The BELSPO DIGIT-04 programme (2019-2024) aims to support the digitization of the huge Belgium heritage patrimony, which resides in the federal museums, libraries, research institutes and  archives.

Why is this important?

  • Large parts of these collections are fragile because the materials/the carriers were never meant to last forever. Digitizing those artifacts ensures that they will be preserved for future generations;
  • Digitized collections allow new and more intense scientific research, without the need to touch and manipulate the original pieces;
  • Digitization allows the institutions to provide online access to their collections to a large national and international public, increasing the visibility and potential impact of these valuable Belgium heritage collections.

DIGIT-04 stimulates maximum synergies between the 10 different Federal Scientific Institutions and the Royal Belgian Film Archives (CINEMATEK) . This is done by, amongst other things, streamlining common digitizing activities within these institutions and the sharing of knowledge, equipment, infrastructures and resources.

Three Priorities

The DIGIT programme recognizes the following priorities: digitization, long term preservation, access and (re)use of the collections. 


Digitizing activities are pooled in four different worklines, depending on the type of artifacts to be digitized:

  • Paperwork;
  • Historical photographs;
  • 2D/3D objects;
  • Audio fragments and audio-visual analogue material.

Even within these different worklines there is large variation in object size, type and format. A fifth, generic, workline focuses on the enrichment of metadata and the description of the digitized assets.


To securely preserve all types of digitized materials from the various collections, a long term preservation platform is built according to international standards. The main focus of this platform is to preserve the integrity of each asset in a highly secured way. For instance, the data are kept outside the premises of the institutions in two separate completely redundant data centres to guarantee the accessibility and authenticity of each single asset. An important point of reference is the Open Archival Information System (OAIS), which describes both the processes and the technical requirements for storage, management and access of digital archives.

Access and Reuse

The 11 DIGIT content partners have committed to disclosing their vasts amounts of digitized assets via their own platforms and media channels.

Throughout the different earlier phases of the DIGIT programme, the participating institutions have acquired the necessary staff, equipment and skills to digitize the bulk of the fragile objects in-house. Where external competence or equipment is needed, or when workflows can be automated, external partners are found through public procurements of services.

Facts & Figures

2019 - 2024 (six years)

37,63 million Euro

58 full time equivalent employees paid on the programme


  • Strategic Committee: direction committee of BELSPO;
  • Plenary  Committee: one representative from the 10 Federal Scientific Institutions, one representative of the Cinematek, one BELSPO Programme Manager and one BELSPO Technical Coordinator;
  • Ad Hoc Working groups on Long Term Preservation, Intellectual Property Rights and Open data, Interoperability of metadata, Preservation Formats et cetera.