FAQs about us

Is access to the Digital Collections free of charge?

Access to our services is free. This includes our mobile apps and the PDF-download of whole books. There might be some access restrictions for a small amount of copyright-protected works as well as for some publications of the 1933-1945 period. Such works are accessible within the BSB's reading rooms only.

Please note: Any commercial use of our content requires authorization and is subject to charges!

I'm interested in one of your books, but it has not been digitized yet. Could you do it for me or will it soon be digitized?

Unfortunately, we can't give predictions about when certain books or collections will be digitized. You may use our Document Delivery Service to order online digital copies for a fee. The largest part of the holdings of the BSB, also maps and pictures, are available this way. Please consider our price list. The items can be delivered as paper copies or files on USB flash drives, DVDs or via download.

Where can I download individual images or entire books?
You may download almost all of our digital books as a PDF in whole or in part. Please carry out these instructions:
  1. Go to the page of a digitized item.
  2. Press the “(PDF-)Download” button. Depending on our layouts, you can find this button either in the upper left part of the presentation beneath the bibliographical data, in the upper right corner above the logo of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek or in the second grey box right to the search field.
  3. The download menu is now open. Please change the language from German to English by clicking on the flag beneath the word “Download”.
  4. Please choose the scope of your download. Default is always set for the whole digitized object, but by changing the numbers you can also download a smaller part, e.g. an article, a chapter or an illustration. Please note that the numbers identify the image number of the digitized object, not the page number or folio count that might appear on the scanned images themselves.
  5. Confirm that you have read the Conditions of Use and that the downloaded file will be used exclusively for nonprofit purposes by checking “Yes”.
  6. Enter the four-digit download key in the appropriate box. You can find the key in the grey box right under the input field. The download key is generated anew for every use.

By clicking the “GO” button you can now request the download. Depending on the size of the requested file the preparation can take a few moments. Once the download is ready, a link named “Download (size of file)” appears on the download page. You can access the PDF file by either clicking the link with the left button of your mouse – thus opening it directly in a new tab or window of your browser – or by opening the context menu with the right button of your mouse and choosing “save target as” to download the file to your device.

If you click the button “MORE PAGES” you will come back to the original download page in order to choose and download additional excerpts of a digitized item, e.g. a different article.

Please note that for technical reasons download is restricted to 10 downloads per day, based on the IP address.

I need high quality scans for scientific or private purposes. How can I obtain these from you?

With DaFo (Daten für die Forschung), the Munich DigitiZation Center of the Bavarian State Library offers a free download service for high-resolution images in JPEG format with 300 ppi and - if already machine-readable - for the associated text. DaFo is available free of charge for non-commercial purposes.
Further information can be found in the instructions for ordering digital copies via DaFo.
DaFo is not yet available for all digital copies. If you cannot find a DaFo download for an image you require, please send an email to Digitale.Bibliothek[at]bsb-muenchen.de.

I would like to reuse your digital copies. What do I have to consider?

First check what you need the digital copies for:

Private use or use in research and teaching (without publication):
You can download and use our digital copies free of charge at any time.

Distribution in a publication, integration on a website or other subsequent use:
Please contact Digitale.Bibliothek[at]bsb-muenchen.de and let us know which digital copies you would like to use and in what context. If you plan to use our scans for a publication, we need the following information from you: Publisher, print-run, print and/or e-book publication. Fees may apply depending on the type of use.

May I use your images for commercial purposes?

Basically, yes. Please use our order form and state the purpose of use. Please note our reproduction fees. Any commercial use of our digital copies is subject to approval and costs. The image files are delievered after prepayment of the invoice. With the supply also the permission for the publication from our side is given, a separate publication permission does not take place. In some cases you need a special permission for the commercial use of our digital copies. We will be happy to advise you on all questions concerning the further use of our digital copies. If necessary, please contact Digitale.Bibliothek[at]bsb-muenchen.de.

What download options are available for larger quantities of digitised material (for research and teaching)?
You need texts (OCR):
If machine-readable text is available for digital copies, you can obtain it from
  1. the PDF download or
  2. our self-service system "Data for scientific Research" (DaFo)
    The instructions can be found at: https://www.digitale-sammlungen.de/index.html?c=dafo&l=en
Future: The Munich DigitiZation Center of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek plans to make also full texts available via the open APIs of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF, see below).

