Navigation and service

Annual report 2007

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 mandate of the German National Library is basically to collect Germany's published cultural and scientific heritage since 1913, to preserve it for posterity and to make it accessible for use. This already constituted a formidable task but, with the expansion of the collection mandate to include net publications, it has now taken on a new dimension. The amendment of the Law regarding the German National Library, passed by the German Bundestag in 2006, confirms the institution's role as the guardian of the nation's memory and defines its new role as it enters a new information age. In our review of 2007 we identify the main areas of work, recall exceptional events and summarise the key statistics.

Annex building in Leipzig

In January 2007 work on preparing the building site for the 4th annex building of the German National Library in Leipzig, involving replanting and site clearing, was started. The site was cleared and grubbed in April, allowing excavation of the 12 metre-deep building pit to begin then on 15 August. The next high point in the building work came on 4 December with the laying of the foundation stone, a ceremony attended by State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann and Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Dr. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, amongst others. The winner of the "Kunst am Bau" ("Art for Architecture") competition was announced at the end of October. In a three-stage decision-making process, the jury, chaired by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gauss of the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, chose the draft of a 15 metre sculpture, made from a woven structure of aluminium strips submitted by the Munich-based artist Prof. Olaf Metzel, for execution. All the latest information on the 4th annex building can be found in the Internet at Progress at the building site can be monitored via three webcams.

Net publications

When the Law regarding the German National Library came into effect in 2006, the German National Library was given the task of collecting, classifying, indexing and archiving online publications. The collection field of online publications covers all text, image and sound-based works made available in public networks. The submission obligation covers both Internet publications with corresponding printed versions and also web-specific media works. Procedures for the large-scale collection, classification, indexing and archiving of online publications will be developed gradually. The object of the first stage of development is the collection of individual publications. Here the German National Library examines and classifies each distinct publication as an individual work. In 2007 extensive conceptual and technical development work was carried out. The existing process was optimised to permit the publishers of online publications to submit the works at minimum cost and effort. The German National Library also developed an automated procedure for online publications and their metadata, and defined a metadata core set for the submission of online publications. In addition, work began on classification planning at the article level, integrating different types of publication in the overall system, expanding the system to include additional data and file formats and intensifying various partnerships.

Revised version of the mandatory submission regulations and the collection guidelines

During the course of 2007 the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media oversaw the department co-ordination process and also the association hearings on the mandatory submission regulations. Detailed delimitation of the submission and collection obligation is regulated in the collection guidelines which are currently being drawn up by the German National Library.

Digital services

The "Digital Services" department, in which the German National Library concentrates its digital service development work, was opened on July 1. The work is focused primarily on meeting the needs of users wishing to access the library's services via the Internet. Experience and activities associated with digital services have been brought together in the new department where they are being developed and extended, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Centralised bibliographic services, for instance, have been bundled as a work area in the new department; projects such as portal development or catalogue enrichment are also housed there. Ute Schwens has been appointed head of the department.


The 20th century accounts for the lion's share of all printed works ever published in the German-speaking countries. In order to preserve this intellectual heritage, and safeguard access to the information contained in it for the future, it is crucial that mass digitisation of content be started as soon as possible. However, digitisation work in libraries in Germany is currently focused primarily on works which are no longer under copyright. There is a risk that 20th century works, the vast majority of which are still under copyright, could become invisible in a digital world and that they could disappear from awareness as our contemporary cultural heritage.
The collection of the German National Library consists almost entirely of such copyright-protected works, and accordingly, last year the Library examined the issues of rights clarification and administration. The aim is to facilitate the licensing in particular of out-of-print (i.e. those no longer available from the publisher) and "orphan" (i.e. those of which rights holders can no longer be identified or located) works and, while observing the copyright regulations, to create the possibility for future digitisation of the collections of the German National Library. In collaboration with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buch-handels and the Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort, a model has been developed to facilitate the search for rights holders and the subsequent licensing of digital content.
These activities were carried out in close co-ordination with corresponding initiatives at the European level.

