Preserving what works while exploring new avenues: that philosophy applies not just to our media offering but also to our services, our infrastructure and, not least, our own organisation. Our projects are helping us to provide a state-of-the-art service underpinned by a modern infrastructure. Projects are thus an important part of our work, and one for which we have an annual budget to invest. Below you will find selected projects from one of the following fields:

New products    –    The ZB continues to develop    –    Technology, construction and logistics

If you have any questions or would like to share your views on our project portfolio, contact:

New products

New offerings and services open up access to our holdings and help the ZB to become an even better place to learn and obtain information – both virtually and in person.

Citizen science projects

As a place of public culture and education, we regard it as our strategic responsibility to support and carry out citizen science projects. Within them, we aim to work not just for you but with you, so we can open up previously unknown holdings together. Our current and completed citizen science projects are portrayed on this page. There you will also find information on how to participate and how to receive the latest news on new projects.

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact:

Digital literacy

Digital literacy is a key theme in our strategy. Our aim is to offer new, innovative services that support the acquisition of skills for digital knowledge work and autonomy in dealing with information. We run sub-projects to develop and test new products, such as a digital makerspace or digital communication offerings for senior citizens, drawing on a continuous analysis of the market and the needs of new and existing target groups to do so.

Our agile approach to product development allows us to secure ongoing feedback from target groups, as well as an idea of their needs, at an early stage and to quickly determine which products are worth a larger investment.

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact:

Digitisation projects

With everything from the correspondence of Johann Caspar Lavater to every year of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the Zurich cultural heritage from our collections is invaluable to both researchers and the general public. We are running a wide range of digitisation projects, often on a cooperative basis, to create high-quality digital versions of our holdings and compile the associated metadata to make them available online and usable for research.

You can find an overview of our ongoing and completed digitisation projects here.

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact:

Connecting Itten. Sub-Project 2: Linked-Open-Data Knowledge Platform

The ZB holds the literary estate of the Swiss artist, art theoretician and teacher, Johannes Itten (1888-1967), which has been fully catalogued and is available via ZBcollections.

In a second project phase, a virtual knowledge platform on Johannes Itten was developed, based on linked semantic data (Linked Open Data) from the Itten Archive. Further information on the project and its partners can be found here.

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact: 

St. Gallen globe online

As a combined terrestrial and celestial globe, the famous St. Gallen globe from 1576 provides insights into the history of globalisation and the cosmology of its time. In the initial phase of this cooperation project, we developed the basic model of an online globe so people could explore the globe at any time and from anywhere in the world. Based on this, we are planning a range of activities in cooperation with academic institutions and the public in the context of the project.

Project partners: Swiss National Museum, Abbey Library of Saint Gall, Zurich University of the Arts, ETH Zurich Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, University of Zurich Center for Historical Mediology

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact:

The ZB continues to develop

Change and new challenges require cooperation, new ways of working and new competencies. Our projects are therefore a place for us to develop as employees, as an organisation, and as a partner for collaborations.

Involvement in the “Aufbau Universitätsbibliothek Zürich” (AUB) project

© Herzog & de Meuron / UZH Media

“Aufbau Universitätsbibliothek” (AUB) is a project of the University of Zurich. It is laying the groundwork for the new Zurich University Library (UBZH), which will commence operations on 1 January 2022.

As the key partner of the future UBZH, the Zentralbibliothek is involved in various work packages within the project. A close interrelationship between the future UBZH and the ZB will create a powerful partnership to supply information for research, teaching and study at the UZH. Optimum deployment of financial resources will enable the UBZH and ZB, working together, to offer UZH members outstanding services from a single source as “libraries for the University of Zurich”.

You can find the website for the main project here

If you have questions or would like to share your views, contact:

Development of systematic customer research and customer experience

In order to stay relevant as a library over the long term, our services and products must offer our customers added value and a positive and intuitive experience. With that in mind, we have decided to systematically develop our customer research and customer experience management, and make them an integral part of our value chain.

Our journey towards this goal will include pilot projects in which we try out customer research in product development, promote awareness of CX among employees through a range of initiatives and build up expertise. We will draw on this experience to iteratively develop promising structures and processes for systematic customer research and CX management.

Development of systematic customer research and customer experience

Technology, construction and logistics

Modern technology, logistics and buildings are the basis for a modern, efficient service offering from the ZB.

Renovation of the old building

Our old building was partially renovated in 1983 and a number of individual measures have been carried out since then. But improvements are needed, for example to remedy problems with the indoor climate affecting the cultural heritage and replace outdated electricity and IT infrastructure.

We are therefore developing a sustainable building strategy for the old building to serve as the basis for a comprehensive renovation. We aim to put in place an infrastructure that provides the best possible working environment for both users and ZB staff, and creates optimum storage conditions for protecting our historical holdings. Building work is scheduled to begin at the end of 2021, and the renovation is intended to satisfy requirements for the next 25–30 years.

If you have questions about the project, contact:

Completed Projects

Developing ZB-Lab

The ZB Lab is an experimental space for making creative use of our diverse data. We actively use the Lab for research concerns, for Citizen Science projects and for our own developments to improve the usability of our data.

You can find the website for the main project here

Project manager: Anja Weng

ZB-SharePoint: launching a collaboration platform

In this project, we launched a collaboration platform with Microsoft Office 365. Our aim was to link some 240 members of staff together and make it easier for them to work together both within and across departments. But there was more to the project than technology: we reorganised our knowledge and information flow, and created a central location to work together flexibly and virtually.

Project manager: Alexandra Müller

Repository for e-Turicensia

As a cantonal library we collect Turicensia: publications on topics related to Zurich, by Zurich authors, or that are printed in Zurich. As throughout the publishing world, they are increasingly appearing in digital format. During this project, we developed the repository «Zurich Open Platform (ZOP)» to preserve the digital publications from our collection long-term, present them and make them accessible to the public.

Project manager: Anita Gresele

CAS in Data Management and Information Technologies

A grounding in IT and experience in handling data are becoming indispensable to many library functions. We therefore created a new CAS course in Data Management and Information Technologies. Further information about the CAS course can be found here.

Contact: Dr. Lena Oetjens

ALPZUG: a step on the way to SLSP

What is the connection between libraries and Alps? In December 2020, Switzerland brought all its universities closer together with a joint Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP) and a centrally organised library management system (Alma). ALPZUG (a German acronym standing for “Alma Primo Zentralbibliothek Universität Gemeinsam”) was the joint project of the Zentralbibliothek and the libraries of the University of Zurich to pave the way for the new framework. You can find information about the Swiss Library Service Platform here.

Contact: Esther Straub

ZiBits: digital self-study courses for lifelong learners

Our new e-learning offering is designed to assist lifelong learners in their search for research literature. For those in this category, having to write a dissertation at the end of their course is a particular challenge: many have family and work commitments that leave them little free time; some have little experience of writing texts of this kind; most have no access to university e-media from home.

To that end, we developed the online tutorial (in German only). 

Project manager: Barbara Seitz

National Infrastructure for Editions – Infrastructure nationale pour les éditions (NIE-INE)

This cooperative project created the work and publication platform inseri, that is open to all academic publishing projects in Switzerland. The resulting Semantic Web technologies are available here. As one of the institutions taking part, the Zentralbibliothek supported those involved by providing legal advice on matters of copyright, data protection, contract and company law. 

Contact: Dr. Cyrus Beck