We are the DDB: The German National Library

Logo der DNBThe brief 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. It is based in two locations: Leipzig (founded in 1912) and in Frankfurt am Main (founded in 1946). Today the two institutions form a single unit, uniquely charged with a special task for Germany as formulated in the "Law regarding the German National Library". The German National Library therefore comprehensively documents the intellectual, literary and musical output of the German-speaking countries. The collection brief has been expanded to include electronic, non-carrier based publications in response to the shift in publication practices by publishers and authors.

The German National Library is an institution which provides a wide range of services: not only as a public reference library in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main, but also as a producer and provider of a broad spectrum of services for libraries, the book trade, scientific institutions and, not least, for individual users.

The German Music Archive (Deutsches Musikarchiv) of the German National Library collects, catalogues and archives all music publications, i.e. sheet music and sound recordings, making it the principal collection of music and the national music bibliography information centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. The special requirements for using sound recordings and other music materials have been incorporated into the new music reading room in Leipzig with its listening stations and keyboards, and also into the fully equipped sound studio and the separate listening booth.

Of particular significance are the Collection of Exile Literature in Leipzig and the German Exile Archive 1933–1945 in Frankfurt am Main. The scope of these encompasses the books and brochures written and published abroad by German-speaking emigrants in the fields of literature, politics, science and Jewish emigration. Also covered are all journals published by exiled parties, cultural and ideological groups but also by individual emigrants. The collection also includes unprinted documents regarding German emigration in the years from 1933–1945. Exhibitions and accompanying publications focus on exile authors, on exile organisations and political groups, on asylum countries and on topics such as "Buchgestaltung im Exil" or "Kinder- und Jugendliteratur im Exil".

The Anne-Frank-Shoah Library in the German National Library in Leipzig collects all literature published around the world on the persecution and extermination of European Jews under National Socialism in Germany, and makes it accessible for international research.

The book has shaped our culture and civilisation like no other medium. For centuries our knowledge about the world and its peoples has been stored, handed down and updated in books. Investigating the phenomenon of the book and examining the sum of its aesthetic, social, symbolic and production history functions are the tasks of the German Museum of Books and Writing (Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum) of the German National Library. Founded in 1884, it is the oldest museum in the world in the field of book culture, and also one of the most important with regard to the scope and quality of its stocks. The permanent exhibition "Signs – Books – Networks: From Cuneiform to Binary Code" is intended as a showcase for the German National Library in Leipzig. It presents a small slice of human media history, spanning the development of writing and movable type book printing through to the digital network world of the information society.

The German National Library makes publications from its collection available to the DDB, where legal conditions – especially copyright laws – permit. Roughly 125,000 online publications from the stocks of the German National Library, including digital born publications issued by publishers, dissertations and retroactively digitised works such as the collection of "100 volumes of classics", can currently be accessed.


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