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Annual report 2008

Dr. Elisabeth Niggemann, Director General

Die Gesellschaft für das Buch e. V. (only available in German)
Outstanding new acquisitions (only available in German)

Annual review

The German National Library has been charged with the task of preserving Germany's cultural and scientific heritage and making it available to the general public. In the era of increasing globalisation, networking and media convergence, its work extends way beyond Germany's national borders. The EU-sponsored European digital library, the Europeana, in which the German National Library is also involved, has the task of presenting Europe's cultural and scientific heritage to a wide audience via the Internet. Even from the prototype, launched at the end of 2008, it was apparent just how great the demand for culture and science is in our global knowledge and information society.


The prototype of Europeana, the European digital library - accessible via - was developed in the EU-financed EuropeanaNet project. Over 100 cultural institutions from all over Europe are partners in this network project which has been commissioned by CENL (Conference of European National Librarians) and is headed by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the national library of the Netherlands. Europeana provides access to over 3.5 million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from national libraries and cultural institutes from the 27 EU member states. Europeana allows the digital collections of European libraries, archives, museums and audiovisual archives to be searched simultaneously, i.e. users can research particular topics without having to visit or navigate their way through numerous different websites.

German Digital Library

The foundations for setting up a German Digital Library as a national access portal to Europeana were laid in 2008. A key requirements proposal jointly drawn up by the federal, state and local governments, which clarifies the financial, legal and organisational issues, was approved by the Cultural Committee and by the University Committee of the Conference of Ministers for the Arts and Culture. The proposal is expected to be passed by the Conference of Prime Ministers and the Federal Cabinet in June 2009. In parallel to the political decision-making process, a specialist group consisting of federal and state-level delegates headed by the German National Library is taking the necessary practical steps for creating the German Digital Library.

Legal Deposit Regulation

The Legal Deposit Regulation came into force on 23 October 2008. Supplementing the 2006 Law regarding the German National Library it sets forth the collection mandate of the German National Library in more precise terms, superseding the Legal Deposit Regulation of 1982. Basically, the Law and the Regulation lay down what the German National Library is to collect. The main reason for the revised version was to circumscribe the collection of online publications. However, adaptations to bring the Law in line with the new formulations were also necessary for printed publications. Changes and further developments in the publishing world and the sound recording industry have also been taken into consideration. The Legal Deposit Regulation specifies the right of the German National Library to be sent, free of charge and without a specific request being issued, media works from Germany, while exempting those whose collections are of no public interest from the obligation to submit deposit copies. This therefore provides a binding legal framework for the Library's daily work.

Structure of collection

Automated systems are required in order to fulfil the collection mandate which has now been expanded to include online publications, and in order to organise the submission of publications on a straightforward basis. This is why interfaces have been developed for the collection of online publications which have an equivalent form to printed works - such as electronic journals and e-books. A new web form for the simplified submission of monographs has been in use at the German National Library since the first half of 2008. The metadata supplied by the depositors is incorporated directly as a bibliographic description into the catalogue of the German National Library and is then immediately available for use in online searches.
At the same time, intensive work is being carried out on interfaces to an automatic collection system. This systematic retrieval of publications by means of a "crawler" is known as "web-harvesting". During normal operation these interfaces require no manual input on the part of the submitter; the on-line publications and metadata can automatically be retrieved at the agreed intervals. Here there was intensive consultation with publishers and other producers of online publications to create the right conditions for submission or collection.

Annex building in Leipzig

The 4th annex building in Leipzig has grown visibly since the foundation stone was laid in December 2007: the basic structure of the building was more or less complete in December 2008 and work has now started on the interior. Construction is therefore progressing to schedule.
The former location of the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum) permanent "Merkur and the books - 500 years of Leipzig as a city of books" exhibition was officially closed on 8 October and the exhibition symbolically moved to its future venue in the annex building. There the German Museum of Books and Writing will be reopened in 2010, complete with new exhibition rooms, a new reading room and expanded stacks. The new cultural history exhibition will focus on the three media innovations of handwriting, book printing with movable characters and digital online worlds.
The German Music Archive (Deutsches Musikarchiv) will also move to the annex build-ing in Leipzig and be given a new reading room featuring the latest technology, and an exhibition area. Most importantly, though, new stack space will be created.

