Orient-Digital receives generous funding from the German Research Foundation

In the course of the coming three years, the German Research Foundation will fund the development of a union catalogue and of a portal "Orient-Digital" for oriental manuscripts. It is intended to establish common cataloguing standards, to convert printed catalogues into electronic ones and to pool all existing electronic catalogue entries. Under the direction of the Oriental Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Gotha Research Library, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich and the University Computation Center (URZ) Leipzig will be cooperating closely.

Cosmography by Muḥammed Ibn-Zakarīyā al-Qazwīnīs (The Miracles of Creation). version of the 18th century | © BSB/ 463

Cosmography by Muḥammed Ibn-Zakarīyā al-Qazwīnīs (The Miracles of Creation). version of the 18th century | © BSB/ 463

Academic libraries in Germany host extensive and diverse collections of oriental manuscripts. These constitute an essential part of the written cultural heritage of the world and are of utmost importance as primary sources for various scholarly fields of specialisation.

Increasing the visibility of high-quality holdings and cataloguing data

In international comparison, the already achieved quality of scholarly cataloguing of the holdings is very high. This is owed to the very good quality of the older catalogues and, above all, to the Academy project "Cataloguing of oriental manuscripts in Germany" (Academy of Sciences Göttingen), which has been running since 1958. It is a drawback for international research, however, that it is difficult to find access to the historical and more recent printed catalogues, as well as to the entries in local library systems and isolated database applications. With the project for which funds have been granted now by the DFG, the metadata of Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts from 20 cooperating institutions will be incorporated in the database "Orient-Digital" ( , also providing links to digital copies. During the project term, data entry standards will be established and the data from the printed old catalogues of the participating German institutions will be entered in accordance with these standards. It is intended to make entries for around 22,000 manuscripts available in the portal by the time of conclusion of the project.

Further development of the MyCoRe database

The IT infrastructure of the existing electronic entries of oriental manuscripts will be adapted by the URZ Leipzig in order to permit optimum data exchange and to provide access for use to all interested institutions with large or small collections of oriental manuscripts in the future. To harmonise the currently mutually different cataloguing systems and data models, a central portal solution with a common index will be set up, in which the unified metadata and data of further external systems can be integrated. These activities will be carried out in close coordination with the manuscript portal ( likewise funded by the DFG, in order to achieve the greatest possible unification of technical and library standards. The project team of Orient-Digital will take up work in the spring of 2020. The incorporation of further Asian and African language groups is planned for a second project phase.
Manuscript portal

Press release for download

Press release  (PDF, 349 KB)

Press contacts

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz  (Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage)
Director General Barbara Schneider-Kempf

Jeanette Lamble, PR Officer
+49 30 266-431444

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
Peter Schnitzlein, PR Officer
+49 89 28638-2429

Erfurt University, Gotha Research Library
Monika Müller, Head of the Department Collections and Collection Conservation
+49 361 737-5561

Leipzig University, University Computation Center
Carsten Heckmann, PR Officer
+49 341 97-35021