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Newspaper Department

Digitisation, Preservation and Conservation

In addition to the mandate issued by the DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) for the library’s engagement in the Special Subject Collection “Foreign Newspapers”, the digitisation and preservation of newspapers has become an increasingly important task for the Newspaper Department.

ZEFYS is a newspaper information system which acts as a portal for digitised historical newspapers, full texts, selected online resources and databases; and also provides information on newspaper conservation projects. The portal also provides direct access to the digitised historical newspapers of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.

The increase in the use of acidic and groundwood pulp, which began in the middle of the 19th century with the mass production of newspapers, has become a serious problem for the preservation of  the original newspaper issues from that time. The newspaper collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has suffered additional damages and losses due to the mass evacuation of holdings during the Second World War.
The department tries to make microforms of newspapers available, which are in high demand or exposed to frequent use. For decades, both houses of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin have attempted to protect the original newspapers by reproducing them and making them available in microform format, thereby conserving the originals and protecting them from further damage. In 1999 a reprographic company was placed in a studio in the library’s Newspaper Department. With the generous support of the DFG and with the conservation funds of the Staatsbibliothek extensive microfilming projects have since been realized.

In the newspaper collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin the German newspaper titles with either missing or multiple copies are subject to collation, taking into account the existing holdings. The collation process involves a page by page comparison to have a complete copy at the end. The aim of this elaborate and demanding work is to preserve complete newspaper copies.

In addition to reproducing the original editions of the library’s German-language newspapers on microform or as digitized items, extensive and laborious restoration work to preserve the original newspapers has been planned and in some instances has already begun. The long-term preservation and conservation of the original newspapers (through methods of deacidification, paper splitting, lamination etc.) is of paramount significance as these newspapers are an important and irreplaceable cultural asset. Further information on current conservation projects can be found in the ZEFYS Portal.