Digital Resources

The Photothek's digital and electronic resources can be freely consulted online. They include the digitized negatives and positives in the Digital Photo Library, a searchable index yielding the accession date of each individual photograph, a collection of 19th and early 20th-century sales catalogues published by various European photographic studios, the Photothek's online exhibitions and its digitized collection of prints and engravings. Plans are being made to digitize the inventory books and the card catalogues.

The digitized negatives and the digital photographs under KHI copyright are freely accessible for consultation via the Photothek's image database.

Of the currently 620,000 photographs in the Photothek's holdings, which have been growing continuously since 1897, 65,000 are currently online. Digital images can also be supplied upon request for academic publications (see Service).

The Digital Photo Library is searchable both by art work and by photograph (including by photographer, negative number and type of accession). Searches can also be refined by subset. These subsets comprise selected areas of the Digital Photo Library, such as historical photographs (Cimelia Photographica), specific photo campaigns (e.g. Boboli Gartens, Georgia), the Photothek's collection of prints and engravings, and pictures by individual photographers (holding Hilde Lotz-Bauer, holding Mario Polesel).

Digital Photo Library

The electronic catalogue contains data entries for all photographs purchased since 1993 together with related older holdings. In this database both digitized and non-digitized images are continuously catalogued with the APS system in line with MIDAS rules and standards. More than one third of the 620,000 photographs in the Photothek's holdings are today indexed in this way.

These images can be consulted online – along with the holdings of other photo libraries, including those of the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte in Rome, the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg and the Deutsche Fotothek in Dresden – via the German-language union catalogue Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur. The same data can also be accessed on the international portal Europeana.

The electronic Accession Date Index is based on entries in the inventory books from the years 1924 to 1993 (inv. nos. 17269 to 495397).

When an inventory number is entered, the corresponding accession date is shown. Alternatively, when an accession date is entered, the corresponding inventory numbers are shown.

Accession Date Index

The Photothek owns an important collection of sales catalogues by photographic studios and commercial agencies, which date back as far as 1864. These historical catalogues represent valuable research tools and are gradually being digitized. A list of the catalogues, as well as full copies of those already digitized, can be downloaded as PDFs from our website.

Sales Catalogues

Since 2006, online exhibitions present selected facets of the Photothek's holdings and provide an insight into the KHI's research projects and activities.
The exhibitions may be monographic or thematic in scope. They spotlight the works of individual artists and photographers, museum and collection holdings, events such as natural catastrophes, historical academic practices and interdisciplinary issues. Through the medium of the online exhibition, the Photothek wishes to reach a wider audience and raise awareness of the significance of photography with regard to the conservation of our endangered cultural heritage.

Online Exhibitions


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