Vortrag auf dem IFLA World Library and Information Congress


Paper Bridges: Conservation, Restoration, Cataloguing and Digitization of German-language Newspapers from Southeastern Europe in a One-Person-Library

Vortrag von Helene Dorfner in der Session „Success Stories and Challenges: News Media Re-used in Research and by the General Public“ der News Media Section joint with Digital Humanities – Digital Scholarship Special Interest Group




25. August 2019 , 13:45–15:45 Uhr
Megaro Musikis, Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias & Kokkali
115 21 Athen, Griechenland


The Institute for German Culture and History of Southeastern Europe at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (IKGS) collects and researches the history of ethnic Germans in Southeastern Europe, with a focus on Romania and Hungary. After World War II, Eastern European countries expelled most Germans from their territories. Many of those had inhabited these lands for centuries, developing a unique culture. Between 12 and 16,5 million ethnic Germans and German citizens were expelled westwards, many of whom resettled in Germany. The IKGS library and archive preserve their written cultural heritage like books, writings and personal estate, including materials from about three centuries.
The library holds one of the biggest collections of German-language newspapers and periodicals from Southeastern Europe in Germany. It consists of rare original materials and microfilms and covers the period from 1750 to the present, in detail 130 titles on 1000 microfilm rolls and 500 printed periodicals. The collection is used by researchers from all over the world, mainly from Germany, Romania and Hungary, but also from the U. S. and Australia.
Because of the fact that the library runs as an OPL, the conservation, restoration, cataloguing and digitization of the newspapers and periodicals can only be achieved with the help of cooperation partners, due to financial and staff reasons. This paper intends to present the project “Paper Bridges” as a best-practice example of how also small libraries can preserve and digitize their newspaper collections.

Conservation and Restoration
In 2017, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in Germany launched a special program for the long-term protection and preservation of collections and supports projects in libraries and archives. In 2018, the IKGS library completed the project “Paper Bridges” in which 26 newspapers and periodicals were deacidified through mass deacidification techniques and were restored afterwards. Around 80% of the costs were covered by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

For cataloguing the original materials and the microfilms in the German database for periodicals (ZDB) the IKGS library was able to hire a volunteer librarian for 3 months and was supported by a second volunteer by the Federal Volunteers Service of Germany.

The digitization of German-language newspapers and periodicals from Southeastern Europe is a special case, as many publishing houses had to close during communism because of political pressure and remained without a legal successor. In this case it is very difficult to get permission for digitization due to still valid intellectual property rights. This is also the reason why for many newspapers the preservation of the original must be prioritized.
Nevertheless, the IKGS library cooperates with several partners for the digitization of newspapers such as Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca in Romania, the University of Regensburg in Germany, and the Digital Forum Central and Eastern Europe (DiFMOE). Through these cooperative efforts the IKGS has been able to digitize and present about 20 newspapers and periodicals in the digital library of DiFMOE and on other digital platforms to scholars and the general public until now.


Ansprechpartner im  IKGS: Jana Augustin (E-Mail)


Programm (externer Link).
Web-Auftritt des Kongresses (externer Link)
Programm als PDF-Datei (externer Link)