Bavarian State Archives

Data from Bavarian archives, such as historical records of flora and fauna, are highly relevant to biodiversity research, but have so far received little attention. We are working to change that.

About the General Directorate of the State Archives of Bavaria (GDA)

The General Directorate of the State Archives of Bavaria (GDA) is the specialized authority for archives in the Free State of Bavaria. It is responsible for all basic and cross-sectional tasks for the eight state archives in Bavaria (in Amberg, Augsburg, Bamberg, Coburg, Landshut, Munich, Nuremberg and Würzburg). This also includes the management and coordination of central specialized tasks such as evaluation, acquisition, ordering and indexing of archive material according to uniform principles, preservation, IT, public coat of arms law and historical-political educational work (e.g. exhibitions and publications). Together with the Bavarian Main State Archives, the nine state archives hold collections from the early Middle Ages to the present day. The Bavarian Archives Act obliges Bavarian authorities and other state agencies to hand over their documents and data to the state archives, where they are permanently stored, indexed and, among other things, made accessible again for research. The archived material is very heterogeneous: it ranges from analog documents such as deeds, files, maps and audiovisual media to purely digitally created data from a wide variety of state producers.

The areas of responsibility and projects of the Bavarian State Archives are very diverse. They range from advising users in research and data producers in information management as well as non-governmental archives in technical matters to organising specialist conferences and workshops, training and further education to designing archiving interfaces and preparing archived documents. Recently, a specialist concept for the digital archive and, together with the Bavarian State Commissioner for Data Protection, a working paper on archival retention and deletion regulations under data protection law were developed.

Our Use Cases

What is the potential of NFDI4Biodiversity? This is illustrated by our more than 20 use cases: real-life projects in which we test how data can be mobilised or visualised, how cross-regional metadata standards can be established, or how storage and computing infrastructure can be implemented for the integration and evaluation of currently decentrally distributed data treasures. The use cases are a joint effort of the respective use case partner, professional and technical experts from the consortium and coordinating project staff, the so-called use case managers.

Click here for an overview of all use cases.


The common goal: mobilisation of relevant but hitherto little-noted biodiversity data

Bavaria's state archives hold data stocks that are relevant to biodiversity research and have received little attention to date. These are to be made accessible to a broader user community in NFDI4Biodiversity. These include digital-born data from the state authorities, such as data on water resources or central surveys of tree and plant populations, or historical records of flora and fauna in the former Bavarian territory.

The possibility of mobilising and archiving this data is to be tested in cooperation with various NFDI4Biodiversity use cases. In the future, the GDA would like to prepare biodiversity data for long-term archiving through cooperation with the State Natural Science Collections of Bavaria (SNSB), for example, which is also an NFDI4Biodiversity partner. Via an ABCD interface, realised with the help of funds from an NFDI4Biodiversity flexfund, the indexing metadata can also be made available to the biodiversity research community via GBIF.

Numerous collaborations within the NFDI4Biodiversity and NFDI community

Bringing in long-term archiving expertise and historical biodiversity data

GDA staff is involved in various developments within NFDI4Biodiversity, where they contribute competences in the field of long-term archiving as well as relevant archival material with historical biodiversity data in Task Area three (Sustainable Data, Tools and Services (TA3, 2consolidate). In a Flexfund project together with another NFDI4Biodiversity partner, the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Spatial Development (IÖR), a workflow for the automated extraction of metadata from analog map series was developed and a digitization guide elaborated.

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Pilot project: Archiving the data collection on Powdery Mildew Fungi

Together with the SNSB, the data collection on powdery mildew fungi ("Erysiphales Collection") and the associated database structure were archived via the SIARD standard in a pilot project. The cooperation was presented at the networking meeting Bayern4NFDI on 20 July 2023 in Munich and can be found here:

There are also cooperations with the two Bavarian national park administrations – Bavarian Forest and Berchtesgaden – for archiving data from individual projects (you can find more on the cooperation with the Bavarian Forest National Park – another NFDI4Biodiversity use case – here).

Wanted: Partners for the joint processing of historical forestry office data

In addition, the GDA is currently looking for a project partner to jointly process historical forestry data, which could then - in the course of a joint publication - be made available to both biodiversity and historical research. In preparation, inventories have already been reviewed and an initial overview of historical biodiversity data compiled, including hunting statistics, fish stocks in Bavarian lakes, moor maps, etc. Are you interested in cooperation? More information on the Call for Project Partners can be found here.

In addition, GDA is represented in other NFDI consortia such as 4Earth, FAIRagro, 4Objects, and 4Memory, as well as in the overarching Common Infrastructures section of the AG Long-term Archiving.

Further info

  • Schwartz, Anna Lisa, & Schmalzl, Markus. (2023, July 6). Long-Term Archiving of (Biodiversity-Related) Data at the Archives of the Bavarian State. WG4 Workshop: Completing editorial work on the 'Guideline for long-term preservation and archiving of data products from scientific collections facilities' (The EU COST Action CA17106 on 'Mobilising Data, Experts and Policies in Scientific Collections'), Munich. Zenodo.