The items of the Beethoven-Haus’s library and museum collections are being digitised continuously and made available for free in the Digital Archive and the library catalogues. The wish to transfer the analogue documents to a digital medium with the utmost colour fidelity is due to the demand of capturing the original document's content, impression and aura. Only an accurate reproduction of even the outer appearance up to showing the paper's structure guarantees that the digital copy has the same attraction and informational depth as the original document. The scan should also be usable for the production of facsimiles and withstand further ways of usage and printing techniques.

So far, two projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) have been carried out. The first one was also part of the project "The digital Beethoven-Haus" and was further funded by means in relation to the Berlin/Bonn Act.

In 2001, 26,000 pages of music manuscripts, letters, first editions, pictures and objects were digitised with the help of service providers SRZ from Berlin, eps from Bonn and the photographers Weidner/Danetzki from Rheinbreitbach. High-quality image scans (48 bit, RGB, ICC profile) on a scanner by the Cruse company from Rheinbach were used to create digital master TIF data. These data constitute the 4.3 TB large basis for specific applications.

In 2010, more music prints, manuscripts, pictures and music instruments were digitised as images. The service providers Mikrounivers from Berlin, Weidner/Danetzki from Rheinbreitbach and Merlin from Essen (as consultants) created 11,600 TIF master images. To save costs, the quality was reduced to a resolution of 300 dpi (600 dpi for manuscripts) and 24-bit colour depth (48 bit for one Beethoven autograph). The final master data had a size of about 1 TB.

All TIF master data were saved on hard disks. The conditions for a long-time storage without any data losses are directly linked to the type and storage of the data carriers, the use of standards, the development of concepts and the consideration of resources to renew data cariers on time, migrate data to new storage technologies and convert it to new formats. Apart from that, the Civil Defense Centre of the German State Administration Office plans to transfer the data on colour microfilm and keep it at the Central Safekeeping of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Digital Archive of North Rhine-Westphalia, started in 2012, is a pilot project for long-term archiving.

In the Digital Archive of the Beethoven-Haus four image sizes are available. They were adapted to a medium standard resolution for screens and currently have the following properties:
a) Gallery format (165 pixels)
b) Medium format (800 pixels)
c) Full-page format (1,280 pixels)
d) High-resolution format (unscaled, only for internal use)

The bibliographical, systematic and structured metadata are contained in the library catalogues and specific Excel sheets and databases.
© Beethoven-Haus Bonn