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Transcultural Image Database

Transcultural Image Database

Coordination: Matthias Arnold


The Image Database is a stable environment for storing and annotating images hosted by the Heidelberg University Library. Metadata can be added via a webinterface which also includes access to controlled vocabulary from the German Subject Headings Authority file (SWD). Images can be made visible/editable to different users or user groups based on a fine grained authentication system. The images are deposited in a dedicated storage system, including professional backup infrastructure, maintained by the Heidelberg University ITC department.

The Image Database offers basic and advanced search functionalities, as well as basic tools for grouping and presenting images (i.e. for use in class). The system is unicode-based, so metadata can also include non-western script (i.e. Chinese or Hindi). The search function is able to find non-western terms. There is a detailed user manual available as well as a guideline to edit metadata and templates for recording data more efficiently.

Project Status


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The MediaLab was set up as part of the HRA infrastructure within the Karl-Jaspers-Center at Voßstraße 2. It is located in room 005c, ground-floor, right wing. It provides three workstations with A3 flatbed scanners and a broad range of software, e.g. for image editing and OCR. All three workstations have to be booked in advance, as demand usually is high. To do so please use our reservation calendars in the intranet.

The team operating the MediaLab can be approached either directly in rooms 005b and 005c or contacted per mail at or per telephone extension 4094.

Beside providing workstations at KJC and rental equipment -like cameras- the team offers advice to cluster projects on all matters related to visual material and digitisation to help you get as much as possible out of your material: From brainstorming sessions, conceptualisation of databases and planning metadata input to workshops on digitisation. They can also train you and your project staff with hard- and software and provide a number of guidelines and tutorials.

For more information please go to the MediaLab pages in the intranet (login required).  


To provide additional functionality in working with images, flexible interlinking and annotating parts of images, we evaluated the tool HyperImage and provide a dedicated system for all members of the cluster to work with the software.

For more information please go to the HRA6 HyperEvaluation project. 



Matthias Arnold

Group members

Johannes Alisch
Simon Gruening


Matthias Arnold 

Phone: 06221 - 54 40 94 


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Priya Paul collection

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