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Digital Access to Cultural Heritage


Admission requirements

Only accessible for students of the MA Book & Digital Media Studies who have successfully completed the elective ‘The Library: Knowledge Centre of Past, Present and Future’.


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: digitization policies in the Netherlands and abroad; institutional frameworks for (digital) cultural heritage; materials selection and preparation; digitization technologies; search and retrieval; digital preservation; legal aspects; emerging technologies; project management and planning, etc. The course is facilitated by the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).

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.


Timetable on the website

Mode of instruction

Weekly three-hour seminars.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 5 EC, which equals 140 hours.

  • Attendance at lectures and seminars: 8 * 3h = 24h

  • Study of compulsory literature: 8 * 4h= 32h

  • Writing of essay and project plan: 21h + 63h = 84h

Assessment method

  • essay (25%)

  • assignment (project plan) (75%)

    In the case of a fail, you are entitled to rewrite the course essay and if course assignments were insufficient, an additional assignment.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

Will be specified during the course. All materials will be accessible online.


Enrollment trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact details

Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;

Coordinator of studies: Mr. J. Donkers, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.


Participation in all sessions of this course is compulsory. Upon prior consultation, the lecturer can permit absence at one session for compelling reasons. Students who are absent twice in this half-semester course (7 weeks) can be excluded from further participation and will have to re-take the course.