The WHAV began as a collection of original analogue images (photographs and slides) collected by Deborah Klimburg-Salter and colleagues during fieldwork in the Western Himalayan region since 1990. These expeditions have been mainly funded through research projects directed by Klimburg-Salter and granted by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

With the establishment of the chair for Asian Art History in 1996 (held by Univ. Prof. Deborah Klimburg-Salter until 2013), the archived material moved from the former Department of Tibetology and Buddhism (now Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies) to the Department of Art History at the Vienna University Campus.

Since 2001, the analogue material has been scanned and digitized. In the meanwhile new additions to the archive are now original digital photographs without analogue counterparts.

The need for an appropriate solution for archiving and making accessible this scientific material for photographers, researchers and the scientific community developed early on. Since, at that time, adequate facilities were missing, the WHAV developed its own scientific archiving and storage system based on available open source software frameworks. The web layer of the WHAV database's since then provides an easily accessible and freely available resource to students and fellow researchers alike.

Technical Notes

The archive's pages are currently driven by the following software stack: python (2.7), django (1.8), uwsgi, apache2 (2.4); with our web and mass-storage server running Debian Jessie.