Portal of the German National Library

The range of services provided has gradually been expanded since the new service and catalogue portal was opened in October 2007. New functions designed to help users conduct rapid, targeted searches were added in 2008.
A specific search for printed music or archival papers and documents requires a wide range of different search possibilities. Special access points have therefore been created for the German Music Archive and the German Exile Archive (Deutsches Exilarchiv). The "Bonner Katalog" and the Collection of Historic Sound Recordings have been integrated. A new feature is links from the German Personal Name Authority File (PND) to the corresponding articles in the German version of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

Catalogue enrichment

The enrichment of bibliographic data with publisher information and with searchable tables of contents means that the search possibilities have been significantly improved since the beginning of the year.
In February the German National Library started work on scanning the tables of contents of all new monographs issued by the publishing trade - 55,000 titles by the end of the year - as a means of making them accessible via the catalogue.
The enrichment service was extended to include older stocks in a pilot project launched in September. Since then the tables of contents of books acquired between 1913 and 1922 have been digitised, significantly improving the evaluation possibilities of catalogue searches of the German National Library's older stocks.
In addition, the first 60,000 titles were enhanced with content-descriptive information from the publishers, supplied to the German National Library by MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH.

Retrovonversion II

This major retroconversion project saw the German National Library assume further catalogue cards into its electronic catalogue, thereby making them accessible for searches. The Alphabetic Catalogues of the sound recording and sheet music collections in Berlin and Leipzig are being converted, as are selected catalogues from the German Museum of Books and Writing. The project is scheduled to run until the end of 2010 and covers the retroconversion of roughly 1.6 million catalogue cards.


The main elements of the standardisation work carried out in 2008 were the involvement in the expert opinion process regarding the Resource Description and Access (RDA) drafts, the migration to MARC 21, the common format for the German authority files (GND), online communication with authority data, and numerous activities within the field of metadata.The German National Library is also collaborating with the expert groups of the Committee for Library Standards on the development of the new international RDA rules. The complete draft was issued at the end of 2008, and the new rules are scheduled for publication in the second half of 2009.

The resolutions of the Committee for Library Standards passed in December 2004 on the internationalisation of the German standards identify one of the first milestones as the introduction and uniform use of MARC 21 as the standard exchange format for all libraries in Germany and Austria. This first goal has now been reached: the German National Library began to offer German National Bibliography data in MARC 21 format at the start of the 2009 bibliographic year which started on 17 December 2008. At the same time the title data of the German Union Catalogue of Serials was also made avail-able in MARC 21.

The integration of the name and corporate body data of the German Music Archive into the German Personal Name Authority File (PND) and the Corporate Body Authority File (GKD) was successfully completed in May.
110,000 individualised authority data records and 8,000 non-individualised authority records were integrated into the PND as the largest authority data list of the German Music Archive. Just under 70,000 standardised data records of corporate music bodies were incorporated into the GKD. The German Music Archive holds editorial responsibility, together with the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, for musicians and composers listed in the PND.


The German National Library was open on 298 days; more than 32,000 users took advantage of its services and 904,000 orders were placed. 49,000 bibliographic queries were answered in writing or over the phone.
The successful collaboration with the "InfoPoint" information service founded in 2004 was extended for a further year.

Collection and outstanding new acquisitions

The collection of the German National Library increased by 646,000 units in the year under review to a total of 24.8 million units. Numbers of online university publications rose by roughly 11,000 to 72,000 units. The German National Library uses 8.3 kilometres of shelf space to accommodate new stocks of bound volumes.