Portal of the German National Library

The term "portal" is basically used to refer to the range of Internet services offered by the German National Library, consisting of heterogeneous systems and services. The objective of developing the portal is to avoid having to confront users with different systems in the future, and instead to permit their use via a uniform interface. An example of this would be searching all catalogues with just one search query. In the first project phase, which has now ended, a new portal architecture was created which was used as the basis to create a number of new services such as the Datashop aimed at libraries and other users who wish to download and process bibliographic data. A link from the "Redesign of catalogues and services" item on the homepage went online to coincide with the Frankfurt Book Fair. This is based on a comprehensive new version of the catalogue which is subject to continual development and which allows searches to be made of the collections in Leipzig, Frankfurt and Berlin - now including the collection of historic recordings and some collections from the Exile Archive - for the first time via a single interface.

Catalogue enrichment

In negotiations with the Deutscher Bibliotheksverband (German Library Association) and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the German National Library declared its willingness to assume the role of a central service provider in the dissemination of additional digital information to bibliographic data. The course was set in 2007 for the enhancement of the German National Bibliography data with high quality additional information (searchable pdf documents). As of the beginning of 2008 the tables of contents of roughly 75,000 new monographs issued each year by the publishing trade will be scanned and supplementary bibliographic data offered via the Internet and the data services of the German National Library. As part of the existing co-operation project with MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, the resulting additional information will be exchanged along with the VLB (German Books in Print) data.


In 2007, too, the Office for Library Standards made decisive progress towards making the German cataloguing codes, formats and authority files internationally compatible. The main focus of the format changeover preparations was a concordance between MAB2 and MARC 21 and the identification of new fields which will be necessary for the changeover at the national level. Alongside a large number of other activities, the German National Library organised two events on the format changeover.
In collaboration with the expert groups of the Committee for Library Standards, three statements on drafts of the "Resource Description and Access (RDA)" code were issued; the library also contributed to international discussions on key basic topics.

The German National Library came significantly closer to fulfilling the desire for the introduction of online communication with authority files last year: changes to authority data should be made simultaneously in the files held centrally by the German National Library and in those held by the regional data networks. The first stage of the online communication has been in productive use since the beginning of September: the PND (authority file for personal names) editors in the Aleph-using library networks are working together online. The new method will extend to all authority data held by the German National Library and will be introduced in a multistage process.

The German National Library was involved in numerous standardisation bodies for the further development of metadata standards such as Dublin Core and ONIX and in development work for The European Library. The work on the KIM (Kompetenzzentrum Interoperable Metadaten - Interoperable metadata competence centre) project was given considerable support. As part of the work on the Law regarding the German National Library, a metadata core set was developed for the transfer of metadata to the German National Library. The first step involved giving it ONIX mapping.

Within the "Virtual International Authority File - VIAF" project, the Library of Congress, the German National Library and OCLC jointly developed a virtual international authority file, linking the authority data records of the national authority files in the Web in a freely accessible form - initially for names of persons. The project results to date have impressively demonstrated the feasibility of a virtual international authority file. For this reason, in a new agreement which also includes the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the project partners decided in October 2007 to strengthen their commitment to the VIAF, thereby ushering in a phase of consolidation and expansion.

Union Catalogue of Serials (ZDB)

Work on cataloguing the journals and series into the Union Catalogue of Serials began on 1 March. Since then, information on, and stocks of, 9,000 regular compilations have been entered in an ongoing procedure, including 3,200 data sets for publications not yet contained in the ZDB. In the retrospective data integration, information contained on roughly 210,000 conventional catalogue slips from 1913 to 1973 has been entered into the ZDB and roughly half of the 335,000 publication data sets on ongoing compilations, including roughly 63,000 journals, using a machine-based co-ordination procedure. The remaining quantity must now be checked manually. A central aspect of the future cataloguing and retrospective data integration is the common data format which was also introduced in the ZDB on 1 March.

