NFDI4Culture – Consortium for research data on material and immaterial cultural heritage / Konsortium für Forschungsdaten zu materiellen und immateriellen Kulturgütern

NFDI4Culture User Stories

On the basis of community survey data, the consortium partners have identified and formalised 28 user stories and validated them through close dialogue with researchers from the participating communities and users from GLAM institutions. All user stories were aligned to the research data life cycle and served as the basis for creating the research data management strategy and the measures in the work programme. They are available here

Digital data on tangible and intangible cultural assets is an essential part of daily life, communication and experience. It has a lasting influence on the perception of cultural identity as well as on the interactions between research, the cultural economy and society. Throughout the last three decades, many cultural heritage institutions have contributed to a wealth of digital representations of cultural assets (2D digital reproductions of paintings, sheet music, 3D digital models of sculptures, monuments, rooms, buildings), audio-visual data (music, film, stage performances), and procedural research data such as encoding and annotation formats. The long-term preservation and FAIR availability of research data from the cultural heritage domain is fundamentally important, not only for future academic success in the humanities but also for the cultural self-understanding of individuals and society as a whole. Up to now, no coordinated effort for professional research data management on a national level exists. NFDI4Culture aims to fill this gap and create a user-centred, research-driven infrastructure that will cover a broad range of research domains from musicology, art history and architecture to performance, theatre, film, and media studies.

The research landscape addressed by the consortium is characterised by strong institutional differentiation. Research units in the consortium's community of interest comprise university institutes, art colleges, academies, galleries, libraries, archives and museums. This diversified landscape is also characterised by an abundance research objects, methodologies and a great potential for data-driven research. In a unique effort carried out by ten academic societies and the applicant and co-applicants of this proposal, this community of interest is tied together for the first time within a federated approach that is ideally suited to the needs of the involved researchers. Openness for collaboration within the NFDI, sharing of knowledge and technology and continued support for its users have been the guiding principles of the consortium from the beginning and will be at the heart of all workflows and decision making processes. Through this, NFDI4Culture has gathered strong support ranging from individual researchers up to high level cultural heritage organisations such as the UNESCO, the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia. On this basis, NFDI4Culture will take innovative measures that promote a cultural change towards a more reflective and sustainable handling of research data and at the same time boost qualification and professionalisation in data-driven research in the domain of cultural heritage. This will create a long-lasting impact on science, cultural economy and society as a whole.


