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Press Release No. 20 | 24 May 2011
Libraries as Research Locations

DFG Supports Projects at Outstanding Research Libraries

In order to provide even better opportunities for researchers, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) plans to expand libraries and increase their visibility as “research locations”. Initially, the DFG’s “Outstanding Research Libraries” funding line will support 21 projects, providing them with approximately four million euros in funding over the next few years. Following a decision by the DFG’s Joint Committee, the libraries have just received their award letters. “The new funding line will help to raise the profiles of selected libraries in Germany and improve their effectiveness,” said Dr. Johannes Fournier from the Scientific Library Services and Information Systems Division at the DFG’s Head Office. “It will also enable libraries to tailor their offerings more closely to specific research activities, something which will benefit researchers.”

The supported projects will come from a wide range of disciplines – from art history, musicology, linguistics and literature studies to pedagogy, law and mathematics. Their common aim is to make important specialist resources even more accessible and to improve the services offered by the various libraries. In order to do this, the new projects will undertake the most diverse tasks. The Deutsche Volksliedarchiv [German Folk Song Archive] in Freiburg, for example, is establishing a collection of popular music and its culture comprising printed music, original documents, recordings and music videos spanning the years from 1950 to 2000. This multimedia archive will lay the foundations for an interdisciplinary competence centre specialising in German-language popular culture.

In Heidelberg, too, the focus is on bundling and networking sources of information. There, cooperation is being established between the Centre for East Asian Studies and the University Library, which are tackling a joint project entitled “Aus 9 mach 1 – Heidelberger Ostasienliteratur unter einer (Benutzer-)Oberfläche“ [“From 9 to 1 – Heidelberg‘s East Asian Literature via a Single (User) Interface“]. This project involves a particular challenge: that of electronically scanning in documents and data written in Far Eastern scripts, then linking them together and making them available on the internet. Linguists, literary scholars and art historians around the world will benefit from the high visibility this affords.

The Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Community at the University of Trier aims to pave the way into unmanageable data landscapes. The Institute has been working on a directory of journals and court rulings from the EU member states for over ten years. With the DFG’s help, this complex data pool will now be entered into an internet database, where it will be freely accessible to the general public. Furthermore, an online newsletter will inform interested users of relevant magazine contributions and the latest court rulings pertaining to European labour law.

Many specialist communities now perceive research libraries in a new light, as partners and centres of research. Cooperation between researchers and librarians “on an equal footing” and at project level has been expanded and intensified over the last few years. The DFG funding line aims to support high-quality initiatives at research libraries and to provide the research landscape with lasting stimuli. The first DFG announcement in May 2010 attracted a large number of high-quality responses, and another is planned for 2012.

Further Information

Overview of projects approved in 2010-11:

Specialist Contact at the DFG’s Head Office:

  • Dr. Christoph Kümmel,
    Scientific Library Services and Information Systems (LIS),  
    Tel. +49 228 885-2857,

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