DDC Deutsch, subject indexing

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system for classification of the publications contained in Series B and H of the German National Bibliography was introduced back in 2006. DDC was also launched in Series A (monographs and periodicals from the publishers' booktrade) starting from issue 1/2007. The publications contained in it are also being fully classified with "RSWK" subject headings, as in the past. This makes the German National Library the largest European supplier of Dewey notations, ranking it second in the world after the Library of Congress. The integration of German National Library data in the WorldCat improves the visibility and usability of the content beyond the German-speaking countries. The EDUG (European DDC Users' Group) was set up in order to improve exchange of information amongst the European DDC users, to accord greater importance to European wishes with regard to classification and to co-ordinate distribution in Europe together with the OCLC.

Corporate design

During the course of the year, the individual components of the new visual design of the German National Library were worked out in conjunction with the Claus Koch agency. To signal the launch, the New Year card was designed using the new layout. From January 2008 the complete new corporate design will gradually be introduced; the changeover should be complete by mid 2008.

International activities

As in previous years, the German National Library was once again very active at the European and international levels in 2007. The Library is involved in a number of EU-sponsored projects in two different capacities: as the German National Library and as the headquarters of the chairwoman of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL). The European Commission is setting up a European Digital Library, the Europeana, featuring various programmes and initiatives. The Europeana will cover libraries, archives and museums and build upon existing structures - especially The European Library. Its aim is to concentrate and improve the services. For this reason CENL has launched the European Digital Library project (EDL project). During the course of the project the national libraries of the nine remaining EU and EFTA states were integrated into The European Library as full members. Further work packages addressed e. g. issues of multilingualism and the establishment of a European metadata registry.

The aim of the other project here, the EDLnet (European Digital Library network) project, is to prepare the ground for setting up the European Digital Library from the fragmented cultural heritage landscape in Europe. EDLnet brings together representatives of the four cultural domains of libraries, archives, museums and audiovisual archives. The aim is jointly to define the further steps involved in setting up the Europeana. EDLnet attends to co-operation questions between the cultural institutions and the issues of semantic, technical and organisational interoperability which need to be resolved in order to set up multilingual access to the distributed and varied digital cultural heritage of Europe.

Also, a foundation has been established under Dutch law, the European Digital Library (EDL) Foundation, the members of which include CENL and major European umbrella organisations in the field of museums, archives and libraries including LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche), CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries), ACE (Association des Cinémathèques Européennes), FIAT (International Federation of Television Archives), EMF (European Museum Forum), MICHAEL AISBL (Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe), ICOM Europe (International Council of Museums, Europe) and the National Library of the Netherlands as the host of the European Digital Library. The chairwoman of the EDL Foundation is Elisabeth Niggemann.

The German National Library is also taking part in the EU TELplus project aimed at significantly extending and improving the functions of The European Library and also at integrating the two new EU member states, Bulgaria and Romania, as full members.


The German National Library was open on 295 days; more than 37,000 users took advantage of its services and 883,000 orders were made. 46,000 bibliographic queries were answered in writing or over the phone.
Since 2007 the German National Library has provided a wireless network (WLAN) to offer free Internet access for its users in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main - a service which has been very well received.

Collection and outstanding new acquisitions

The collection of the German National Library increased by 588,000 units in the year under review to a total of 24.1 million units. Numbers of online university publications rose by roughly 11,000 to 60,300 units. The German National Library needs 7,200 metres of shelf space to accommodate new stocks of bound volumes; 587,000 journals also need to be shelved.

The German Exile Archive 1933 - 1945 (Deutsches Exilarchiv) acquired a bundle of eight letters from Klaus Mann to his friend the publicist Franz Goldstein, a number of letters from Stefan Zweig and ten new complete and partial literary estates, for instance the estate of the sociologist and political scientist Sigmund Neumann, and received valuable additions to many existing collections.
The principal acquisitions of the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum) include the estates of the living artists Paul Zimmermann and Hans Ticha. Besides drafts of script typefaces and book covers, the gift from the Leipzig artist Paul Zimmermann also includes free penmanship work. Following the "Hans Ticha: Books and graphics 1970 - 2006" exhibition, the Museum was able to purchase, with the support of the "Gesellschaft für das Buch" a collection of work which demonstrates Ticha's significance as an outstanding illustrator and book designer. A generous gift from the artist completes the documentation of his illustration work in the German National Library.
The German Music Archive (Deutsches Musikarchiv) added a number of treasures and rarities to its collection of historic sound recordings. A total of 3,476 historic sound recordings were purchased, including 349 Emile-Berliner records, some of the very earliest sound recordings.


