Digitalisation and indexing of portrait collections from archives of the Leibniz Association

In a three-year project nine archives of the Leibniz Association have digitised their portrait collections and made them accessible to a wide public. The collections include a total of 33,000 prints, drawings, photographs, and paintings. The portraits of scientists, engineers, industrialists, architects, artists, nobles, teachers, sailors, and miners were linked to additional data and put on the Internet. The IfL brought about a thousand portraits into the project, mainly photographs of geographers, earth scientists, and explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The “DigiPortA” project demonstrates the possibilities of cooperative archival description, digitisation and presentation of pictorial sources for electronic biographical research and simultaneously illustrates the importance of archives within the Leibniz Association. The portrait collections of participating archives contain in particular representations from the 19th and 20th centuries, but also older prints, reaching back to the 16th century.


The IfL has completed its part of the project in November 2013. In total, more than 1300 portraits from the Institute’s collections have been made accessible. All pictures are searchable already before the completion of the overall project in the catalog of the Geographical Central Library (OPAC) by entering the term "DigiPortA" in the search box "Projekt". Most of the portraits from the IfL were produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. Besides, the user can find graphic representations of people that go back to the 16th century. From the perspective of the history of geography particularly interesting are those photographs which show geographers on excursions and expeditions or doing field research.

Since January 2015 DigiPortA (established and supported by Deutsches Museum, Munich) is online: www.digiporta.net


Huguenin, Fabienne: Normierte Erschließung im Digitalisierungsprojekt DigiPortA (pdf)

Jooss, Birgit: Vom Umgang mit Portraitfotografien in den Nachlässen des Deutschen Kunstarchivs. Das Projekt "DigiPortA". In: Ziehe, Irene (Hg.): Fotografie und Film im Archiv. Münster: Waxmann 2013, S. 12–26.

Project information

Project team

Heinz Peter Brogiato, Dirk Görsch


Archiv des Deutschen Museums (Munich); Archiv des Deutschen Schiffahrtsmuseums (Bremerhaven); Montanhistorisches Dokumentationszentrum (montan.dok) beim Deutschen Bergbau-Museum (Bochum); Deutsches Kunstarchiv im Germanischen Nationalmuseum (Nurenberg); Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut (Müncheberg); Bildarchiv und Dokumentesammlung des Herder-Instituts für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung (Marburg); Archiv der Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung des Deutschen Instituts für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (Berlin); Wissenschaftliche Sammlungen des Leibniz-Instituts für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung (Erkner)

Duration of project

05/2012 – 04/2015

Funded by

Leibniz Association

Further information

Heinz Peter Brogiato
Tel. +49 341 600 55-126


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