As of August 16th 2019
(Co-)Applicants of the planned consortium
Including institutional affiliation
  • Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz (Prof. Torsten Schrade)
  • Philipps-Universität Marburg (Dr. Christian Bracht, Prof. Dr. Malte Hagener)
  • FIZ Karlsruhe - Leibniz Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur, Karlsruhe (Prof. Dr. Franziska Boehm, Prof. Dr. Harald Sack)
  • Universität Heidelberg (Dr. Maria Effinger)
  • Universität zu Köln (Dr. Lisa Dieckmann)
  • Universität Paderborn (Prof. Dr. Andreas Münzmay, Dipl. Wirt.-Inf. Daniel Röwenstrunk)
  • Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (Dr. Jens Bove, Dr. Barbara Wiermann)
  • Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Reinhard Altenhöner)
  • Leibniz-Informationszentrum und Universitätsbibliothek Hannover (TIB) (Prof. Dr. Ina Blümel)
Scientific/Learned/Specialist Societies
  • Bund Deutscher Architekten e.V. (Dipl.-Ing. Heiner Farwick, Dr. Thomas Welter)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien (DGfA) (Dr. Alexander Dunst)
  • Fachgruppe Dokumentation, Deutscher Museumsbund (Marita Andó)
  • Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaften (Prof. Dr. Matthias Christen, Prof. Dr. Malte Hagener)
  • Gesellschaft für Musikforschung (Prof. Dr. Dörte Schmidt)
  • Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (Mariama Diagne)
  • Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaften (Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Müller-Schoell)
  • International Association of Music Libraries and Documentation Centers (IAML), Deutschland (Dr. Ann Kersting-Meulemann)
  • Mediävistenverband, e.V. (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Drews, Prof. Dr. Gabriel Viehauser)
  • Rektorenkonferenz der deutschen Musikhochschulen (Prof. Dr. Susanne Rode-Breymann)
  • Rektorenkonferenz der deutschen Kunsthochschulen (Prof. Gabriele Langendorf)
  • Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte - Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Philipps- Universität Marburg (Dr. Christian Bracht, Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher)
  • Verband deutscher Kunsthistoriker e.V. (Prof. Dr. Kilian Heck, Prof. Dr. Holger Simon)
  • Verband Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum (Prof. Dr. Christof Schöch)
  • Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands (Prof. Dr. Eva Schlotheuber)
  • Vereinigung der Landesdenkmalpfleger (Prof. Dr. Georg Skalecki)
  • Arbeitskreis Digitale Kunstgeschichte (Dr. Georg Schelbert)
  • Arbeitskreis Digitale Rekonstruktion im DHd Verband (Dr. Sander Münster)
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft kunsthistorischer Bildarchive und Fototheken (Dr. Jens Bove)
  • Architekturinstitut der Hochschule Mainz (AI MAINZ) (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Piotr Kuroczynski)
  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) München, FID Musikwissenschaft (Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Jürgen Diet)
  • Bach-Archiv Leipzig (Prof. Dr. Peter Wollny)
  • Beethoven-Haus Bonn (Prof. Dr. Christine Siegert)
  • Bernd Alois Zimmermann-Gesamtausgabe (Prof. Dr. Dörte Schmidt)
  • Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv, Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prof. Dr. Lars-Christian Koch)
  • Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen)
  • Center for World Music (Universität Hildesheim) (Dr. Michael Fuhr)
  • Cinepoetics (BMBF-Projekt Affektrhetoriken des Audiovisuellen) (Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jan Hendrik Bakels)
  • Corpus Vitrearum International (Dr. Hartmut Scholz)
  • Corpus der Barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland (Prof. Dr. Stephan Hoppe)
  • CultLab3D, Fraunhofer Institut für Graphische Datenverarbeitung (Prof. Dr. Dieter Fellner, Pedro Santos)
  • Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (Frank Frischmuth)
  • Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris – DFK Paris (Max-Weber-Stiftung) (Prof. Dr. Thomas Kirchner)
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (Dr. Elisabeth Niggemann, Jürgen Kett)
  • DRA - Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (Dr. Annemone Ligensa)
  • digiCULT Verbund e.G. (Dr. Jens Ahlers)
  • Europäisches Zentrum für Jüdische Musik (HMTM Hannover) (Prof. Dr. Sarah Roß, Samuel Mundt)
  • Fachinformationsdienst Darstellende Kunst (UB Frankfurt a.M.) (Franziska Voß)
  • Fachinformationsdienst Kunst - Fotografie - Design ( (UB Heidelberg/ SLUB Dresden) (Dr. Maria Effinger, Dr. Jens Bove)
  • Fachinformationsdienst Medien-, Kommunikations- und Filmwissenschaften (UB Leipzig) (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Johannes Schneider, Dr. Sebastian Stoppe)
  • Fachinformationsdienst Musikwissenschaft (musiconn) (BSB München/ SLUB Dresden) (Jürgen Diet, Dr. Barbara Wiermann)
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Prof. Dr. Peter Bell)
  • Germanisches Nationalmuseum – Leibniz Forschungsmuseum für Kulturgeschichte (Prof. Dr. Daniel Hess, Mark Fichtner, Dr. Frank P. Bär)
  • Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing (Prof. Dr. Björn Ommer)
  • Herder-Institut für Historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung – Institut der Leibniz Gemeinschaft (Prof. Dr. Peter Haslinger, Barbara Fichtl)
  • Hochschule Mainz, University of Applied Sciences (Prof. Dr. Kai-Christian Bruhn, Prof. Dr. Piotr Kuroczynski, Prof. Florian Jenett)
  • Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Musikwissenschaft, Abteilung Musikwissenschaft (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) (Prof. Dr. Stefanie Acquavella-Rauch)
  • Institut für Museumsforschung (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (Prof. Dr. Bernhard Graf, Prof. Monika Hagedorn-Saupe)
  • Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Universität Leipzig (Prof. Dr. Patrick Primavesi)
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing
  • Kompetenzzentrum Kulturerbe: materiell – immateriell – digital (Universität Paderborn) (Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Seng)
  • Koordinierungsstelle (FH Potsdam) (Ulf Preuß)
  • Kulturhistorische Sammlungen der Leibniz Gemeinschaft (Dr. Helmuth Trischler)
  • Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte (Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf, Dr. Costanza Caraffa)
  • Kunsthistorisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Prof. Dr. Hubertus Kohle, Prof. Dr. Stephan Hoppe)
  • Lehrstuhl für Musikethnologie (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt) (Prof. Dr. Barbara Alge)
  • Mainzer Zentrum für Digitalität in den Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften (Prof. Dr. Kai Christian Bruhn)
  • Martin-Luther-Universität Halle / Hallische Händelausgabe (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hirschmann)
  • Museen der Stadt Köln, Digital-Initiative „Museen 2022+“ (Martin Hegel)
  • Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung (Dr. Frederik Berger, Dr. Christoph Häuser)
  • Musikabteilung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Dr. Martina Rebmann)
  • Musikinstrumentenmuseum der Universität Leipzig (Prof. Dr. Josef Focht)
  • Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (Prof. Dr. Stefan Simon)
  • Répertoire International des Sources Musicale Deutschland (Prof. Dr. Nicole Schwindt)
  • Répertoire International des Sources Musicale International (Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann)
  • Répertoire International des Sources Musicales Schweiz (Dr. Laurent Pugin)
  • Répertoire International d'Iconographie Musicale (Dr. Reiner Nägele, Dr. Dagmar Schnell)
  • SUB Göttingen (Prof. Dr. Wolfram Horstmann, Dr. Regine Stein)
  • Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (Dr. Thomas Ertelt)
  • Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (SPK) (Dr. hc. NUACA Barbara Schneider-Kempf)
  • Universität der Künste, Berlin (Prof. Martin Rennert, Prof. Dr. Norbert Palz, Prof. Dr. Dr. Daniel D. Hromada)
  • Universität zu Köln (Dr. Claes Neuefeind, Data Center of the Humanities)
  • Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in München (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Pfisterer, Dr. Stephan Klingen)
  • Zentrum für digitale Kulturgüter in Museen (ZEDIKUM), Staatliche Museen (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (Prof. Dr. Andreas Bienert)
  • Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe (Prof. Christiane Riedel)

