Decentral Digital Incunabula Collection (vdIB)

In this project "Decentral Digital Incunabula Collection" (2003-2006), funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation), the Herzog August Bibliothek has digitised 667 incunabula printed after 1484 and made their contents accessible. The project was carried out in co-operation with the University of Cologne and the Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Cologne, where incunabula from the years 1450-1484 were digitised.

The digitised incunabula of the HAB have been made available both via the Wolfenbüttler Digitale Bibliothek and the joint project homepage located in Cologne ( The digital facsimiles were enhanced by structural metadata comprising the transcription of significant textual elements extracted from the text at regular intervals as well as the identification of typographical features and specific characteristics of an early imprint, such as provenance, colophons, decorative initials etc. Furthermore, a concordance to modern text editions has been added for many of the incunabula.

In all, 667 imprints from the Wolfenbüttel incunabula collection have been digitised. In detail: 627 of 1046 incunabula of the Augusta Collection (60%), 36 of 521 of the Helmstedt Collection (7%), and 4 of 378 of the "Mittlere Aufstellung" (1%). These are mainly imprints in Latin language, but German and - in lesser number - French, Italian and Dutch texts are represented as well. The main criterion for selecting a title was to achieve a representative sample of both libraries as regards both time and the content, and thus of the publications from the incunabula era in general. This goal was achieved by focussing on the thematically wide-ranging Augusta Collection.


Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Person in charge: Timo Steyer