For the evaluation of epigraphic and archaeological findings the EDH has at its disposal extensive photographic material, which is archived in the Photographic Database, one of its subsidiary databases (Search).
Alongside over 11.000 photographs from Rome and the Hispanic provinces it contains at the present almost as many photographs from all parts of the Imperium Romanum. Amongst these are photographs of inscriptions from countries, which are not easy to journey to, such as Algeria and Libya. (List of holdings according to modern country names).
To an extent the material is a result of the yield of research travels, which were undertaken by Prof. Alföldy and research associates of the project or of the institute. The photographic library has profitted to a no lesser degree from generous gifts made by individual scholars. Thus the library possesses photographs of all epigraphic monuments, which are kept in the National Museum of Ljubljana, thanks to the kindness of Prof. Dr. Marjeta Šašel Kos Slowenischen Nationalmuseum Ljubljana Thanks to Prof. Dr.Ioan Piso there is also a rich documentation of inscription material from the Roman province Dacia.Thanks to Prof. Dr. Juan Manuel Abascal there are photographs of inscriptions from Carthago Nova, thanks to Prof. Dr. Leszek Mrozewicz photographs of inscriptions from Novae, thanks to Dr. Charles V. Crowther photographs of inscriptions, which are kept in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, thanks to Dr. Ingrid Weber-Hiden photographs of inscriptions of Carnuntum and some found places in the Austrian part of the ancient province Pannonia superior. A list of the photographers may be found here.
In the context of a cooperation agreement funded by the Seminar für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik of Heidelberg University between itself and the Historischen Seminar (Alte Geschichte) of Osnabrück University a substantial part of the photographic material there has been digitized (2007/08). These images will gradually be entered into the Epigraphische Fotothek.
Alongside conventional archiving of the photographic material since the 1980s as slides,negatives and prints it is increasingly the case that new material is archived in digitized form. The existing conventional photographic material will over the course of time be converted into digital images and stored as high resolution tif-files (Status 11/11: 23,700).
Direct access to all of photographic material is available on the Internet in the form of low resolution jpg-files. Hitherto it had been the policy that pictures with unclear utilization rights were presented only as thumbnail images. In 2012 as a result of ever increasing requests from the scientific community and with the support of the Heidelberg Academy of the Sciences this policy has been changed. The approval of the institutions which house the monuments and their inscriptions is assumed for the non commercial use for research purposes (otherwise permission should be sought). All of them are presented together with their respective data to the image and the inscription, which are documented in the separate Photographic Database. In this way an overview is available to the user about which photographs are archived in the Photographic Database and which negative numbers must be cited when ordering a print for study purposes (and/or for publication: please note that publication rights are not automatically included).
Furthermore all images of inscriptions, for which the text is available in the corresponding record in the Epigraphic Text Database, are linked to that record. In same manner reciprocal links are made from the search results of the Epigraphic Text Database to the corresponding images in the Photographic Database. Thus a direct comparison of the text and the image is made possible.
In the interests of network cooperation with other types of epigrapic databases it has been possible since 2000 to a certain extent to link from the texts of the inscriptions in EDH to the corresponding external photographs and, of course, vice versa. So far the photographic archives of the following institutions have participate in this joint venture. The spanish branch of CIL, the U.S. Epigraphy Project, the web site UBI ERAT LUPA and Die Inschriften von Philippi im Bild.
updated: April 2012