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Annual report 2009

Dr. Elisabeth Niggemann, Director General

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

Annual review

Online publications, digitisation, digital libraries and copyright: these were the main focuses of the German National Library's work during the last year. We were involved in the further development of the Europeana project and also contributed to the preparations for the German Digital Library, the creation of which was resolved in the autumn. Publication of the collection guidelines set out the scope of collection for the German National Library, especially with regard to online publications. We worked on developing all areas of the German National Library to support users who are accessing our services via the Internet in their search for publications. Many developments therefore focused on the growing "Digital German National Library", although not at the expense of more traditional forms of publication.


More than 130 cultural institutions from all over Europe are involved in the Europeana project. By the end of the year the content of Europeana had expanded to include over 4.5 million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from the 27 EU member states. The German National Library is contributing to this development in its capacity as a partner institution, but also as the seat of the chair of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL). Europeana is governed by the EDL Foundation; the Director General of the German National Library was reappointed as chair of the EDL Foundation in November. The goal of Europeana v1.0, the successor project to EuropeanaNet, is to transfer the Europeana prototype into an on-going service.

German Digital Library

Europeana is reliant upon national digital libraries for its growth, but also upon aggregating and submission portals in individual specialist areas. The foundations for establishing the German Digital Library were laid by the Conference of State Premiers at the end of October and the Federal Cabinet at the beginning of December. The Federal Government resolved to provide initial funding for the library from the second economic stimulus package. When it goes into full operation, the German Digital Library will link together over 30,000 cultural and academic institutions in Germany, making their digital content accessible via a single national portal. The Director of the German National Library in Frankfurt is chair of the expert group consisting of federal and state-level delegates for setting up the German Digital Library; the German National Library is also taking responsibility for certain specialist issues.


A critical success factor for online libraries which make a wide range of digitised cultural heritage content available is ensuring that all copyright issues concerning the content have been resolved. Legal security and a workable balance between copyright protection on the one hand and the legal mandate of the memory institutions on the other hand are of great importance with regard to the collection mandate for non-physical media publications, long-term preservation, the preservation of at-risk stocks by means of digitisation, catalogue enrichment through digitised tables of contents, and also with regard to the cataloguing of electronic publications. The German National Library therefore issues statements on copyright-related questions. Last year this included statements regarding the discussion concerning the Google Book Settlement, the third basket of the Copyright law and the question of how »orphan» works whose right holders can no longer be identified or located, can be made accessible and, where appropriate, royalties can be paid to any rights owners subsequently identified.

International activities

Libraries' national and international activities are becoming increasingly intertwined. The German National Library has always regarded involvement in international bodies and projects as an integral part of its mandate. The Director General of the German National Library holds the chair of the CENL, and the Library also runs the CENL office. The Library has therefore assumed a leading role in co-ordinating European national library activities. During the annual CENL meeting in Madrid, members were granted an audience with the Spanish King, His Majesty Juan Carlos I.

Last year CENL further expanded the information service of The European Library and took part in European projects through this service. The European Library also served as the model for setting up Europeana; CENL is one of the founding members both of the Europeana initiative and the funding organisation, the EDL Foundation.

The German National Library is also honouring its non-European networking obligations through the involvement of several of its experts in the international library organisation IFLA and the work of the Director General in the CDNL, the Conference of Directors of National Libraries, and in the Board of Trustees of OCLC.

Online publications

Last year, development work on the collection of online monograph publications concentrated on the automated delivery system known as ›harvesting‹. A system providing an interface between the submitter and the German National Library has now gone into full operation with the first publishing houses. Here, both the metadata and the publications themselves are automatically deposited simultaneously in the catalogue and archive system.

The required format extensions for university publications were agreed and the preparatory work concluded. This clears the way for harvesting all online publications stored on university servers from 2010.

The E-Paper project for the collection of the electronic editions of daily newspapers was launched at the end of the year and is scheduled to run for 27 months. The aim here is to replace the existing practice of microfilming daily newspapers by the collection of E-Paper editions.

As of October 2009, dissertations held by the Swiss National Library have been integrated in the DissOnline portal. Roughly 84,000 dissertations and 900 post-doctoral theses from a total of 95 university libraries can now be accessed. The Office for Library Standards (AfS) and the Baden-Württemberg Library Services Centre have extended the XmetaDiss meta-data format to create XmetaDissPlus in order to incorporate further online university publications besides dissertations and post-doctoral theses into the collection.

