital images on the Internet and for their use in working environments all over the world.
  • Improved readability: With respect to printed works, a new superimposition function allows superimposing the full text over the associated image.
  • Detail accuracy: The high-resolution images can be zoomed in stepless manner, so that even the smallest details of the original become visible.
  • Open access: Content sharing is allowed and encouraged for non-commercial purposes. There are comfortable download functions, and it is possible to use publicly accessible interfaces for directly embedding the digital copies in websites of non-commercially acting third parties.

The design of the Digital Collections is responsive and barrier-free throughout, so that the services can be accessed comfortably from all conventional types of terminals, such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Re-usable components of the developed software are made available for unrestricted further use within the open source framework.

With respect to volume, interoperability and openness of access, the new Digital Collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are unique Germany-wide.

Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: "In comparison to the year before, the number of visits to our digital services increased by 72% in 2020. This is a clear indication that research, teaching and studies are experiencing a strong shift towards the digital space during the Corona pandemic. The Digital Collections as the digital core piece of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek include both research objects and digital copies of general cultural interest. This is exactly the right time for their relaunch."

To the Digital Collections:
To the open source software of the MDZ:

Press release for download
Press release  (PDF, 90 KB)  (in German)

Contact persons

Dr. Markus Brantl
Digital Library and Bavarica
Phone  +49 89 28638-2394

Peter Schnitzlein
Press and Public Relations
Phone  +49 89 28638-2429


About the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is an international research library of world renown. With around 34,5 million media units, it is the largest universal library in Germany and forms part of the most important heritage institutions of the world. With more than 2.7 million digitized works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the largest digital data stock of all German libraries. The library offers a broad variety of services in the field of innovative digital use scenarios.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Ludwigstrasse 16, 80539 Munich