Hybrid Scanning Systems – Federal Archives

Hybrid Scanning Systems
at the Federal Archives

The Federal Archives are a higher federal authority of the Federal Republic of Germany subordinate to the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) with a total of 22 locations. They have the legal mandate to permanently secure the archive material of the Federal Government and to make it usable.

These are documents such as files, maps, pictures, posters, films and sound recordings in analog and digital form. These documents originate predominantly from the central administrations of the German states since 1867 and from the estates of important persons.

The Federal Archive are one of Germany’s most important cultural institutions and hold, among other things, 540 linear kilometers of documents, 15 million images and 1 million film reels. Starting in 2024, 1% of the holdings will be digitized each year.

The Federal Archives in Numbers



shelf space

digital copies p.a.

Project background

In order to facilitate access to the files at the various locations in the long term, personal file inspection on site is gradually being supplemented by digital provision of the documents. Digitization on demand is carried out exclusively in the internal workshops of the Federal Archives. The digitized fonds can be accessed via the website of the Federal Archives.

In the full expansion stage, an internal digitization capacity of 20 million pages per year is planned. By the end of 2021, approximately 75 million pages have already been digitized.

To carry out this ambitious project, it was therefore necessary to increase the capacity of the digitization workshop and expand the pool of equipment.

book2net action

Digitizing large quantities of sometimes fragile materials is a particular challenge for the Federal Archives. Therefore, a system solution had to be found that scans in a particularly gentle manner as well as delivers high productivity.

For this reason, the Federal Archives opted for book2net hybrid scanning systems from MICROBOX. These systems consist of a document feeder scanner specially developed for archiving purposes and a planetary archive scanner, which are operated by joint scanning software. Hence, it is possible to switch between the devices at any time while the system is in operation. This makes it easy to digitize different formats and paper qualities within a single file in a single operation. Currently, this process is mainly used for index cards and files after 1945.

The variable setting options, for example for the feed speed, offer excellent possibilities for digitizing even very heterogeneous files quickly and efficiently. The conformity to METAMORFOZRE, FDAGI and ISO 19264-1 standards guarantees high and consistent image quality.


Since the beginning of 2022, 20 of our hybrid scanning systems and 6 planetary archive scanners have been in use at the Federal Archives. Further installations will be added in the course of the project in the following years.

Hybrid Scanning System