Current Activities

February 2020

In February 2020 Duncker & Humblot published the 27th volume of the “Neue Deutsche Biographie” (Vockerodt - Wettiner). Hans-Christof Kraus acted as editor on behalf of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

In addition, more than 700 individual articles written by more than 500 authors have been put online. They were originally published in print in the preceding 26th volume edited by Maximilian Lanzinner und Hans-Christof Kraus in 2016 (Tecklenburg - Vocke).

Over One Million Users in 2016

In 2016, the Deutsche Biographie has been made available to the German-speaking world as a historical-biographical information system, enabling scholars to conduct scientific research. Offering certified facts, the data system contains at its core approximately 49.000 articles as published in the encyclopedias Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB; General German Biography) and Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB; New German Biography; vol. 1-25, A to Tecklenborg).

The current state of expansion, financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Scientific Society) from 2014 till 2016, provides valid information on more than 730.000 individuals. By entering authority data, it is now possible to access numerous more sources such as encyclopedias, scientific sources, literature, objects/oeuvres, and portraits directly on the internet. Already available in the past, the numerous visual representations of sources have been massively extended. The project's organizers thus react to the current rapid increase of network analysis. In addition, the geographical functions necessary when doing map work have also been expanded (subjects such as places of birth or death, geographic data relating to individuals' activities, and burial sites can be selected and combined freely).

The project's high attractiveness is illustrated by continuously rising user numbers, with 'unique visitors' having exceeded the mark of 1 million for the first time during a year in September 2016.

The current state of the project allows for further development of the Deutsche Biographie, eventually turning it into a scientific lab. The final goal is to provide future scholars with data samples from the Deutsche Biographie, enabling them to pursue their projects on an individual as well as collaborative basis. The scientific lab is currently subject of a new application for third party funds.

The Deutsche Biographie is a joint project undertaken by the Historische Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities) in cooperation with the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB, central state library and repository library of the Free State of Bavaria).

October 2016

In October 2016 Duncker & Humblot published the 26th volume of the “Neue Deutsche Biographie” (Tecklenburg - Vocke). Maximilian Lanzinner and Hans-Christof Kraus acted as editors on behalf of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The index of persons, comprising about 5000 entries, has been incorporated into the “Deutsche Biographie”. In addition, more than 700 individual articles written by 530 authors have been put online. They were originally published in print in the preceding 25th volume edited by Hans Günter Hockerts in 2013 (Stadion - Tecklenborg).

June 2016

The funding phase 2015 to 2016 of the DFG project "Deutsche Biographie" is concluded with the workshop "Qualitative networking, combined research and intelligent visualization.

The number of referenced persons has been strongly increased to 700,000, and the number of links between them to 165,000. 16,000 places could be localized.

The biggest partners in terms of entry numbers are now Kalliope, the Filmportal and the Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte (JDG, annual reports on German history).

Within the framework of the cataloguing works, over 46,000 personal headings for the annual reports on German history have been provided with GND IDs in cooperation with the JDG office at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. More than 10,000 biographical entries have been added from the matriculation register of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and likewise provided with GND IDs, for which interesting options arise in the museal and bibliographic fields in regard of further linking and use.

The number of linked relevant services has grown to over 200.

The information available so far in the various tabs "Index", "Partner Links", "Further Services", "Relations", "Citations" and "Locations" will be combined in a newly designed tab "Index" in the future.

November 2015

In the second portion of the project two services were provided with GND authority file data at the end of 2014 and in 2015: The Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte (annual reports on German history) at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the matriculation database of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In cooperation with the office in Berlin, the BSB set up around 5,500 new GND datasets, thus expanding the total amount of personal entries with GND to around 45,000. The provision of matriculation database with GND is still ongoing.

Moreover, the persons from further services of cooperation partners were included in the index of the Deutsche Biographie:

- Controversia & Confessio, obituary sermons of the Research Center for Personal Documents and the thesaurus of the Regesta Imperii of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz;

- Acta Pacis Westphalicae online of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the Arts and of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek;

- Kalliope network, operated under the management of the Berlin State Library;

- Landeskundliches Informationssystem (information system for regional studies) of Baden-Württemberg;

- Filmportal, managed by the Deutsches Filminstitut DIF e.V., and

- Deutsche Fotothek (German Photographic Collection) at the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB Dresden). The number of searchable persons has thus been increased to over 540,000.

January 2014

The thesaurus of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) links – in addition to authority data entries in VIAF, GND, The European Library (TEL), EROMM Web Search and Europeana – also to around 65,000 entries in the Deutsche Biographie.

August 2013 – Volume 24 online

The full text of all articles of volume 24 has been published.

July 2013 – Expansion of linked services

Around 10 Internet services, the majority of them bibliographies, have been included with the aid of existing Beacon files and/or automatic GND matching.

June 2013 – Citations reviewed

The entry of a person in the NDB or ADB has always indicated the printed source in the facsimile so far. By identifying mentioned persons (on the right under "Erwähnungen") in the articles, over 50,000 entries could be provided with a link to the full-text version of the article. Each article will keep the link to the facsimile of the printed source.

May 2013 – Register of volume 25

The persons from the register of the 25th volume of the NDB, published at the beginning of 2013, have been entered in the online version.

