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Mission Statement

The mission of the Digital Research Archive of Byzantium is to collect and digitally preserve image collections relating to the material culture of the Byzantine Empire and its sphere of influence, to continue the documentation of these sites and objects, and to make them publicly accessible through an online database. DiFaB is committed to preserving the existing material substance of the visual resources while making the digital images openly available to a global audience of scholars and students for the benefit of future generations.


Research and Teaching

The project DiFaB sees itself and the compilation of its rare holdings not only as a tool for researchers in the fields of Byzantine Studies or Byzantine art history, but also as a way of introducing students to practical issues of research and digital preservation and incorporating them into the work process.


The images contained within the DiFaB databases are of manifold scholarly use.

Through the acculumative compilation of visual records in a database, a virtual inventory of historical monuments and their decoration is created. In this way, the history of research and documentation of Byzantine and post-byzantine monuments can be traced as well as modern changes made to the monuments themselves. The broad array of material assembled in this fashion and searchable according to geographic terms and/or keywords builds an indispensable basis for further research on Byzantine culture and provides impetus to new research approaches.

Moreover, the individual images can be cited through their permanent link and are made available for download in publication quality free of charge.

Courses and Students

Each semester a practically oriented, for-credit course "Digital Image Archive of Byzantium" is offered at the University of Vienna. Students are given the possibility to learn about the function of image databases and gain practical experience in digital image acquisition and processing, thereby participating in and contributing to the project through practical involvement. Students who display particular interest and capability are given the opportunity of continued cooperation with the project.



DiFaB supports free academic exchange and is therefore dedicated to providing free access to its images for scholarly and educational use through the long-term digital archiving system of the University of Vienna PHAIDRA. As a signator of the 2004 Berlin Declaration, the University of Vienna subscribes to an open access policy (Open Access at the University of Vienna (in German)) and PHAIDRA is moreover involved in an EU-funded project Open AIRE to create a pilot open access infrastructure for research.

Information on how to access DiFaB's holdings in PHAIDRA and download images can be found here


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Department of History of Art
University of Vienna

Universitätscampus Hof 9
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna
T: +43-1-4277-414 43
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0