Projects and Cooperative Endeavours


Building on the projects Alhacen digitale and Optical Knowledge in the History of Painting the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome is cooperating with the Max Planck Society research group Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe (headed by Sven Dupré) at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin on the development of a digital platform for the history of optics and the way optical knowledge was used by artists.

Digitization LifeCycle

This is a project undertaken in collaboration with three other Max Planck Institutes and the Max Planck Digital Library, for the creation of an infrastructure to serve digitization projects and for the development of generic functions of publication, editing, and development of digitized text and image materials (run time: 01.02.2011–31.01.2013).
The project aims to create a web-based work environment for the import, edition, indexing and publication of digitized text and image materials, enabling the enrichment with additional scientific data, and the comparison, and referencing of text and image materials. The goal is to create a sustainable program, orientated to deal with established international standards (METS, MODS, TEI) and to permit exporting information to other systems (VD 16, VD 17, Europeana, ZVDD).

Alhacen Digitale

To mark the international conference LUMEN-IMAGO-PICTURA, a previously unknown fourteenth-century manuscript copy of the Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics) by Ibn al-Haytham (Latinised in the West as Alhacen or Alhazen) found in the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome was digitised and presented online together with the Opticae Thesaurus published by Friedrich Risner in 1572. Mark Smith, editor of the Latin manuscripts of Alhacen’s treatise, presented the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome, with the PDF files of his printed edition to be integrated into a digital platform bringing together and linking the different manuscripts, editions, translations and commentaries of Alhacen’s treatise. The project has since been taken up by Perspectiva+ (see above).

»Abruzzen und Molise« by Otto Lehmann-Brockhaus (1983) as »Living book«

After the devastating earthquake in the Abruzzo region on 9 April 2009, the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome, produced an interactive digital edition interactive digital edition of the excellent and long out-of-print reference book by Otto Lehmann-Brockhaus to assist the planned reconstruction of the damaged monuments. Using Web 2.0 technologies, editors indexed place names and monuments and linked them to further images, up-to-date bibliographies, maps and current information on the monuments. Drawing on the concept of the »Living Book«, the dynamic new form of publication was called a »Living Book«.

Digitisation of Rare Books

In 2006 the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome embarked on an ongoing campaign to digitise its holdings of rare Rome guidebooks and volumes of engravings. The digitised books, some of them already with structural data, have been online since 2008. Thus far approximately 10,000 illustrations from these books have been linked to the research database ZUCCARO.