The German Exile Archive 1933 - 1945 expanded its collection to include 15 new complete and partial literary estates, includ-ing the estate of the physician Martin Goldner, containing
letters from Leo Baeck, Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. There were valuable additions to existing collections such as 13 letters from Gottfried Benn to the illustrator and publicist Erna Pinner, three letters from Thomas Mann, drawings and watercolours from the author Ulrich Becher and an extensive bundle of letters to the publisher Hein Kohn, including some from Heinrich Böll, Elias Canetti, Katia Mann and Friedrich Torberg.
Prominent recent acquisitions of the German Museum of Books and Writing include "Fort", an artist's book from Felix Martin Furtwängler and the Lehmstedt Collection, consisting of 275 autographs and documents concerning the history of the book trade from the 18th to the 20th centuries. These include letters to and from the prominent Leipzig publishers Georg Joachim Göschen and Philipp Erasmus Reich.
The German Music Archive added a number of rarities to its Collection of Historic Sound Recordings; it acquired a total of more than 4,000 shellac discs, vinyl discs and phonograph cylinders. Of particular interest is what is probably the only surviving original recording of Wilhelm Voigt, the real "Captain of Köpenick". Using funds provided by the 'Gesellschaft für das Buch', a rare Lukraphon disc was purchased which features the "Orchester des jüdischen Kulturbundes Berlin" in a recording from 1935/1936 and an Ernst Busch recording of "Der Marsch ins Dritte Reich" from the "Deutscher Arbeiter Sängerbund" label dating from 18 January 1933.

Stock preservation

104,000 volumes were treated using the mass deacidification process: this represents 40,000 kilograms or 2,500 metres of books. Roughly 27,000 volumes were rebound as a preservation measure.
The duplication of 4,500 rolls of di- or triacetate microfilm which were endangered to varying extents by "vinegar syndrome" (a decomposition process in which acetic acid is created) was completed. These materials are now available in good condition.

New projects

The "Long-term Efficacy of the Mass Deacidification of Library Materials" is currently being studied as part of the KUR programme of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kulturstiftung der Länder. The project, being led by the German National Library, began in July and is scheduled to run for two years. Scientific tests are being carried out to evaluate the long-term efficacy of the mass deacidification. The tests are being performed on the holdings of the German National Library in Leipzig and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz which were neutralised between 1994 and 2006. An integral part of the project is the further development of the conventional pH test for paper using fluorescence markers. This permits non-destructive measurement of the pH value of neutralised paper. A further objective is to investigate the long-term behavior of the neutralised paper. Now that different deacidification processes have been in use for more than ten years, the project will allow informed decision making about the future economic use of long-term preservation techniques for library and archive materials. The results can also be used to help create a basis for standardising quality assurance measures for the mass deacidification process in libraries and archives.

Out-of-print and orphan works from the 20th century represent a specific problem with regard to copyright issues. "Orphan" works are those which may still be subject to copyright protection but whose rights holders can no longer be identified or localised. The EU-backed project ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works towards Europeana), in which the German National Library is also involved, was launched in September. The aim of the project is to simplify identification of copyright owners of out-of-print and orphan works and to create a prototype of a European rights database in which copyright information can be stored in the future. Access models are also to be developed for free and charged digital content.

The EU "INSIGHT into issues of Permanent Access to the Records of Science in Europe" (PARSE.Insight) project started its work in March. It is investigating the current status of the digital preservation of primary scientific data. The aim is for the project results to support the development of a uniform European strategy and the establishment of a common European infrastructure to ensure the long-term locatability, accessibility and preservation of digital research data.

The aim of the IMPACT (Improving Access to Text) project, which has been running since January 2008, is to overcome obstacles to setting up the Europeana. Current OCR (Optical Character Recognition) techniques can only be deployed to a limited extent on valuable historic material. The recognition of old typefaces, older spelling variations or complex layouts in newspapers is producing unsatisfactory results at present. The project unites 15 national and regional libraries, research institutes and companies - all competence centres with a great deal of experience in mass digitisation. The project involves the development of new software applications for improved OCR, and making these available together with related information via an open source Internet platform, thereby creating the basis for a range of mass digitisation programs.