January 2013 – Further linked services

The linked services have been extended. To mention the larger services, the following links have been added: the digital Baltic biographical encyclopedia, the edition project concerning the diaries of Erich Mühsam, the minutes of the plenary sessions of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and the exchange of letters between Spranger and Hadlich; data of artists and purchasers in the national-socialist "Great German Art Exhibitions" 1937–44, representations (portraits) from the history of medicine, as well as the portraits of the members of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (BAdW).

September 2012 – Redesign of the website

After the kick-off workshop of the DFG-funded cooperation project "Historical-biographical information system for the German-language area" on 23/ 24 July 2012, the BSB and the editorial office of the NDB have redesigned the website. The linked services have been expanded to a total of around 90 currently. In the text of the articles, over 50,000 recognized names of persons have been activated in the form of cross links.

March 2012 – Recognition of personal names handed over

In mid-March 2012 Dr. Michaela Geierhos from the Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS Munich) hands over the personal-name recognition for biographies of the NDB and ADB. The identified personal names are subsequently processed by the editorial office of the NDB and matched with register data and authority data.

February 2012 – DFG application granted

At the end of February 2012, the German Research Foundation (DFG) grants the joint application by the BSB and the Historical Commission to set up a historical-biographical information system for the German-language area in cooperation with partner services.

December 2011

Presentation of the linked open data prototype by Martin Brümmer at the SKIL (IT Students' Conference) in Leipzig in 2011.

November 2011 – Cooperation with the CIS Munich

In November 2011 Professor Dr. Guenthner and Professor Dr. Hockerts sign a cooperation agreement on the development of a personal-name recognition by the Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS) at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich.

Linked Services

The Deutsche Biographie networks with selected other information providers in the Internet by offering a structured link list on each person listed in its index. The links entered in this list lead to further biographical services, furthermore directly to collections of source works and documents in archives, source editions, bibliographies, portrait collections and further materials complementing the articles of the Deutsche Biographie.

Technically, the link list of the Deutsche Biographie is based on BEACON files which, in turn, are based on the identification of individual persons in the common authority file (gemeinsame Normdatei, GND ID), managed under the auspices of the German National Library in Frankfurt am Main. The Deutsche Biographie likewise identifies the persons registered in its services with the aid of this GND ID. This means that all services in the Internet where entries have been provided with an identical GND ID can be cross-linked among each other.

The Deutsche Biographie does not endeavor to provide a complete list of all possible services in the Internet in its link list, but makes a selection. Such services are included in the link list which

- meet academic standards

- are authorized by name by an institution or editor

- are apparently provided sustainably

- are evaluated as particularly relevant in accordance with the professional criteria used by the editorial office of the Deutsche Biographie for selecting and processing its articles.

The link list of the Deutsche Biographie is structured in accordance with the individual groups of services for the sake of clarity.

On the website of the Historical Commission lists are provided with BEACON files on data sets of the Deutsche Biographie, with the aid of which other projects on the Internet can create direct links to the services of the Deutsche Biographie.

The Deutsche Biographie pursues a further, also multimedia-based, enhancement of its services in cooperation with academic institutions of the German-language area.

July/ August 2011

Publication of around 34,000 further personal data sets from the file of the NDB editorial office. The persons are published in the "index" and are linked with other historical and biographical/bibliographical information sources on the Internet with the aid of the GND. After the digitization and processing of the index cards of the so-called main index, 150,000 personal data sets were matched with the GND by the BSB. The new data sets provided with a GND number are published after merging the databases and eliminating double entries. The remaining data sets will be processed continuously. Around 121,000 persons have thus been prepared for being cross-linked with the aid of the GND-ID. The project was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

26 June 2011

Workshop "Linked data and the Deutsche Biographie", with the presentation of a prototype by the AKSW.

April 2011

Upload of the data from the project "Digitization of the NDB main file".

December 2010

Review of the Internet services.

June 2010

Integration of the 23rd volume published in 2007. Information has been added about around 800 persons from the range Schinzel–Schwarz, i.a. about authors such as Arthur Schnitzler and Arno Schmidt, musicians such as Robert and Clara Schumann, the painter Martin Schongauer, the philosophers Friedrich von Schlegel and Arthur Schopenhauer, economists such as Gustav Schmoller and Joseph Schumpeter, entrepreneurs such as Hanns-Martin Schleyer, the jurist Carl Schmitt, the resistance fighters Hans and Sophie Scholl, the politicians Carlo Schmid, Kurt Schumacher and Dorothea von Schlegel as a pioneer of female emancipation, the actress Romy Schneider and various Nobel laureates.

April 2010

Start of the successor project: "Digitization of the NDB main file" with the support of the DFG. In the course of one year, the core data (names with name variants, specifications of profession, birth and death data and locations) associated with the persons of the main file are processed by the editorial office of the NDB. In cooperation with the BSB, the GND identification will be complemented for several tens of thousands of names. The specifications on the persons are integrated under "index".

March 2010

The abstracts of the papers and the proceedings of the international conference of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the premises of the Historisches Kolleg and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 25 to 27 February 2010, "From reference work to information system – Scholarly quality assurance and functional enhancement of historical-biographical encyclopedias in electronic media" can be found at