The THESEUS project was officially started on 19 July 2007 after the European Commission approved public support for the research programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology into a new Internet-based science infrastructure. The aim is to develop a semantic search engine together with business and research partners. The German National Library is taking a leading role in the CONTENTUS part of the project. The aim of CONTENUS is to create an automated process to provide multimedia knowledge. For this, intelligent algorithms are being developed which automate to a large extent the processes for quality optimisation and restoration, classification (through automatic metadata generation) and the semantic linking of books, texts, images, music, sound documents and videos. For example, the materials of the Music Information Centre of the Association of Composers and Musicologists of the GDR (MIZ) is to be digitised in the German Music Archive and made available electronically. Extensive preliminary work has already been completed. CONTENTUS works together closely with the ALEXANDRIA application scenario.

In the kopal project (Kooperativer Aufbau eines Langzeitarchivs Digitaler Informationen / Co-operative Development of a Long-term Digital Information Archive) sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German National Library, together with partners, set up a jointly usable digital repository from 2004 to 2007. This included the administration of information for supporting migration and emulation in LMER format (Long-term preservation metadata for electronic resources). Also, the open-source software koLibRI was created, providing a framework which can be used for setting up format migration processes. The aim of the nestor project, also sponsored by the BMBF, is to create, under the leadership of the German National Library, a competence network for the long-term preservation and accessibility of digital resources for Germany.

Sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German National Library and the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen are jointly developing a plan, entitled the "Establishment of a 'Competence Centre for Interoperable Metadata (KIM)' as a DCMI Affiliate in the German-speaking Countries", to investigate how collaboration between local and national metadata users and the internationally established Dublin Core Metadata Initiative can be strengthened.

The work of the Co-ordination Acengy DissOnline set up at the German National Library is supported by two projects sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The aims of the "DissOnline portal" project are to bring together electronic dissertations and doctoral theses in a portal and to make them available via the net. The main focus is on the collection, processing and provision of this material and on providing research possibilities which are not yet available anywhere else.
The "DissOnline tutor" project has three main goals: to improve the technical quality of permanently preservable electronic dissertations, improved and long-term access to electronic dissertations, and the development and provision of tools for the creation and technical checking of these publications. In order to achieve these goals, dedicated and specially co-ordinated tools plus a manual for the generation of barrier-free PDF files have been developed for word processing systems and for the LaTeX typesetting system, for use by the authors of doctoral theses and dissertations.

The DDC-vascoda project was completed in 2007. Up to now vascoda's search facility has only offered a free-text search covering all fields, or an advanced search in which the free-text search can be combined with the formal criteria of author, title and year (of publication). The search could be restricted to individual subject areas or subject publications, however there is no topic-based access to the information. Vascoda used the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) as a uniform classification instrument. The aim of the DDC-vascoda project was to set up a user-friendly and uniform topic-based search facility as a means of accessing the full content. In addition, an HTML service was developed which allows specialist portals and other data providers to offer DDC browsing of their own data with no great programming effort.

The CrissCross project jointly run by the German National Library and the Fachhochschule Köln and sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft began at the end of January 2006. The project's aim is to create a multilingual, thesaurus-based and user-friendly research vocabulary. This combines the subject headings of the Subject Heading Authority File (Schlagwortnormdatei, SWD) with the notations of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). Multilingualism is achieved through links to the equivalents in the two comprehensive headings files: the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and the French Rameau. The methodological procedures defined in the project for linking the subject headings of the SWD with the DDC were refined and developed. The database was completed and improved and link tests carried out for the second component of the project: the addition of the equivalent subject headings (SWD) to the connections between LCSH and Rameau existing in the database of the MACS project.

