Digital innovation

Digital innovation

For over 20 years, the National Library has relied on digitisation, both for the accessibility of its collections and for the optimisation of internal workflows and processes. It participates in and carries out innovation projects in the areas of digitisation of its heritage collections, web archiving, artificial intelligence, data exchange, cataloguing and long-term preservation.

Preservation et digitisation

Digitial preservation

The BnL has set up a shared platform for long-term digital preservation, in cooperation with the Centre for State Information Technology and the National Archives. It transfers born-digital publications (e-books, e-journals, websites, etc.) to this platform, which ensures the optimal safeguarding of documents: several copies are saved in different locations (to avoid loss) and on multiple media to ensure that they remain readable over time and as technologies evolve.

Digital legal deposit

Luxembourg’s intellectual production is no longer published only on physical media, but more and more documents exist in digital format, either freely accessible on the web or on paying online portals. However, these works are of present and future interest and that is why the BnL collects them in the framework of the digital legal deposit.

As regards the deposit of daily or weekly publications, the BnL is currently negotiating with several Luxembourg publishers and state/municipal administrations to automate as much as possible the collection of publications with their metadata and their availability to the library’s readers.

Learn more about the legal deposit

Mass digitisation

The BnL is digitising documents from the Luxembourg collection. Its mass digitisation programme is part of the European Union’s objectives to make Europe’s cultural and intellectual heritage accessible online. Mass digitisation makes content more accessible, while ensuring the optimal preservation of originals that have been weakened by age and/or frequent use.

The newspapers, magazines, posters, postcards, manuscripts and monographs digitised by the BnL are all accessible online via or

Learn more about eluxemburgensia

Digitisation formats

As part of its digitisation projects, the BnL creates images and metadata in METS/ALTO format whenever possible. The METS format allows for modelling and searching the logical structure of the work (pages, articles, etc.) as well as managing technical metadata and facilitating long-term preservation.

Metadata entry in ALTO format allows the layout of each issue or book to be described and subsequently searched in the full text using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) data. The combination of METS and ALTO metadata allows for a targeted search of the work and a reference to the text areas found.

Persistant identifiers

Among the legal missions of the BnL is the management of unique identifiers for publications of all types and formats. Thus, the BnL is the national agency for the attribution of ISBNs, ISSNs, ISMNs, ISNIs, identifiers that originated in the analogue context, but which now also apply to digital publications.

As part of the long-term digital preservation project, the National Library has implemented a system of persistent identifiers based on the ARK system, created and maintained by the California Digital Library, in order to ensure the durability and international character of identifiers in the digital world. ARK permanently identifies objects of all types, whether digital (digitised newspaper, e-book etc.), intangible (concepts), or physical (books, newspaper, DVD etc.).

Learn more about persistent identifiers


Like other national libraries, the BnL collects and preserves all websites with the domain name “.lu” and other sites managed by Luxembourg residents. In collaboration with the Internet Archive Foundation, the BnL regularly organises extensive harvesting campaigns as well as targeted collections on specific themes.

Learn more about the web archive

Open data

Facilitating access to information is not limited to the development of a research portal and the posting of digital resources online, but also requires the provision of quality data and state-of-the-art technologies, adapted to the new needs of developers, information professionals and researchers.

For this reason, the BnL releases its data and makes them accessible via the website This opening of data helps research, increases the transparency of public data and motivates citizens to actively participate in the dissemination of knowledge. They are free to develop new applications, to enrich them or to link them to other sources of information.

The BnL also provides several application programming interfaces (APIs) and web services that allow users to query and retrieve metadata from the BnL catalogues, automate tasks and create new applications.

The BnL’s datasets can also be consulted via the Luxembourg government’s portal, of which the BnL is a partner.

Go to

One stop search engine is a one stop search engine developed by the BnL for all member libraries of the network. It provides access to the physical and digital resources of the member libraries which share a collective catalogue. This catalogue is governed by the ALMA library management system of the company Ex Libris. ALMA replaced the old ALEPH system in November 2022. A migration of all data and platforms was carried out by the BnL for the entire network.

Visibility and access to resources via are guaranteed by:


The Primo software from the company Ex Libris has been managing the interface since 2013. It is the backoffice of During the migration to the ALMA platform, Primo was also updated and migrated to the cloud. It is thanks to Primo that the user can search the collections of the network via

Primo, by extension, also allows users to manage their account, create favourites and save searches.

Findit/Alma Resolver

The Findit service, integrated in the Luxembourg Consortium’s digital library, is based on the SFX software of the company Ex Libris. SFX is a link resolver allowing the user to access electronic resources (mainly electronic journals). SFX is based on the OpenURL (NISO Z39.88 standard), which standardises the bibliographic description in a URL, thus allowing a bibliographic reference to be linked to the corresponding full text.


In order for the user to be able to search and access the physical or digital resources of the BnL, each document must be “catalogued”. It receives metadata describing it according to international standards.

Cataloguing Codes RDA

Since 2021, the bibliographic description of documents within the network is carried out according to the international standard RDA (Resource, Description and Access) and the MARC21 format.

The cataloguing rules have been adapted to the needs of the network in order to take into account the Luxembourgish specificities and constitute the basic tool for the data input in the common catalogue of the Luxembourg library network.

RAMEAU subject indexing

Since 2022, subject indexing on the network has been based on the “Répertoire d’autorité-matière encyclopédique et alphabétique unifié” (RAMEAU), which replaces the “Répertoire de Vedettes-Matière” (RVM) used between 1985 and 2022.

RAMEAU is an indexing language that makes it possible to describe the subject of a document by analysing its content. Users can then access indexed documents using subject searches.

The RAMEAU language is managed by the Centre national RAMEAU, which is part of the Bibliographic and Digital Information Department of the National Library of France.

Dewey decimal classification (CDD)

Systematic indexing is done according to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The works available for direct access in the Reading Room are also categorised according to the Dewey classification.

Learn more

Authority Files

The BnL manages Luxembourg authority data in the collective catalogue of the network. For the establishment of name headings for non-Luxembourgish persons and communities, foreign directories are widely consulted and used.

The BnL’s LiDA (open linked data) project, the first stage of which was carried out in 2015, made it possible to display the standardised authority data of Luxembourg literary authors in VIAF, thanks to the interconnection of the bibliographic references of literary authors in the union catalogue with the data made available online from the Dictionnaire des auteurs luxembourgeois of the Centre national de littérature.

Following the signature of a partnership contract with VIAF (Virtual International Authority File), a web aggregation and clustering service for authority records from national libraries around the world, the BnL has reviewed its processes for creating and structuring authority data on individuals and has implemented new international standards in accordance with the recommendations of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) The BnL regularly sends its validated person and corporate authority records and related bibliographic records to VIAF, where these data are then usable by other libraries.

As a registration agency, since 2018 BnL assigns ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) identifiers to its authority data. ISNI is an international standard code that identifies natural and legal persons active in the creation and distribution of intellectual content. It is defined by the ISO 27729 standard. The ISNI is particularly useful for differentiating between homonyms.

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