NFDI4Culture differentiates between digital representations (reproductions) of cultural assets including their metadata and procedural research data resulting from research processes:

Digital Representations of Cultural Assets

  • all forms of 2D digital reproductions (two-dimensional photographs of material or immaterial cultural assets, e.g. photos of paintings, sculptures, sheet music, scores, but also recordings of performed works such as dances, etc.)
  • 3D models of cultural assets created from 2D photographs by using photogrammetric processes (e.g. 3D models of objects from church treasures or art collections, but also musical instruments, etc.)
  • 3D digital reproductions of cultural artefacts, rooms or buildings (photographs from laser, projection and/or structured light scanners, point clouds and colour information from texture cameras)
  • all types of audio-visual data on material and immaterial cultural assets (music, film, video recordings etc.)

Procedural Research Data

  • graphic formats (raster formats and vector formats including their image metadata, e.g. Exif, XMP, etc.), vector formats for the digital depiction of notes
  • digital reconstructions of cultural assets, computer-generated structures of objects or buildings on the basis of CAAD or rendering programmes, computer-based simulations of cultural spaces or artistic performances
  • encoding and annotation formats (e.g. XML-based formats for encoding music or annotating images, time tags or shape annotations for videos, etc.)
  • metadata and serialisations of semantic models (e.g. CIDOC-CRM, IFLA-LRM and other derivates) for the description of material and immaterial cultural assets, exchange formats

Planned implementation of the FAIR principles

NFDI4Culture is closely orientated to the guidelines of the Schwerpunktinitiative “Digitale Information” of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Research data on material and immaterial cultural assets, all (data) services based on it and software tools should be made available to researchers in a comprehensively usable form, preferably without legal, financial, technical or organisational barriers (see guidelines of the Schwerpunktinitiative 2018–2022, p. 4). The Arbeitskreis Digitale Kunstgeschichte [working group for digital art history] and the Fachgruppe Digitale Musikwissenschaft [panel for digital musicology] are involved in the consortium. In their disciplines, both bodies are addressing the drafting of guidelines for the open and reliable handling of research data. In addition, the FAIR principles are being applied in all of the consortium’s six areas of responsibility:
    1. Digitisation:

    Digital representations are traceable and are made available to research via federated evidence and search systems. Well-matched digitisation standards geared to the needs of the researchers will lead in future to an improved interoperability and reusability of digital cultural assets.

