Digitization of valuable plans and technical drawings for the recording and exploration  of space in the 20th century (“DigiPEER”)


This is conceived as a pilot project, and as the first step in filling an institutional gap in logging the materials found in collections in Germany. In contrast to classical filed material ¬– for which archival responsibility is usually clear-cut – collected materials (private papers, manuscripts, technical drawings, photographs, maps, plans, audiovisual material, software etc.) cannot automatically be allocated to a particular archive facility.

In this project, four Leibniz archives developed a prototype, indexing 20,000 previously unexamined large-format plans and technical drawings (up to DIN A0, in some cases up to 4A0), and made them available online for researchers and interested members of the public. Together they used national and international indexing norms to develop categories allowing the objects to be described, and facilitating online searching. By concentrating on the category of “space”, the project offered innovative approaches for spatial research in history and the social sciences. The project brings together the archives of the Leibniz Association, strengthens the “Leibniz Association brand” in the public eye, and has paved the way for follow-on activities, in particular the implementation of the strategy of “Sammeln im Verbund”, i.e. joint planning and management of collections nationwide. At the same time, it is a contribution to the open access initiative within the Leibniz Association. The online platform presents a variety of concepts and practices for appropriating space, along with an extensive collection of sources. These belong broadly to the history of technology and planning, and

  • material on the exploration of outer space by the early German rocket programme (Deutsches Museum, Munich),
  • material on the exploration of the sea by means of technical progress in building ships for cargo and passenger transport (Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven),
  • material on the transformation of landscapes and the exploitation of natural resources (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Bochum) and
  • material on the architectural design of towns and regions (Leibniz-Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung, Erkner).

The final conference for the project took place on 27 and 28 November 2012 in Munich. Archivists and historians discussed aspects of the project relating to content, technology and archival matters. They also scrutinized the value of the sources, especially for research on spatial history, and the connections between scholarly research and the indexing of sources. Further information on the project and the conference can be found on the project homepage at www.digipeer.de.

For further information please see the annual report 2012 of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum


Arch. André Köhler

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum


Haushaltsmittel aus dem Pakt für Forschung und Innovation/DBM