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.


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



Data and Service Center for the Humanities

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.

Final Report

SRF Radio Interview: Basel plant ein digitales Gedächtnis für die Wissenschaft.



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.

Archives on the move


Archives on the move

The project Archives on the move aims at developing an attractive environment to use and explore the digitized photo archives of Kunsthalle Basel. In cooperation, an expandable online platform is being realized. Visual-based search options and content-related modules curated around selected topics make the content in the database available in a sophisticated way. It provides useful information on art historical contexts for scientists and the general public. The project demonstrates new front end presentations for image collections enriched with cultural contents. Its technological implementation counts on the advantages of the virtual research environment SALSAH/KNORA.