Significant Internet content on the European elections was collected using a web harvesting process. The experience
gained on the necessary technical and intellectual investment was incorporated in a proposal for the automatic collection of selected Internet content stipulated in the collection mandate.

Collection guidelines

The updated collection guidelines were published in the summer. These reflect the changes in the Law regarding the German National Library from June 2006 and the Legal Deposit Regulation from October 2008. The collection guidelines represent a tool for managing the constant expansion of the collection based on defined criteria. Recent changes include selection criteria for the collection of online publications. This section will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it reflects state-of-the-art collection technology and that ongoing developments in publication forms are taken into account.


When Ulrike Junger took up the post of department manager, the Leipzig and Frankfurt subject cataloguing departments were combined to create a joint department. Key paragraphs of the subject heading catalogue rules concerning headword syntax were revised by the subject cataloguing expert group to facilitate standardisation of the cataloguing process. For the first time the German National Library sent a delegate - as a representative of the European DDC user group - to the meeting of the Editorial Policy Group which decides on changes to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system and which advises editors on the further development of DDC. Greater significance is now being attached to European concerns within international classification work as a result.

The collection mandate has been expanded to include online publications and is now increasingly being effected automatically. This has resulted in the stocks of the German National Library growing at an even faster rate. Working methods and tools need to be developed for cataloguing all submissions, including non-physical media publications. These need to achieve a new balance between user expectations, work levels and resources. In order to catalogue parts of publications, such as essays in journals or individual CD tracks, the amount of metadata generated automatically or semi-automatically will need to be increased, as will the consistent use of descriptive data from other sources. In the future, software-based procedures for automatic indexing and classification will support the cataloguing process and help to streamline the amount of intellectual work involved.

In the future, all documents will continue to be assigned formal and content-related data, however it will no longer be possible to generate or check each item of descriptive information manually. From 2010, the metadata of online publications will be generated automatically or from external data. The checking of people's names against the German Personal Name Authority File (PND) will be conducted automatically, as will the issuing of subject groups; existing cataloguing data will be taken over from parallel editions.


The German National Library has been working on the PETRUS - Process Supporting Software for the Digital German National Library - project since the start of 2009. The aim of this project is to develop a tiered model for the automatic cataloguing of all media publications falling under the collection mandate of the German National Library.
Besides cataloguing, a further focus is users' increasingly complex demands when making searches. The changeover to new methods is therefore linked to the goals of providing better support in finding relevant sources of literature and information, and of fulfilling the requirements of the libraries and data providers which re-use data provided by the German National Library.
Automated, or at least partially automated, procedures for extracting, generating, indexing, ranking and linking data are to become the basic form of processing at least for online publications. In the medium-term the new processing methods will open up new cataloguing possibilities for other more traditional types of media, too. The purpose of testing and introducing new technologies is not only to generate formal descriptions of the media, but also - and more importantly - to facilitate content-based cataloguing by using e.g. the SWD Subject Headings Authority File as controlled vocabulary. Use of the authority files, which are incorporated in the automatic procedure as a knowledge base, and of the classification schemata (DNB subject groups, DDC), remains crucial.


The main elements of the standardisation work carried out in 2009 were preparations for the new Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloguing code, migration to MARC 21, work on the Gemeinsame Normdatei (authority file of the German speaking countries - GND), online communication for authority data, and numerous activities associated with meta-data.

Preparatory work has begun on translating the RDA into German, and a training programme has been devised in preparation for the new cataloguing code. Information presentations and events were organised for the library community.

The "MARCing a new landscape in data exchange" symposium saw the conclusion of the "Internationalisation of German standards: changeover to MARC 21" project sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The translation of MARC 21 Concise will provide a brief and precise overview of fields, indicators, sub-fields and positions. Translations of the "Bibliographic Data", "Authority Data" and "Holdings Data" sub-formats were published in autumn 2009. The German National Library is collaborating on generating supplements to the format which are aimed at supporting initial implementation of the RDA.

In 2009 the German National Library prepared the ground for a Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND) covering all authority data. The German National Library currently manages the Corporate Body Authority File (GKD), the Personal Name Authority File (PND) and the Subject Headings Authority File (SWD). In close collaboration with the German and Austrian library networks, a common authority data format was developed for these three authority files, including their content and their sub-structures. The Uniform Title File (EST file) of the German Music Archive (Deutsches Musikarchiv) will also use this format and it will be operated as a common authority file for the German-speaking countries.

