The digital collection is composed of heterogeneous materials, ranging from maps to commemorative medals and from paintings to archival records. The objects illustrate various aspects of the Baltic trade in the early modern period.
Because the Directie doesn't own any collections apart from its own archive, the objects are taken from more than thirty institutions in the Netherlands and abroad. The subject, the Baltic trade, has determined the choice of the objects. Eight different themes have been chosen to illustrate the subject: trade, war, geography, ships, sailors, culture, the wreck 'Scheurrak SO1', and the
Directie der Oostersche Handel en Reederijen (Directorate of the Baltic Trade and Shipping Companies).
After paintings, drawings, texts and various objects had been located and selected, the institutions concerned were contacted. These source institutions had to be willing to co-operate to have the objects digitized and they had to give permission to exhibit the objects in digital form. In most cases the scans have not been made directly from the originals, but from intermediary media made available by the institution, such as photo's, slides, ectachromes or negatives. In a few cases no intermediaries were available and the objects were photographed with a digital camera. Originals were scanned only in the case of the materials of the Gemeente Archief Amsterdam and the pamphlets from the collection of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Some museums laid down additional conditions regarding the format of the images shown on the internet. These are therefore not available in the standard sizes.
In addition to the digital objects, adequate descriptions were necessary to be able to make the new collection accessible. Because of the diversity of the objects and their provenance from various source institutions, it proved necessary to make new descriptions of all the objects. This made it possible to add extra information, such as 'thematic background', which improved the possibilities for retrieval. Details of the institution that owns the object have also been included in the descriptions, which enables anyone who is interested to obtain more information about an object.