About Us

arthistoricum.net - Fachinformationsdienst Kunst, Fotografie, Design

In the context of the new DFG-programme "Specialised Information Services for Researchers"
the two partner libraries

UB Heidelberg

SLUB Dresden

focused mainly on:focused mainly on:
European Art History up to 1945
and General Art Studies
Art since 1945, Photography,
Industrial Design and Commercial Graphic Arts

are extending their existing services towards a joint Fachinformationsdienst Kunst, Fotografie, Design. The aim is increase our focus on developing customized services for the art history specialist community.

In close collaboration with art historians, the following key aspects will be pursued during the current project phase (2017-2019):

  1. Needs-based acquisition and consolidation of digitally available resources
  2. Extension of the subject-specific information infrastructure by further developing the portal arthistoricum.net
  3. Support and development of new services for open-access electronic publishing
  4. Digitization and subject-cataloguing of resources relevant for art history
  5. Bibliographical services and authority control for research
  6. Public relations / marketing / exchange with science and research

What is arthistoricum.net featuring?

The aim of the project is to further develop arthistoricum.net into an integrated subject-specific information service on European art and art history, including photography and design. www.arthistoricum.net is the central „Specialised Information Service for Art, Photography, and Design” (henceforth: FID). The service, which is well established in the specialist community, is being managed collaboratively by both applicants. The site increasingly offers, in addition to providing its own information service, a space for interactive presentation and communication for interdisciplinary research and interest groups. The widely used blog focuses on the discipline-transcending and collaborative exchange of knowledge and is planned to add a further information facet by offering a curated news service on web publications.

During the duration of the project in the period 2017-2019, the project will further expand the transregional provision of print and digital publications, as well as expert information by the synergistic use and optimization of workflows and tools of both the partner institutions. The fields of competence that were developed in the first phase of the project – search technology, information infrastructure, electronic publication, digitization and online presentation of subject-relevant media stock, as well as research communication – will be consistently enhanced in six further areas of operation.

The extension of the transregional online provision of art historical publications will become one of the main activities during the new project phase, in addition to the acquisition of print publications, which has been further focalized on the needs of the research community by refining its profile. The project envisages achieving this by supplying transregional FID-specific licenses and, in particular, fully searchable art historical literature published under an Open Access license. This service will be supplemented by offering the possibility of uploading publications like, for example, digital catalogues of works or online editions, which are made dynamic via Linked Data technologies. A further focus will be on further developing the search facilities. In addition to the continuous extension of the data space for literature and media research with new data sources, it will be the accessibility of images as source and medium of art history and the history of photography which will be enhanced by a separate and qualified space for searching images. A digital toolkit, to be developed as part of this endeavor, will provide added value with its functionalities.

The trans-institutional provision of all the materials and information by the FID go far beyond the main tasks of research libraries and offers researchers an ideal support to the research process in the area of foundational and top level research in art history by linking mobile access with digital research tools.

The collaboration of FID with its Scientific Advisory Board will be sustained. In addition, the project will continue its systematic process of coordination with expert representatives in order to identify indispensable peak demand, supplemented by two workshops held around half way of the project duration.


In the years from 2001 to 2004 (Dresden) and from 2005 to 2010 (Heidelberg/Munich), two separate virtual libraries for art and art history were established, made possible by funding from the German Research Council (DFG). In Dresden, the SLUB developed a virtual special interest collection library for Contemporary Art since 1945, Photography, Industrial Design and Commercial Graphic Arts called the "ViFaArt – Virtual Library for Contemporary Art". The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Center for Art History) in Munich and the Heidelberg University Library created a virtual special interest collection library for European Art History up to 1945 and General Art Studies called "arthistoricum.net – Virtual Library for Art History".

Following the period of DFG funding, these institutions decided to bring the two platforms together, offering the academic art community an integrated Virtual Library for Art under the name arthistoricum.net. The new platform was launched in January 2012 and is operated – after the withdrawal of the Center for Art History in Munich from the project – by the above-mentioned cooperation partners.

The new concept for the now joint platform incorporates the modules previously available on arthistoricum.net and ViFaArt. The new portal was to be a functionally and graphically persuasive interface, which combined elements of its predecessors. For this purpose, a critical appraisal of each previous component was carried out, various elements were reworked and, when necessary, modified.

Advisory Board

The developement of arthistoricum.net is supported by a scientific advisory board. Find out more about the members of this commitee and get to know their research themes.


We invite your feedback and suggestions for possible improvements to this portal.

Please send us your thoughts.