Interfaces for SWD online communication were set up in mid-January 2009. Following a test phase these went into full operation in most library networks. The preliminary work for introducing online communication for the GKD has now been completed. All three authority files will then be converted. Following the changeover to MARC 21 by all library networks, the procedure will then eventually also be used for the title and holdings data of the German Union Catalogue of Serials (ZDB).

The Office for Library Standards (AfS) was also involved in the further development of standards within the Dublin Core Metadata initiative and the German ONIX National Group. A common set of guidelines and a schedule for the changeover to Version 3 of ONIX for Books published in spring by EDItEUR was resolved in conjunction with MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH.

The AfS has also been involved in generating the metadata core set in MARCXML format for the delivery of online publications.

The German National Library is a member of the Advisory Board of the IFLA-CDNL Alliance for Digital Strategies (ICADS) which focuses on the latest developments in digital libraries run by national libraries.

Digital services

Since the start of 2009 the German National Library has supplied data from the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie, the ZDB, and the GKD, PND and SWD authority data in MARC 21 format.
From the middle of the year the catalogue enrichment service was first delivered monthly, and then from September, weekly. A total of 65,000 tables of contents from new publications in bibliography series A and a further 55,000 tables of contents from the years 1913 to 1918 were generated. By the end of the year the German National Library held 185,000 tables of contents in its catalogue. The collaboration with the MVB saw the number of content descriptions provided by publishers increase by 46,000 to 260,000. The catalogue enrichment data is increasingly supplementing the subject-related access possibilities based on RSWK subject headings and DDC subject groups, thereby improving the effectiveness of catalogue searches.

The starting point of the »100 Bände Klassik« project was an agreement between the European national libraries whereby each library would digitise one hundred volumes of non-copyright works regarded as belonging to its national literary canon. The aim is then to provide access to them via The European Library and Europeana. The »Top 100« of each of the European national libraries are then given special prominence in the Europeana. The German National Library is setting up a prototypical process based on this which can then be used for future digitisation projects.

A website has been created to provide information on the progress of the EU ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works towards Europeana) project aimed at simplifying the search for copyright owners of out-of-print publications. It should also be possible to integrate national rights clearing tools in the system architecture which has been co-developed with the MVB. Rights are being cleared, for example, on roughly 4,500 out-of-print prize-winners of the »Best German Book Design« competition which has been held since the end of the 1920s.


The first phase of the "Long-term Efficacy of the Mass Deacidification of Library Materials" project sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kulturstiftung der Länder confirmed the effectiveness of the deacidification process. The samples were then subjected to accelerated ageing; a further round of tests will bring the project to a conclusion in 2010.

The main objectives of the EU IMPACT (Improving Access to Text) project, launched in 2008, are to establish a competence centre for the mass digitisation of historical sources and to improve optical character recognition of historical texts. The German National Library is contributing to various work packages and has assumed responsibility for implementing the Helpdesk.

In the CrissCross project carried out jointly with the Cologne University of Applied Science since the start of 2006, the 50,000 most widely used subject headings in the SWD have been linked to their French and English counterparts. This will improve searches in portals such as The European Library, Europeana, and also in the portal of the German National Library.

The German National Library is a partner in the DFG-sponsored "Competence Centre for Interoperable Metadata" (KIM) project. KIM provides information on national and international developments in the field of metadata within the German-speaking countries. KIM works within national and international bodies to develop rules for the use of metadata formats and controlled vocabularies within the context of the semantic web and to contribute to standardisation work in this field. The aim is to make the metadata usable in networked information environments, but with no loss of information. KIM is co-publisher of the Technology Watch Report - Standards and Standardisation (TWR). Metadata profiles can be evaluated using the certification criteria developed by KIM.

At the end of the six-year nestor project, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the "network of expertise for the long-term storage and accessibility of digital resources in Germany" successfully completed its transition to a co-operation association. At the final conference in Berlin, long-term preservation experts reported on the advances achieved by nestor and made clear that ongoing collaboration is needed to ensure that digital information is secured on a long-term basis. The tasks of the nestor competence network are to communicate how important long-term digital preservation is for society, science and business, and to bundle expertise in this field. The overall objective here is to create the conditions needed for archiving the digital cultural heritage of Germany on a long-term basis. The nestor administrative office is run by the German National Library.

