nl en

Digital Access to Cultural Heritage


Admission requirements

Directly 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’. All others should contact the course coordinator.


Creating digital access to collections of cultural heritage is central to a strong web presence for cultural heritage institutions. Mass-digitization has become the norm for heritage institutions, yet many technological challenges and policy issues lie ahead before digitized collections can become universally accessible.
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 the first 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; Digital Humanities research; materials selection, preparation, and processing; long-term digital preservation; and legal aspects. 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 current state of Digital Humanities research;

  • gain experience with developing a proposal for a research project using digitized cultural heritage;

  • 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 (humanities) research, 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

Midterm oral presentation (20%), midterm paper (20%) and final paper (60%). The final mark is established by determining the weighted average of these two assessments. In case of an insufficient result, the resit consists of the same parts as the first opportunity; students therefore only take the resits for those parts that were insufficient. In case the result of the presentation is insufficient, an brief extra paper will have to be written instead.


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 4, room 1.02b.


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.