Mass digitization

The KB converts books, newspapers, magazines, archives and collections into digital form. We do so in large quantities, which is why we call it mass digitization. We also ensure that these materials are available on our websites, such as Delpher and DBNL. That makes them accessible for researchers and other interested people. Mass digitization is one of the KB's areas of expertise.

Digitizing is best done together

Do you know about everything that the KB is digitizing? And where to find all those materials? We digitize a lot of printed texts, but also hand-written ones and other materials. We do that with the help of our colleagues, as well as other heritage institutions, national and regional archives, and university libraries. Our focus is on Dutch-language texts and materials from 1840 to 1960. We scan the paper versions of books, newspapers and magazines, while adding important information, like the title, date and author. That information is called metadata. We also process the paper heritage of other institutions, using funding from the Metamorfoze project.

Full-text digitization

Sometimes we go a step further, by making the scanned texts digitally searchable. This is called full-text digitization. It is the highest level of digitization at the KB, and makes the digitized texts even easier to read and search through. We also enrich them with metadata, so that the texts can also be searched based on their content. You can for example search texts by author and title, but also using places and dates mentioned in the texts.

You can find the books, newspapers and magazines on various websites: DelpherDBNL and Het Geheugen. We are also working on other projects, such as the Tokyo Trial archive and

Digitizing benefits everyone

We digitize materials because we want to preserve them for the future. We also want to make sure that you can search and examine them properly. The standard we set is that the quality of the digital files needs to be high enough for them to serve as a visual replacement for the original materials. All information that can be obtained from the original must also be visible in the digital file. That way, we can preserve information for the future.

Mass digitization facts and figures

The KB digitizes millions of pages a year, which are stored in our digital archives. We also make them available on our websites. Delpher features more than 165.000 books, 1.8 million newspapers, 415.000 magazines and more than 1 million episodes of radio programmes. On DBNL, you will find some 17.000 titles and more than 5 million pages, with in excess of 20.000 pages added every month. We also launch new projects every year, which produce another 1,5 million additional pages per year. We have good reason to do so, because DBNL attracts some 5 million visitors from all over the world per year. 

Our experts

More information for members of the press

Helen Johnson
Press officer
06 - 42 26 88 11