The EU PARSE.Insight (Insight into issues of Permanent Access to the Records of Science in Europe) project is investigating the current status and future prospects of the long-term preservation of primary scientific data. The results of a broad-based survey of researchers, publishers, "data preservers" (including database managers, specialists in computer centres and libraries etc) and sponsors of research work into the current status of archiving and the interdisciplinary use of research data have been used to draft a roadmap for a European research data infrastructure.

The four-year SHAMAN (Sustaining Heritage Access through Multivalent Archiving) project, involving 17 partners from seven European countries, lays the foundations for the grid-based networking of long-term preservation systems. The German National Library is contributing results from the KOPAL digital preservation project.

CONTENTUS is a part of the THESEUS project, a research programme financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology aimed at developing a new Internet-based knowledge infrastructure as a means of improving the use and exploitation of knowledge in the Internet. Together with partners from research and industry, the German National Library is developing new technologies for the purpose of setting up digital libraries and digital broadcast archives. The goal of CONTENUS is to create an automated process for the provision of multimedia knowledge. Here, approaches are being developed which provide widespread automation of the processes for restoring, classifying and semantically linking texts, images, music, sound documents and videos. Users will benefit from the new forms of knowledge presentation by being able to access relevant content more quickly. A further intention is for users to discover links between different works as a result of innovative technologies, motivating them to explore new areas and encouraging them to embark upon journeys of scientific discovery.

The Linked Data processes based on semantic web technologies and the associated conventions will become commonplace for the provision of metadata and other data of general use in the World Wide Web. The German National Library has begun setting up a service for publishing its knowledge base as Linked Data. The aim of the initial prototype is to gather practical experience in running such a service.

The purpose of the CD Migration project is the gradual digitisation and transfer of all sound and data carrier stocks of the German Music Archive (DMA) to mass storage, ensuring long-term preservation and improving usability on the premises of the library as a result. Work has already begun on migrating audio CDs on account of the acute risk attached to these carriers. A system has been procured which permits high transfer rates but has stringent error controls.

Library use and stock preservation

The reading rooms of the German National Library in Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin were open on 296 days in 2009. More than 800,000 media units were made available for use during this time and responses made to over 10,000 telephone and written requests. Collaboration with the German branch of the global information service QuestionPoint was continued.

Users can now log-in, make portal catalogue searches, use a system for viewing electronic publications and access the electronic document ordering service recently incorporated in the portal directly from the user work places in the reading rooms. A modern and user-friendly media access system went into operation in the multimedia reading rooms in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main. Roughly 500 electronic publications have been pre-installed for use.

Rising levels of use and numbers of requests have been registered by both the German Exile Archive (Deutsches Exilarchiv) and the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum). This is due to the provision of full listings in the online catalogue thanks to retroconversion of the titles in the printed catalogues and conversion of the card catalogue.

105,000 volumes weighing a total of 39 tonnes were preserved in 2009 under the Federal "Agreement on Conservation Services to Preserve Books and Archival Papers" by means of mass deacidification. This corresponds to roughly 2.5 kilometres of shelf space.

Outstanding acquisitions

The complete and partial literary estates of ten German-speaking emigrants were added to the collection of the German Exile Archive 1933 - 1945, as was a partial estate of an exile researcher; there were also numerous additions to existing collections, including letters from Stefan Zweig and Klaus Mann. Special mention should be made of the estate of the writer Anja Lundholm who died in August 2007 in Frankfurt am Main. Principal among the newly acquired individual autographs are a letter from Albert Einstein to Max Haas and a letter from Thomas Mann to Theodor Reik.

The German Music Archive acquired a number of outstanding collections, including 42 Emile-Berliner gramophone recordings from 1897 to 1902 and many other valuable and rare items including 105 phonograph rolls.

A major new acquisition of the German Museum of Books and Writing is the estate of the Leipzig typographer and illustrator Hans-Joachim Walch (1927 - 1991) which includes layouts and drafts for dust covers, engraved woodblocks, proofs pulled by hand of wood engravings for book illustrations, graphic art, personal documents and awards. The collection of book history-related archival papers and documents was supplemented by a downpayment document issued in 1655 to John Gill for the London polyglot Bible, one of the earliest subscription works.