You need images:
We currently offer more than 2 million digitized images (in some cases in high resolution) in self-service via the following delivery channels:
  1. PDF download (see above)
  2. Via the public APIs (Application Programming Interface) in the standard of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF: https://app.digitale-sammlungen.de/bookshelf/?language=en).
    IIIF creates an unprecedented interoperability and enables an inter-institutional exchange of digital objects as well as their location-independent presentation in various viewers and other display solutions on the World Wide Web.
    1. you can integrate the contents of the above URL directly into web offers via the APIs without having to download and maintain the data yourself. More information can be found here: https://www.digitale-sammlungen.de/index.html?c=iiif-info&l=en
    2. if you still want to download images for scientific purposes, you can download images in JPEG format individually. Please click on the download icon in the viewer at the top right.
    3. You can also download larger amounts of images via the IIIF APIs, if actually necessary. Further information can be found here: https://app.digitale-sammlungen.de/bookshelf/help?language=en#entwickler
  3. Images in JPEG format with 300 ppi for scientific purposes are also available via our self-service service "Data for Research" (DaFo): https://www.digitale-sammlungen.de/index.html?c=dafo&l=en
Note: Any commercial use of our digital copies is subject to approval and fees.

Which credits do I have to add when using an image?

Please state:
* The holding library has to be indicated in any case. If this is not the Bavarian State Library the holding library is mentioned next to the “call number”.
* Call number.
* Page or folio number of the image you use.
* URN of the digitized object.
You will find the correct call number and URN on the website of the digitized object or in the BSB-Catalogue (OPACplus).
Example 1: „Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, H.misc. 33 t-16, p. 244, urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10737557-2“.
Example 2: „Staatliche Bibliothek Regensburg, 999/4Jur.1371, fol. 1r, urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb11068522-0”.

Why are some of the digitzed books of very poor quality, incomplete or hardly readable?

This is an issue of data volumes and a budget issue as well. The Bavarian State Library achieves a high standard in the context of the many digitization projects. However, quality level differs from project to project. Some of our mass digitization projects aim to provide a large amount of content within a short period of time - at the cost of a lower quality and a higher error rate, since post processing and quality checks for hundreds of thousands of books have to be done in an automatic way. On the other hand there are digitization projects for smaller amounts, which allow manual postprocessing and thus a better quality.
We are interested in improving incomplete or incorrect items. Please report errors to us.

I have found a book that has faults, is illegible, of poor image quality or incomplete. What can I do?

Help us to eliminate the fault by describing it as accurately as possible, stating the title and the full Internet URL. Send a short notification to digitale.bibliothek [at] bsb-muenchen.de.

I own some vintage books. Would you digitize them?

The MDZ does not accept individual orders for the digitization of foreign or private collections. It focuses on the holdings of the BSB with the aim to provide retro-digitized content and scientific information services to the public. However, we often do collaborative projects with other institutions. In some of these projects we scan foreign holdings as well. The goal of any collaboration is always the online publication of content for free use.

I own a vintage book I would like to sell - could you estimate its value?

As the BSB is a public institution, we are not allowed to offer such services to private persons or institutions. Please contact an antiquarian you trust.

Last update: Nov. 12, 2018

What's New

Latest Additions to our Digital CollectionsLatest Additions to our Digital Collections

Updated daily: Latest additions to the Digital Collections of the Bavarian State Library. Items online: 2,530,686


Sir Francis Drake's last voyage (1595/96)Sir Francis Drake's last voyage (1595/96)

Sir Francis Drake's last voyage (1595/96)

The manuscript Cod.angl. 2 is one of the most important English manuscripts of the Bavarian State Library. Among writings and letters on English seafaring from the 16th and 17th century, it contains a journal of Sir Francis Drake's last voyage, covering the period from August 28, 1595 to May 20, 1596, describing the course of one of the ships of this expedition to the West Indies. On page 13v from January 28 is a note about the death of Sir Francis Drake. The manuscript is available in an annotated version via our IIIF-viewer.
Open manuscript


Virtual tour through the MDZ ScanningCenterVirtual tour through the MDZ ScanningCenter

Virtual tour through the MDZ ScanningCenter

In this five-minute film the MDZ provides an overview of digital production at the Bavarian State Library.


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