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 sticks, 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 on 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.

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.

Is it possible to re-use scans from the Digital Collections for private, scientific and commercial purposes?

The Document Delivery Service "Old Book" prepares copies of items upon request and for a fee. This applies mainly to copies and scans from newspapers and older and rare printed works. Please use our order form and note our reproduction fees. These depend on the intended use. By placing your order you agree to bear all costs incurred. The reproductions are delivered as paper copies or DVDs, as an Internet download or on a USB flash drive. The major part of the holdings, including Maps and Pictures, Manuscripts and Modern Papers (please state the purpose of use), can be made available this way. Please note that nevertheless there are items of which no reproductions can be produced, and that we cannot guarantee a fixed period of delivery, since these parts of the holdings need to be treated with great care for conservatory reasons. However, we endeavour to provide you with the ordered copies as fast as possible, generally within four weeks after placement of order/receipt of payment. This service is also available to non-registered library users. Any commercial re-use 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”.

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.

I am planning to do my own digitization project. Where should I start? Can you help me?

The MDZ is happy to provide advice on digitizing and cataloging projects. If you have any questions, contact us.

Last update: Feb. 6, 2018

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