Collection building principles

Being Germany’s centre for cartographic holdings, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin collects maps, and atlases as well as topographical city and landscape views from all continents. In the framework of the DFG funding programme "Specialised Information Services for Research" the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is responsible for the specialised information service Cartography and Basic Spatial Data. The map department also functions as depot library for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kartographie (DGfK). Within the framework of the project Sammlung Deutscher Drucke antiquarian acquisitions concentrate on the period 1800 to 1912.

Publications and items which are collected:

Maps and atlases

  • Selection of all maps and atlases published between 1800 to 1912, within the framework of the Sammlung Deutscher Drucke, broad selection of globes
  • Narrow selection of pre-1800 maps, atlases, and globes
  • Topographic maps of German territories complete at scales smaller than 1 : 10,000 and of agglomeration areas at scales smaller than 1 : 5,000; of other European countries at scales smaller than 1 : 25,000 and economic centres in overseas areas at scales smaller than 1 : 50,000; and maps at scales smaller than 1 : 100,000 of less densely populated areas (Australia, South America, Siberia).
  • Thematic maps and atlases (broad selection)
  • International map series, national atlases, and regional atlases containing complex thematic maps (complete selection)
  • Broad selection of city maps of German cities, of other European cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, also of smaller cities or towns with special cultural or political importance (renewed every five years) and of capital cities and megacities (renewed every three years)
  • Tourist maps, in case there are no topographic maps or when they show important touristic regions (collected on a very selective basis)
  • Wall maps, general maps, and other cartographic materials (globes, reliefs): only specimens which are interesting from the methodical point of view (collected on a very selective basis)
  • General world atlases with a comprehensive index: selected in case of important changes or for methodical reasons
  • Aerial and satellite images of Central Europe (collected on a selective basis, preferably atlases), and also of other European and overseas areas (collected on a very selective basis)
  • Maps and atlases in electronic form are acquired in accordance with the collecting principles, in case there are no print editions; if there are parallel editions, only in selected cases the department acquires both the print and electronic editions.

Views of cities and landscapes

Items are added to the collection of views: collecting is done on a very selective basis, in case the department does not yet hold pictorial representations from the period and if the topographic objects which are shown feature important changes in comparison with representations already in the collections. A special focus is on historical views of topographic objects in former Prussia, especially the former Eastern territories of Germany.

Cartographic literature

The department collects a very broad range of cartographic literature, literature of rarer languages is collected on a very selective basis (primarily journals, a part of them in exchange with the DGfK; and journals covering the history of cartography). When there is an overlap with geodesy, preference is given to cartography, excepted are purely mathematical-geodetic publications.

Tourist guides

There is always a large variety of tourist guides on the book market, yet as territory-related advice literature these items are acquired on a very selective basis. In the maps reading room the department maintains a core collection. Wide thematic breadth and in-depth presentation are the primary selection criteria: beside general tourist guides also those which cover geographical aspects and the history of art or civilization, preferably comprehensive and detailed presentations of regional studies and local history; no consideration of other tourist guides which cover specific topics or are made for special target groups; preference is given to tourist guides containing a rich variety of maps, plans, bird's eye and other views. No consideration of illustrated tourist guides and smaller publications.

Regional and linguistic aspects

Normally only tourist guides covering larger areas (countries, large regions and cities) are selected, smaller regions only when they are important regarding touristic aspects and cultural history. Tourist guides to the Ibero-American region are collected by the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Ibero-American Institute). The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin prefers to acquire tourist guides in German or in the lingua franca of the respective country.