The European Commission-sponsored "Bernstein - the memory of papers" project to create an integrated European digital environment covering the history of paper and knowledge about paper, has yielded its first working model of data integration for the major European watermark databases. As far as the German National Library is concerned, key intermediate steps have been taken towards integrating the library's own paper-history and watermark bibliography documentation.

The aim of the "Buchhändler-Porträts" (Bookseller Portraits) project being sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is the classification and digitisation of approx. 3,300 printed portraits of booksellers, bookprinters and publishers from the 17th to the 20th century. This hitherto unpublished part of a special collection of the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library provides unique source material for book and publishing history. Records of the bibliographic data and digitised content are continually updated in the catalogue of the German Museum of Books and Writing. Also, selected descriptive data, including digital images held in the electronic Bildarchiv Foto-Marburg (, is documented.

Library staff

2007 was a year of mourning for the German National Library. Birgit Schneider, Director of the German National Library in Leipzig and Head of the Subject Cataloguing department, died as a result of a cancer-related illness on 19 July at the age of 52. On 22 July Magda Heiner-Freiling, Head of the Subject Cataloguing department in Frankfurt, died following an accident while on holiday, at the age of 57. Hans Liegmann (Project Leader in Digital Preservation) also died in an accident towards the end of his 18-month period of leave on 22 November. The German National Library was greatly saddened by the loss of these highly valued colleagues.
The new Director of the German National Library in Leipzig is Michael Fernau. The 52-year old Law graduate headed the Central Administration of the German National Library for six years and took up his new responsibilities at the start of 2008.

Professional conferences and training

The staff of the German National Library regularly provides information at special events, workshops and trade fairs about current activities, project progress and the latest results. The 3rd Leipzig Library and Information Congress, the theme in 2007 was "Information and Ethics", was held from 19 to 22 March. The German National Library was actively involved in organising the event, which proved a great success. Scheduled to coincide with Germany's presidency of the EU Council, a conference entitled "The Challenge: Long-term preservation - Strategies and Practices of European partnerships" was held on 20 and 21 April at the German National Library in Frankfurt am Main. Attracting over 300 participants, it was very well attended.

In 2007 the German National Library had stands at the book fairs in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main and also at the 3rd Leipzig Library and Information Congress.

Cultural programme

In the year under review the German National Library once again offered a stimulating programme of events and exhibitions both in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main.
Numerous readings were held as part of the supporting programmes of the Leipzig and Frankfurt book fairs. Authors reading from their works included Chingis Aitmatov, Christoph Hein, Alberto Manguel, Paul Raabe, Lenka Reinerová, Louise Richardson and Ilka Scheidgen. The exhibitions "Die Kinder der Manns - Ansichten einer Familie", "Hans Ticha: Buch & Grafik 1970 - 2006", "Scala, Bembo, Times und Dolly. Über die Schönheit von Schriftmusterbüchern" and "Der Verleger Kurt Wolff - Ein Literat und Gentleman" were all well received.

At the German Music Archive, the permanent exhibition on the history of music sound recordings was opened during a summer festival which also served to draw attention to the Archive's work and collection. In 2007 the German Museum of Books and Writing once again took part in the Leipzig "Nacht der Museen", taking "Eyes open" as the theme of its varied activities.

The Leipzig site was chosen in 2007 as one of the selected "365 places in the land of ideas". The certificate, signed by Federal President Horst Köhler, was presented on 1 June and the plaque was mounted on the façade. Numerous visitors attended the "Tage der offenen Tür" when the Leipzig and Frankfurt locations threw open their doors and invited visitors to find out all about the wide spectrum of activities carried out by the German National Library.

Facts and figures

(only available in German)

Erwerbung (PDF, 31KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Normdateien (PDF, 25KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Nationales ISSN-Zentrum (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Benutzung, Auskunft, Archivierung (PDF, 30KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Bibliografische Dienste (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Spezialsammlungen (PDF, 32KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Deutsches Musikarchiv Berlin (PDF, 24KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Aus- und Fortbildung (PDF, 23KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Haushalt und Personal (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

This Page

Schriftbanner mit Deutscher Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main