The Institut für Museumsforschung has been coordinating the operations of the SPK-Digital portal since 2011. Through this portal, users can search through some 14 million entries on the collections of all the institutions of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK).
At regular intervals, SPK-Digital imports the published index data from the OPACs of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung, the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut and the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, as well as the online finding aids of the Geheimes Staatsarchiv and the Zentralarchiv of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, making them searchable across all institutions. In addition, the portal also provides access to digitised material from the archives, libraries, museums and research institutes that has been made available on the online publication platforms. These digitised materials are highly diverse: in addition to records, they include full text sources, images of objects, audio and video recordings, and much more.
The central function of SPK-Digital has always been that of a central “reference system” for navigating the information about the objects preserved by the SPK that is available online. While joint search results are a central feature, the material-specific information requirements of the individual artefacts are still respected. The portal does not intend to replace specialised data management systems. Rather, it is intended to provide interesting insights into the sometimes overlapping collections of the SPK institutions, and to show the many interconnections between the inventories, inventory types, collection areas, the individual institutions and collections.
SPK-Digital focuses not so much on individual works and highlights, such as the world-famous Pergamon Altar or Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, but on the encyclopaedic scope and systematic structure of the rich collections of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz.
For example, both the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen have large collections of pictorial broadsheets, which can be accessed jointly via SPK-Digital. The platform overcomes the usual divisions into sections and materials, allowing users to identify thematic connections between different contexts in material that is held by different institutions.