SHAMAN - Sustaining Heritage Access through Multivalent ArchiviNg: The aim of the project is to create the basic conditions for the grid-based networking of digital preservation systems, i.e. for the joint use and efficient utilisation of distributed resources such as memory, computing power etc. A comprehensive international approach is to be developed for a networked archiving infrastructure by analysing existing systems and technologies, institutional approaches and current archiving processes. This will facilitate co-operative, distributed and efficient processing of resource-intensive and complex digital preservation tasks. The main contribution to the proj-ect from the German National Library and the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen will be results from the KOPAL digital preservation project. The German National Library will also be assuming responsibility for managing and implementing the "Document generation, archiving, access and use within the context of memory organisations for scientific and official collections" work package. The main task of this work package is to bring together the research results in a prototypic demonstrator for the "digital preservation in memory organisations" application field.

Completed projects

The DFG-sponsored "DissOnline Portal" project was brought to a successful close in January. The aim of the project was to bring together electronic dissertations and post-doctoral theses from Germany in a portal and to make them available via the net. The portal is now operated and maintained by the German National Library ( Detailed metadata searches, and full-text searches in the current total of 72,000 dissertations and 800 post-doctoral theses are also supported.

FIZE - Functional Integration of ZDB and EZB: The aim of this project, which was launched two years ago, was the functional integration of the established capture and search systems of the Periodicals database (ZDB) and the electronic journals library (EZB) through the development and implementation of joint end-user oriented services. Two new ZDB and EZB services are now available as results of the project: the "Journals Online & Print (JOP)" joint availability search service and the joint data supply service. JOP allows libraries to offer their users standardised availability information on electronic and printed journals. The service determines the avail-ability based on the location of the user and can link directly to the full-text in electronic form or the location of the printed edition in the library.


The "Comics made in Germany - 60 Jahre Comics aus Deutschland" exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Institut für Jugendbuchforschung at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, attracted a great deal of interest from the public and the media. The "Ansichtssachen! Bücherlese à la Carte" exhibition organised by Stiftung Buchkunst as well as the "Reclam. Die Kunst der Verbreitung" exhibition and "Gutenberglabyrinth", a comprehensive retrospective of the object artist Hubertus Gojowczyk, were all well received.

Numerous readings and lectures were given both in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main, mostly on the basis of long-standing partnerships with publishing houses. This year, guests included the authors Jan Seghers, Adolf Muschg, Paul Krugman - who just a few months later received the Nobel Prize for Economics -, Lea Fleischmann, F. W. Bernstein, Claus Leggewie, Wolfgang Frühwald, and the actors Anna Thalbach and Miroslav Nemec. In Frankfurt am Main, two events were held to celebrate Israels 60th anniversary. The Leipzig site took part in the "Long night of the sciences" and staged the main concluding event of the first national "Deutschland liest. Treffpunkt Bibliothek" action week.

The EDLproject, intended to pave the way for the European digital library Europeana, came to a successful conclusion in February 2008 with an international conference in Frankfurt am Main. By staging the conference, which attracted attendees from 32 countries, the German National Library, in its double function as partner to the Europeana activities and as the location of the Conference of European National Librarians Secretariat, made an important contribution to the Europeana.

Facts and figures

(only available in German)

Erwerbung (PDF, 42KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Deutsche Nationalbibliografie (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Normdateien (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Bibliografische Dienste (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Nationales ISSN-Zentrum (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Benutzung, Auskunft, Archivierung (PDF, 24KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Spezialsammlungen (PDF, 29KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Deutsches Musikarchiv (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Haushalt und Personal (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Ausbildung (PDF, 21KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (PDF, 21KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Ausstellungen und Veranstaltungen
Gremien der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek
Mitarbeit in Gremien

Last update: 21.02.2012

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