Digital libraries of the future one step closer

October 18, 2010

A treasure trove of resources awaits researchers in the coming year. From long forgotten Expressionist dramas, to editorials from Communist party organ "Pravda", and studies from widely quoted journals for endocrinology - researchers at German universities and research institutes will enjoy unrestricted access to a significantly larger range of digital information resources in future. The acquisition of national licenses will provide researchers with free access to a further twenty-one major databases, journal archives and e-book collections. In a recent decision by the Joint Committee, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has allotted over €5.4 million for the acquisition of nationwide digital content rights. "The acquisition of nationwide licences will enable researchers to access first-class information and literature resources, as the DFG continues to expand the digital research environment in Germany", underscored Anne Lipp, the head of the Scientific Library Services and Information Systems Division at the DFG's Head Office.

Set to go online in early 2011, the new resources include extensive full-text databases that will prove invaluable in interdisciplinary research. The acquisitions include the database "Der literarische Expressionismus Online" (German Literary Expressionism Online). Spanning 40,000 articles and over 79,000 pages, the database is a comprehensive collection of journals, year books, collections and anthologies which cover the impact and development of Expressionism in literature, music and the fine arts in the early 20th century. Previously unavailable to researchers in both film and microfiche formats, this is the first time that researchers in humanities and social sciences will be able to access these documents in an electronic format.

Researchers will also welcome the veritable arsenal of Russian language resources. The "Pravda Digital Archive" features a comprehensive collection of full-text editions of "Pravda"; founded before the Russian October Revolution, the publication was the central organ of the CPSU until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The archive, which documents the official party line as far back as 1912, will no doubt prove to be an indispensable online resource for both historians of Eastern Europe and other researchers alike. The inclusion of Russia's leading journal for literary studies and criticism, "Voprosy Literatury", will also be warmly received. Founded in Moscow in 1957 by the Union of Soviet Writers, the journal has been published by the Gorky Institute for World Literature and the Literaturgedanke Foundation since 1992. Ranging from 1957 through to 1999, the digital archive grants researchers access to a publication that provided authors and intellectuals persecuted under the Soviet regime with a platform during the Thaw, and will offer insights into the cultural-political debates of this period in Soviet history.

In addition to these invaluable resources for the humanities and social sciences, the national licences will also provide access to information resources relevant to many other disciplines. "The Endocrine Legacy", an electronic database archive created by the Endocrine Society, is just one example. The database brings together four world-class specialist journals from the field of endocrinology from the years 1917 through to 1996 ("Endocrine Reviews", "Molekulare Endokrinologie", "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" and "Endokrinologie"); a vast pool of information spanning almost 350,000 online pages and covering 80 years of research in a specialised, yet highly important area of research in the field of internal medicine.

By funding the acquisition of national licences the DFG is moving one step closer to realising its long term goal of establishing a national infrastructure of enhanced digital library and information systems. The first national licences for electronic databases and international academic journal archives were acquired with the funding of the DFG in 2004. To date 132 national licences for digital collections have been acquired. The licences cover collected works, text collections, databases, journal archives and e-book collections, and extend across the broadest possible range of scientific disciplines to the benefit of researchers throughout Germany.
Further information

A complete list of the national licences funded by the DFG and further information is available here:

See also:

Contact person at the DFG:
Dr Anne Lipp, Scientific Library Services and Information Systems Division,
Tel. +49 228 885-2260,

Dr Rembert Unterstell, Press and Public Relations Officer,
Tel. +49 228 885-2275,

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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