BSB München, Germany
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the most important European general libraries and ranks among the best research libraries on an international scale. It forms Germany's virtual national library together with the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt and Leipzig. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is also the central state library and repository library of the Free State of Bavaria. With almost 10 million books, about 50,000 current periodicals in printed or electronic form and more than 90,000 manuscripts, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the prime national and international addresses for researchers, students and all those seeking information.
The library's unique collection profile is characterised by extremely precious manuscripts, rare printed books and comprehensive special collections from thousands of years of cultural heritage. But at the same time, the library rises to the challenges of the future. As an innovative force in the field of digital services, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is continually enhancing its digital and Internet-based services, through mass digitisation of its collections and the development of innovative digitisation technologies. The “Munich Digitisation Centre”, established in 1997 as a national competence centre, “Virtual Subject Libraries”, the “Bavarian Regional Library Online”, the “Centre for Electronic Publishing in the Humanities” and the Public-Private Partnership with Google are examples of the active role of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in managing the transition to digital, network-based information services for research and study.
The collection of Western manuscripts of the period from the 6th century to the 20th century currently comprises approximately 37,000 codices, among them approx. 17,000 in Latin, 10,700 in German, 1,000 in French, 940 in Italian, 650 in Greek, 145 in Spanish and Portuguese as well as 100 in Slavic languages. A great number of these manuscripts were taken over from the dissolved Bavarian monasteries, among which was the Freising Cathedral library. The Freising holdings (bearing the shelfmarks Clm 6201-6787) are extremely rich in manuscripts of the eighth and ninth centuries, 72 of which contain decorative elements, mainly initials. The exceptional Freising collection, which has come down to us almost completely, puts art historians in the rare position to study the development of the ornamentation of initials in a single scriptorium during the Carolingian period.
The library is deeply committed to digitizing its unique and extremely rare holdings. To this end, several digitisation projects are being conducted. These projects are first and foremost concerned with early printing, mainly from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: the block books (full-page copies printed from wooden blocks) preserved in the BSB and other Bavarian collections, the library’s 9,900 incunabula and the more than 40,000 printed books from the sixteenth century that are described in the VD16 (National Retrospective Bibliography for German 16th century printed books). While these projects are funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the Public-Private Partnership with Google will enable the library to digitize more that 1,000,000 books published before 1900. As regards the manuscript collection, a large portion of the illustrated “Codices iconographici” as well as an increasing number of manuscripts from convents has been digitised within the DFG framework so far. Most of the other digital images that are available online have been produced in minor projects or “on demand”.