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RUG digitizes 100,000 objects from its academic heritage

A wealth of historical books and images can soon be admired online
23 February 2021

The University of Groningen (UG) is about to digitize a major part of its academic heritage. The ‘Spotlight’ project aims to make over 100,000 objects available online, varying from the first University Library (UB) books from the 11th century to the first photographs of Hunebedden, the University’s oldest scientific tool and hundreds of books in Groningen’s own language Gronings.

The objects will not just be digitized but will also be provided with extensive descriptions, thus making the University’s wide heritage collection accessible worldwide. The UG will make the results available for academic research and teaching, as well as for everyone interested in heritage and its present-day significance.


Goffe Jensma, professor of Frisian Linguistics and Literature at the UG, leads a subproject that aims to digitize and analyse Groningen books from the 18th century down to the present day. ‘This project will help us to take a major step in the research on the development of the Gronings language in all its variations. In addition, we can also involve speakers of Gronings in the project. Citizen science is a very important aid in research on minority languages.’

Accessible worldwide

‘The Spotlight project will make collections that can currently only be consulted on-site at the University accessible worldwide’, says project leader Wian Stienstra of the University Library. ‘This is an extremely rich source of information for academics and interested parties from around the globe. The University Library is the perfect organization to implement this project.’

Major investment

The Board of the University will fund the Spotlight project with an investment of € 700,000. The project will run until early 2022. The digitized materials will be added to the existing Digital Collections or published by newly developed means, on, and will be freely accessible (‘Open Access’) where possible. In addition, a selection from the collection will be regularly posted on the Twitter accounts @mulerius en @bijzcollecties.

Last modified:04 January 2024 3.25 p.m.
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