    2. Data Standards and Data Quality:

    Providers and researchers will collaborate to achieve an agreement on open data standards, persistent identifiers, version and provenance management, interfaces, software and its documentation. This will improve the findability of the objects but also the accessibility, interoperability and reusability for research over the research data’s entire life cycle.

    3. Tools and Data Services:

    An agreement on standardised protocols for the exchange of research data increases the interoperability of the consortium’s offerings on the data service level. Software is described with standardised metadata, versions and derivates of the software are clearly identified using PIDs and are made permanently available together with their documentation. This increases the sustainability of software technology and at the same time the reusability of the tools.

    4. Provision and Publication:

    Existing offerings for professionally supported, sustainable and uncomplicated research data publications will be greatly enlarged. This increases the accessibility but also the reusability of research results in the field of material and immaterial cultural assets.

    5. Rights and Data Ethics:

    The accessibility and reusability of research data and software is safeguarded within the framework of the consortium by using open licences whenever possible and by clearly stating the holder of rights. At the same time, the consortium provides authentication and access solutions which facilitate digital research while guaranteeing legal certainty.

    6. Expertise and Consultation:

    NFDI4Culture develops consultation and qualification services which convey to the specialist communities knowledge of the FAIR principles and the options for their practical implementation. A helpdesk offers users specific solutions to and assistance with problems and issues in all four FAIR areas.

NFDI4Culture deals with six key questions

    1. Question of Digitisation:

    How can cooperation be improved between institutions so that scientific needs are transparently taken into consideration when cultural assets are digitised? How can the interoperability, reusability and sustainability of digitally reproduced cultural assets be guaranteed?

    2. Question of Standards and Processes:

    Which data standards, data management, quality assurance and data curation processes are suitable for research data on material and immaterial cultural assets? How can research lead to the further development

    3. Question of Tools and Services:

    Which software tools and data services exist in line with the data life cycle for working with research data on material and immaterial cultural assets? Which tools and services still need to be developed and enhanced? How can an institutional and technical sustainability of tools and services be guaranteed?

    4. Question of Availability and Publication:

    Which solutions exist for the availability and publication of digital reproductions and procedural research data in line with FAIR principles? How can these solutions be further developed between the participating institutions so that they are available long-term to all users of NFDI4Culture?

    5. Question of Rights and Data Ethics:

    Which solutions exist to deal with a legal situation which is often complex (e.g. due to copyright, related rights, rights of use, exploitation rights, domiciliary rights, personal rights, protection of cultural assets, etc.) in relation to research data on material and immaterial cultural assets? Which ethical questions need to be taken into consideration? Which technical options are required to deal with the legal situation and how can they be implemented?

    6. Question of Expertise and Consultation:

    How can concepts for needs-based training, further education, teaching and learning as well as services for consultation and support be developed on the basis of the expertise represented within the consortium?


Prof. Dr. Dörte Schmidt – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Musikforschung
Prof. Dr. Holger Simon – Verband deutscher Kunsthistoriker e.V.
Prof. Torsten Schrade, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz

Hosting Institution

Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz
Digitale Akademie
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Culture Coordination Office

Katrin Bicher
Universität Paderborn, Musikwissenschaft und LIS

Ortrun Brand
Philipps-Universität Marburg

Andrea Hammes
Universität Paderborn, Musikwissenschaft und LIS

Sarah Pittroff
Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz, Kunstgeschichte

Dörte Schmidt
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Musikforschung

Torsten Schrade
Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz, Digital Humanities

Holger Simon
Verband deutscher Kunsthistoriker e.V.

Annika-Valeska Walzel
SLUB Dresden, Kunstgeschichte und LIS