What is e-manuscripta.ch?

e-manuscripta.ch is the portal for digitised manuscript material from Swiss libraries and archives. The spectrum ranges from text manuscripts (single and collective), through to correspondence by individuals and institutions, but also comprises music documents, manuscript maps, drawings and photographs.

e-manuscripta.ch pursues the following objectives:

  • Coordinated digitisation of manuscript material from Swiss libraries and archives in accordance with uniform quality standards
  • Central import into the portal of digital documents and descriptive metadata
  • Persistent DOI referencing of electronic documents
  • Presentation of transcriptions together with a wide range of document types on a common portal
  • Implementation of an open access strategy

The portal, which went online in 2013, was developed and financed cooperatively by three Swiss university libraries - the Zentralbibliothek Zürich, the Universitätsbibliothek Basel and the ETH Library. It continues to be managed collaboratively by these three institutions in conjunction with the Swiss National Library (NL). Many other institutions have also made their stock available, thereby expanding the range of material hosted on the portal.

Who is e-manuscripta.ch addressed to?

As a national service, e-manuscripta.ch is addressed to:

  • Academics
  • The general public
  • Institutions that have their stock digitised and wish to make it accessible in digital form to a broader audience via e-manuscripta.ch. All memory institutions whose stock fits the e-manuscripta.ch profile may participate in e-manuscripta.ch.

Why use e-manuscripta.ch?

Valuable for academics and the general public

  • Hand-picked selection of manuscript material from Swiss libraries and archives
  • A constantly growing, freely accessible portal of high-quality, high-resolution digital colour documents
  • Centralised access via the search page, ability to search throughout all content available on e-manuscripta.ch
  • Simple navigation within digital documents due to a clear structure and access by chapter
  • Long-term availability of digital documents as a result of permanent links
  • OAI-PMH interface for downloading and subsequent utilisation of standardised metadata including links to the digital documents
  • Crowdsourcing through joint transcription work with free text selection

Valuable for partner institutions

  • Increased national and international visibility of the institution and what it has to offer
    • individual subpage on e-manuscripta.ch
    • integration of descriptive metadata and digital documents into research portals via standard interfaces (OAI-PMH)
    • consistent increase in user numbers since the portal went online
    • broad geographical range of users
  • Digitisation, storage, operation: services provided by e-manuscripta.ch
    • support with the digitisation workflow in accordance with technical norms and standards for quality control
    • professional technical management of the portal and its content
    • direct import of metadata from library catalogues or archive databases via standard interfaces (Z39.50, OAI-PMH)
    • long-term storage of digital documents (PDF, JPEG) including persistent links
    • transfer to partner institutions of masterfiles in TIFF format with descriptive metadata and of structural data in METS-XML format

How does an institution participate in e-manuscripta.ch?

Subscribing to the service


  • Initial costs, particularly technical configuration: CHF 1,300 to 6,000 (depending on services provided and type of template)
  • Digitisation, content management, data import: on request (depending on material and the digitizing institution)

Operation per year: about CHF 0.0087 per image