A Digital Network for University Collections – Berlin University Alliance

Digitization and strategic cooperation of university collections in research and teaching at the Berlin University Alliance

Recommended Procedures

Collections are extraordinary sources of knowledge playing an important role in research and teaching at all partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance. More than one hundred scientific collections with diverse contents and structures are known to exist at Berlin's universities. Their integration into the institutes and departments facilitates their use in research and teaching. However, as part of the complex research infrastructure, the university collections also need to be transparent and accessible to promote scientific cooperation and interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, as well as provenance research, exhibitions and citizen science projects.

Kristallographische Sammlung, Humboldt-Universität © Sammlungsfotografen 2020

Kristallographische Sammlung, Humboldt-Universität © Sammlungsfotografen 2020

 The project A Digital Network for University Collections therefore supports the digitization and networking of the collections and their objects. A joint web platform enables comprehensive research, while events related to the collections facilitate networking and the exchange of knowledge. By supporting and documenting showcase projects, it creates a sustainable repository for methods and work flows. In addition, the project evaluates IT systems and digital strategies, taking into account discipline-specific needs and perspectives on the uses, indexing and interlinking of collections. The project offers comprehensive, individual advice and technical support for all of the Alliance's collections.
For insights into current activities, see the blog (in German).
The project is coordinated at the library of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The Coordination Centre for Scientific University Collections in Germany (Koordinierungsstelle) with its nationwide and international expertise in the field is an important partner to the project. In addition, an advisory board supports the project, particularly concerning the strategic focus and the cross-institutional, transdisciplinary approach.
In the first funding period until May 2022, the foundation was established through networking within Berlin and beyond, the evaluation of software and the testing of digitization work flows and use cases. In the second phase until April 2023, successful solutions were tested for their general applicability. A joint collection platform set the foundation for a Berlin-wide collection and research portal as an overarching reference structure for collections. In the current funding phase, this platform will be further developed according to the needs of Berlin’s university collections in order to make them accessible as a scientific resource and thus further strengthen their digital presence and usability.
The project is a part of the Alliance's Objective “Sharing Resources” conceiving an excellent infrastructure as a decisive competitive factor in the promotion of research and the recruitment of outstanding academics. The aim is to make the best possible use of existing resources and to be able to plan new projects in a more efficient way. As part of the complex research infrastructure, collections should be transparent and accessible to the Alliance’s four partners and beyond.

Project management and coordination

Dr. Yong-Mi Rauch (Representative of collections, HU)

Leadership Board (Berlin University Alliance)

Dr. Stefanie Klamm (Collections management, Freie Universität)

Dr. Oliver Zauzig (Collections management, Humboldt-Universität)

Jürgen Christof (Director of the Library, Technische Universität)

Beate Kunst  (Curation, Museum of Medical History, Charité)


Dr. Meike Knittel (Collection networking and Communication)

Dr. Michael Müller (IT-Infrastructure)

Julian Seeberger (Digitization of collections and knowledge management)


Logo Berlin University Alliance

Gefördert vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) und dem Land Berlin im Rahmen der Exzellenzstrategie von Bund und Ländern