The goal of the project Bibliotheca Eugeniana Digital (BED) is a digital reconstruction and visual representation of Prince Eugene’s historic book collection (UNESCO “Memory of Austria”), which ranges among the most famous collections of the Baroque era. Since 1738, the collection has been part of the Imperial Library of the Habsburgs, the predecessor of the Austrian National Library (ONB). Thousands of visitors every year are told that Eugene’s famous library could be admired in the middle-oval of ONB’s baroque State Hall. However, this is not true. Until today, neither the library’s composition nor its size nor the locations of the printed books in ONB’s collections have been analysed, an undertaking too huge and complex for traditional methods. Digitisation of sources combined with novel digital methods allows for new and more effective exploitation of huge cultural heritage collections like the Bibliotheca Eugeniana. The project aims to use tools and methods from the Digital Humanities and Data Sciences for a systematic digital reconstruction and visual exploration of this historic library from different sources to investigate its composition and history. Most of the printed books of Bibliotheca Eugeniana have been digitised as part of ONB’s large-scale Austrian Books Online (ABO) project. BED will use machine learning (ML) to identify Eugeniana supralibros bindings in digitised books of the ABO corpus. In addition, the historical manuscript catalogue of the Eugeniana and archival sources on its transformation in the 19th century will be transcribed by ML based models for handwritten text recognition and published at ONB’s infrastructure for Digital Editions. All data gained will be merged with metadata from ONB’s open access catalogue. Titles from the digital edition and full texts from ABO will be classified by subject with ML based and natural language processing algorithms. The attribution to subject classes will offer insights into the library’s internal structure and its correlation with the colour system of the supralibros bindings. Danube University Krems (UWK) will develop multiple coordinated visualisations from this multi-layered dataset, through which the composition, transformation and localization of the Bibliotheca Eugeniana collection can be further analysed and explored. To communicate these findings to the general public, a complementary narrative visualisation will be developed. BED will disseminate the results using various formats for domain experts and the general public. All data created by the project will be made available via ONB’s Labs and shared with European Research Infrastructures according to FAIR principles. As a cooperation of a cultural heritage institution with a research institution, BED contributes to the DH Austria 2021 strategy by fostering knowledge transfer between both sectors.


Duration 01/09/2022 - 31/08/2024
Funding ÖAW

Department for Arts and Cultural Studies

Center for Cultures and Technologies of Collecting

Principle investigator for the project (University for Continuing Education Krems) Mag. Dr. Florian Windhager
Project members
Project website


Bibliotheca Eugeniana Digital

#digiRoundtable V – Projektreigen, Status und Zukunft, 22/11/2023

Erzeugung von Sichtbarkeit im Angesicht von Unsicherheit: Visualisierungsstrategien für die “Bibliotheca Eugeniana Digital”

Workshop: Vom Erkunden zur Erkenntnis? Ansätze und Perspektiven digitaler Sammlungsvisualisierungen, 10/11/2023

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