Digital Research Archive for Byzantium

A visual resource database devoted to thecultural legacy of Byzantium. For over ten years the continuing mission of DiFaB, housed at the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna, has been to secure historical information on various visual media for future generations

Digital Research Archive for Byzantium


  1. DiFAB preserves decades of documentation of physical artefacts by producing high quality digital assets, from digitising glass plate negatives, film and slides, prints and drawings to new digital photography;
  2. ­It enriches our knowledge about these artefacts, employing equally high standards for metadata creation and management with the aim toward future interoperability;
  3. DiFAB makes the digital assets available by adhering to both the highest standards in long-term digital archival practice and Open Access policies.

Technical aspects

Longterm digital archiving is ensured by PHAIDRA (Permanent Hosting, Archiving and Indexing of Digital Resources and Assets), co-sponsored and co-developed by the University of Vienna.

So that the digital assets are sustainable and compatible with other platforms, internationally recognised metadata standards such as Dublin Core and standardised vocabularies, including the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names and the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, are integrated into the DiFAB database.

Future prospects

The secured image collections and the methods developed in DiFAB provide a solid foundation for both more traditional research questions and future projects in the digital humanities, as each image is digitally located in time and space.

The ultimate goal is to facilitate the transfer of visual knowledge, thereby connecting the past with the future and the future with an endangered past.

The Digital Research Archive for Byzantium seeks to preserve and spread knowledge of our common cultural inheritance for generations of researchers, educators and citizens to come.

Sources and Partnerships:

  • Historic Photographic Archive of the Department of Art History, University of Vienna
  • Color slide collections of Horst Hallensleben
  • Library, images and plans from the estate of MarcellRestle
  • Digital photography from annual field trips (University of Vienna, since 2006)
  • Visual material of the project “Emotions Through Time: From Antiquity to Byzantium” (Leverhulme Trust, 2015-2017, PI: Douglas Cairns),
  • Visual material of the project “Byzantine Stone Bridges” (Austrian Science Fund, V 546, 2016-2019, PI: Galina Fingarova)
  • Phaidra,
  • E-Infrastructures Austria, Work Cluster I Metadata,
  • Contributor to Europeana


Director Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lioba Theis

beteiligte Personen



Digitales Archiv


Langzeitarchivierung, Metadatensammlung