Digital Sources

We capture, preserve, and provide access

Welcome to the Digital Humanities Lab

University of Basel

We are a technology-based lab in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Basel with more than 20 years of practice in interdisciplinary research. Our roots are in photography, starting in the 1920s, leading us in the early 1980s to digital imaging and the long-term preservation of digital data. Knora, our web-based virtual research environment, aims to bridge the gap between the production of digital sources and their preservation, allowing researchers to work collaboratively with different types of primary and secondary source material.

Digital information lasts forever or five years, whichever comes first | Jeff Rothenburg

More than 20 years of practice in interdisciplinary research

International Image Interoperability Framework

Our goal is to promote and enhance IIIF server technology for archiving. We are about to use the on the fly transcoding for video as well, to be able to offer a full feature media sever, optimized for archival purposes.

Database and Data Modeling

We are RDF experts and have rich knowledge in designing ontologies, performant data base designs, that fulfill the highest needs regarding interoperability and simply maintenance.

Web Graphics Library

We are using WebGL for the visualization of RTI images and photographically gained textures, that can be applied on 3D meshes.

Color Science, Color Management, Color Technology

We have a deep knowledge in color science, color transforms. We are doing research in color vision and high fidelity color renderings.

Storage Architecture

We make use of state-of-the-art technologies for simple, functional and efficient storage solutions. We consult multiple archives and museums.

Analogue and Digital Photography

Our roots are scientific photography and we still take care on that topic. We have rich knowledge in analogue and digital photography, studio techniques, reproduction of artwork and new computational methods.

Can the future Web change the way people work together and advanced knowledge in a small company, a large organisation, a country? | Tim Berners-Lee

Our main team

Prof. Dr. Lukas Rosenthaler

Management Team

+41 (0) 61-207-04-90

Bernoullistrasse 32, 4056 Basel
Room 012

My research is focused on the longevity of audio-visual cultural heritage and its use in the digital age. Key aspects are:

  • New tools for the use of digital sources (virtual research environments)
  • Digital archiving and archives (digitization, access, long-term archival, and longevity of digital information)
  • Restoration/reconstruction of visual media, especially moving images


Dr. Peter Fornaro

Management Team

+41 (0) 61-207-04-87

Bernoullistrasse 32, 4056 Basel
Room 013

I studied electrical engineering, physics, photography, and business administration. My research covers modern camera technology, innovative scanning methods like Reflection Transformation Imaging (RTI), colour science, and digital preservation.
In my lectures I teach media technology, colour science, and photography. I am also responsible for scanning projects and for financial and business matters.

Download Curriculum vitae


When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls! | Ted Grant

Our activities: Research, Lectures and Services


since 2017

Data and Service Center for the Humanities DaSCH

Research data in the humanities needs to be sustainable, and access to digital resources must be possible over a long period. Only if these prerequisites are fulfilled can research data be used as a source for new projects. Reliability is another fundamental requirement so that digital sources can be cited, reused, and quoted. The Data and Service Center for the Humanities, located in Switzerland, aims to help solve this problem. It offers a centralized infrastructure based on flexible and extensible software, modern technologies, and open standards. This makes it straightforward to migrate existing humanities research project databases with limited life spans to a standards-based form for long-term preservation and reuse. We will demonstrate the basic concepts behind this proposed solution and our initial results.

Pilot project (2013-2015): Final Report


since 2016

Nationale Infrastruktur für Editionen - Infrastructure nationale pour les éditions

Swissuniversities' program "Scientific information: access, processing and safeguarding" is funding a project submitted by the FEE Forum für Edition und Erschliessung for the creation of a "National Infrastructure for Editions" (NIE - INE). The University of Basel and its partners in Berne, Geneva and Zurich, together with the University Library of Basel and the Central Library of Zurich, receive 2.36 million Swiss francs of more than 5.26 million Swiss francs.

Within the scope of the proposed project, a national infrastructure (work and publication platform) is to be created for editions (NIE - INE), which is open to all scientific edition projects in Switzerland. The platform is designed to meet the specific needs of large and complex edition projects and, in particular, to ensure the electronic publication and long-term availability of research data and results in a central area of ​​national humanities research. The NIE - INE will fill the existing gap between the research and the existing and planned offers of the memory institutions. The basis for the new development are recognized and tested instruments of the Digital Humanities.

The development of the NIE - INE is shared by key stakeholders in all affected areas. The overall project is coordinated by the Forum for Edition and Development (FEE) of the University of Basel, which bundles the scientific disciplines and competencies of the entire disciplines and guarantees the overall management. The central partner is the Data- and Service Center for the Humanities (DaSCH). This SAGW company, which is currently operating in pilot operation, will start regular operations in 2017 and will keep the edition platform created in the NIE-INE available in the long term. As a technology provider, the Digital Humanities Lab (DHLab) of the University of Basel ensures the coordination of the technical issues and coordinates the development of NIE - INE with the development of the basic technology used.



Bernoulli-Euler Online

The project Bernoulli-Euler Online (BEOL) integrates the two edition projects Basler Edition der Bernoulli-Briefwechsel (BEBB) and Leonhardi Euleri Opera Omnia (LEOO) into one digital platform available on the web. In addition, Jacob Bernoulli's scientific notebook Meditationes — a document of outstanding significance for the history of mathematics at its turning point around 1700 — will be published, offering a multilayer access to the user (facsimile, transcription, critical text, translations, indices, and commentaries). BEOL is implemented within Knora/SALSAH, a generic virtual research environment (VRE) for the humanities. Besides being an edition, BEOL will be a research platform for the study of early modern mathematics and science. It will also be interoperable with other digital platforms, which can interact with it via Knora's RDF-based data model and RESTful API. The goal of BEOL is thus twofold: It focuses on the mathematics influenced by the Bernoulli dynasty and Leonhard Euler and undertakes a methodological effort to present these materials to the public and researchers in a highly functional way.