A valuable addition was made to the Anne-Frank-Shoah Library in the form of a donation from Dr. Vincent Frank-Steiner, the former President of the Anne-Frank Foundation in Basle, including numerous books on Anne Frank and a bronze bust entitled "Anne Frank" by Irmgard Biernath.
Major new additions to the Leipziger Exil-Sammlung include 13 volumes of the rare journal "Das freie Wort: Zeitung der deutschen Kriegsgefangenen in der Sowjetunion" (Moscow, 1942), a small children's book, "Zoo II", from the renowned illustrator and puppet artist Erna Pinner from 1944, and a children's book with pop-up pictures, rotating discs and other animation elements on the art of performing conjuring tricks ("Arresto the Great presents The Book of Magic") by the book designer and illustrator William Wiesner, also from 1944.


Collaboration with the Institut für Jugendbuchforschung at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main continued with the exhibition entitled "Struwwelpeters Nachfahren - Starke Kinder im Bilderbuch der Gegenwart" in Frankfurt am Main to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Struwwelpeter author, doctor and psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann, organised as part of the Heinrich Hoffmann summer celebrations.

The " ›... die Lava des Gedankens im Fluss‹ - Jürgen Habermas - eine Werkschau" exhibition was organised by the Archiv der Peter Suhrkamp Stiftung an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität at the German National Library in Frankfurt am Main to mark the 80th birthday of the philosopher Jürgen Habermas. On the eve of his birthday, Jürgen Habermas, Alexander Kluge and Ulla Unseld-Berkéwicz gave speeches at the opening ceremony in the packed lecture theatre, which attracted a great deal of attention in the media.

The Guest of Honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair was the subject of the "Buch Gestalten. Made in China. Aktuelles chinesisches Buchdesign" exhibition organised by the Stiftung Buchkunst. No exhibitions were organised at the Leipzig site this year due to the building work on the 4th annex building, however preparations for the new permanent exhibition of the German Museum of Books and Writing went ahead. This will explore the three media innovations of handwriting, book printing with movable characters and cyberspace from a cultural history perspective.


The 125th anniversary of the German Museum of Books and Writing was celebrated at a ceremonial event held in the reading room of the German National Library in Leipzig. Roughly 300 guests attended the panel discussion entitled "Buch-Orte gestern und morgen: Blick zurück nach vorn". The commemorative publication "Bücher - Zeichen - Wissensnetze" presents a vivid mosaic of acknowledgements, messages of greeting, essays and an academic chronology of the museum on one of the oldest collections of book culture in the field, and one of the most important in the world in terms of the scope and quality of the collections. In it, authors and historians, bibliographers, cultural policy politicians and media theorists but also collectors and web visionaries express their views and reflect on the book and its future.

Numerous readings and lectures, including those given by Stefan Aust, Sigrid Damm, Malcolm Gladwell, Günter Kunert, Monika Maron, Avi Primor and Roger Willemsen and the actors Dieter Mann, Felix von Manteuffel and Michael Quast, resulted in full houses in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main.

The Open Day of the German National Library attracted large numbers of visitors in Frankfurt am Main as part of the statewide "Literaturland Hessen" festivities. The Leipzig site took part in the 9th Jewish Week, was involved in the Leipzig Libraries and Archives street festival, and played host to the annual conference of the Internationale Buchwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft. The Anne-Frank-Shoah Library provided the venue for the annual meeting of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Gedenkstättenbibliotheken in March. In Frankfurt am Main the German Exile Archive held the KOOP-LITERA conference - a network of institutions which purchase, catalogue, store and provide access to literary estates and autographs.

20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, participants in the "Eindrücke von drüben - Was Schüler in der DDR, der BRD und den USA übereinander lernten" panel discussion at the Leipzig site looked back at divided Germany. Recounting their school memories, representatives from the USA, the FRG and the former GDR described how the other two countries were portrayed in their respective textbooks.

Annex building in Leipzig

The topping-out ceremony in March celebrated the completion of the basic structure of the 4th annex building in Leipzig. The architects, planners, roughly 200 invited guests, companies involved in the construction and staff from the German National Library all celebrated the event. A few days before, the Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Wolfgang Tiefensee, toured the site to inspect the building work and to find out about the modern energy system. The work on the annex building, on the new music reading room, on the book tower and on the geothermal plant required for exploiting renewable energies is progressing as planned. Final completion and relocation of the German Music Archive from Berlin to Leipzig is scheduled for autumn 2010.

Facts and figures

(only available in German)

Erwerbung (PDF, 37KB, 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, 25KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Bestandserhaltung (PDF, 19KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Spezialsammlungen (PDF, 28KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Deutsches Musikarchiv (PDF, 22KB, Not barrier-free file.)
Haushalt und Personal (PDF, 21KB, 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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