The Nusantara manuscript database holds more than 4,200 works from collections of 20 state and private institutions as well as smaller Indonesian family collections. The database includes the projects “Bewahrung des intellektuellen Erbes von Aceh: Digitalisierung historischer Handschriften” (“Preservation of the intellectual heritage of Aceh: digitisation of historical manuscripts", 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009) and “Portal der Handschriften Javas” (“Portal of Java's manuscripts“,1 July 2009 to 31 December 2012), both of which were funded by the Cultural preservation programme of the German Foreign Office.

In addition to cataloguing and digitisation of the manuscripts, the projects paid particular attention to the preservation of original documents and the optimisation of storage conditions. In pursuing these objectives, Orientalisches Institut and Rechenzentrum der Universität Leipzig cooperated with various partner institutions in Indonesia, including PKPM, Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta and the Indonesian manuscript organisation Manassa. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2004, many of the remaining manuscripts were digitised by means of high-performance scanning equipment which was initially applied in Aceh and later in Java. Experts from Europe participated in the activities and conducted further training for Indonesian colleagues.

Rechenzentrum der Universität Leipzig provided continuous technical support and developed the portal. In 2019, the National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta received a complete set of all digitised copies from both projects.