The National Library’s Digilab helps to enhance cultural data

National Library of Estonia

On March 30th, the National Library of Estonia launched its research portal Digilab. Interested individuals have the opportunity to create new knowledge and value from datasets themselves or seek assistance from library representatives.

The goal of the National Library’s Digilab ( is to make the data held by libraries digitally more accessible and usable, and to promote data enrichment, research, and innovation. Digilab collection includes over 12 million newspaper articles, 70,000 books, and metadata for 785,000 objects, with datasets constantly being updated.

“In Digilab, cultural heritage and information technology come together in the form of data. The target audience of the portal includes humanities and social scientists, data scientists, and other interested parties,” summarized Peeter Tinits, the National Library’s head specialist in digital humanities.

The data comes from the digital archive DIGAR, the digitized articles database DEA, the Estonian national bibliography database ERB, and the Estonian thesaurus EMS. Digilab also brings together data from the legal bibliography, the bibliography of Estonian presidents, parliamentarism, and reproductions.

In processing the data, Digilab provides tools that help query and visualize the content of collections. For example, these tools allow for extracting subsets of data or presenting an overview timeline of books published in Estonia. Both the datasets and the tools are continuously evolving.

Case studies on the blog

The blog section showcases case studies that demonstrate the use of data. For example, Kertu Saul, Leena-Karin Toots, and Anni Polding describe the historical spread of German, Russian, and English loanwords in Estonian journalism in their student project at the University of Tartu. Laura Annast, Lona Päll, and Anne-Liis Rämson have researched the media coverage of environmental conflicts.

For collaboration ideas, data requests, or other questions, individuals can reach out to Digilab at

Digilab was established with the support of the “Open Digital Libraries for Creative Users” project in collaboration with the national libraries of the Netherlands and Austria. The use of digital materials is governed by regulations concerning copyright and the protection of personal data.



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