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Digital Acces to Cultural Heritage


Admission requirements

Successful completion of first semester elective The Library.


Creating digital access to collections of cultural heritage is hot. Institutions want to have a strong web presence and making their collections accessible via the World Wide Web is central to that. The digitisation of collections is still in a developing phase, with many technological and policy challenges lying ahead. This course deals with the variety of challenges for making cultural heritage collections and knowledge domains accessible in a digital form. Scanning (or imaging) is only step in a complex sequence of activities to be undertaken to make physical collections accessible and searchable via the Internet. Topics include: selection and preparation; digitisation; search and retrieval; digital preservation; legal aspects; emerging technologies; project management and planning, etc. The course is facilitated by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands.

Course objectives


  • Gain a broad understanding of digitisation concepts;

  • Become familiar with current digitisation practice within the broader cultural heritage field;

  • Gain an understanding of the key processes in the planning and realisation of digitisation projects;

  • Gain experience with developing a project plan for a digitisation project;

  • Gain knowledge of methods and standards for providing access to digital documents as well as knowledge of file formats, techniques, long-term preservation, usability and copyright issues;

  • Are equipped to think about future developments and effects of digitisation on society and cultural heritage organisations;

  • Know how and where to find knowledge and examples of good practice.


The timetable will be avialable by June 1st on

Mode of instruction

Three-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method

Essay (25%), project plan (75%).



Reading list

To be announced


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail.
Co-ordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.