About the project

The Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB, New German Biography) published by the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences informs in brief, scholarly well-founded articles about deceased persons whose actions and work have had a substantial influence on political, economic, social, scholarly/ scientific, technical or artistic developments. The NDB with its original contributions signed by experts by name has been considered the single most relevant biographic encyclopedia of the German language and cultural area for decades. (read more)

The Deutsche Biographie is a service jointly managed by the Historical Commission and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB). Funded by a grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), it has offered structured, lexical expert knowledge since February 2010, providing information about over 130,000 persons of the German-language cultural area. Currently, it includes digital full texts of more than 49,000 historical-biographical articles of the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB, General German Biography, 56 volumes, 1875–1912) and of the Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB, New German Biography, so far 25 volumes online, since 1953, Aachen to Tecklenborg), and, by means of links to certified services about these persons, provides access to authority data, articles from further biographic encyclopedias, sources, literature (among them the library resources of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Bavarian Union Catalog and the German National Library), as well as objects, works and portraits or catalog entries of these.

Further steps towards the expansion of the Deutsche Biographie to become a historical-biographic information system for the German-language area could be taken in the years 2012 to 2014, 2015 to 2016 by the partners Historical Commission and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the basis of further DFG grants.

By accelerating the pace of the GND cataloguing (common authority file) and cooperating with renowned national partner institutions, the number of searchable persons could be doubled within the project term, from 130,000 to around 260,000 and again to 730.000 now (2016). Among other things, partner services such as the database of modern papers and the image archive of the German Federal Archives, the archived treasures of the German Literature Archive in Marbach, the object database of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Germanic National Museum), the image collections of the specialist portals operated by the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (documentation center for art history) or broadcasts of the time of the Weimar Republic from the Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (German Broadcasting Archive) could be incorporated now.

Searching is now also possible using a map-based, strongly extended and faceted search. Among the new features there are for the first time also presentation forms which become possible through computer-linguistic analyses, such as the graphic representation of ego networks, for example.

The Historical Commission and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek had continued the expansion of the Deutsche Biographie also in the time after this. On the basis of a further grant by the DFG, the following further central partner services were integrated up to 2016: the Berlin State Library (Kalliope), die Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte), the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz (obituary sermons, Regesta Imperii), the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the Arts (Acta Pacis Westphalicae), the State Archive of Baden-Württemberg (LEO-BW), the Academy of Fine Arts Munich (digital edition of the matriculation books 1809–1930), the Deutsches Filminstitut, as well as the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (Deutsche Fotothek). The search instruments are further developed in parallel.

Hans Günter Hockerts, Zertifiziertes biographisches Wissen im Netz. Die "Deutsche Biographie" auf dem Weg zum zentralen historisch-biographischen Informationssystem für den deutschsprachigen Raum, in: Akademie Aktuell 04/2012, p. 34f.

Project coordination

  • Professor Dr. Malte Rehbein (Passau), for the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences
  • Dr. Markus Brantl, Department Head at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Dr. Bernhard Ebneth (NDB)

Contributors at the Historical Commission

  • Data-related programming: Matthias Reinert (responsible), Maximilian Schrott
  • Computer-linguistic analyses: Sophia Stotz, Valentina Stuß, Matthias Reinert

Members of the division Munich Digitization Center/ Digital Library of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek for the digitization, GND cataloguing and technical implementation.

The prototype for outputting the data in RDF was developed with the support of the research group of the University of Leipzig (Martin Brümmer, Thomas Riechert) within the framework of the EU project LOD2.

The project was implemented with the support of the German Research Foundation (DFG).


All texts appearing on the website of the Deutsche Biographie and the programming of the search function and the text design are protected by copyright. All protected elements may be used exclusively with the express approval by the Historical Commission and/or the specified owners of the rights.

It is permitted to download the material shown on the website for scholarly and private, non-commercial use, provided that all copyright and other protection indications with reference to the materials are complied with. It is prohibited to distribute, change, transmit, re-use, make newly available or use any contents of the website, including texts, images, audio files or video files, for public or commercial purposes without the written consent of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

The following exceptions have been applicable since 01/09/2015, provided that "Deutsche Biographie" is mentioned, under the following licenses:

- Articles of the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie CC-BY-NC-SA,

- Articles of the Neue Deutsche Biographie CC-BY-NC-ND,

- Register data CC0.

When research results are published which were obtained on the basis of the data provided here, you are asked to send the editorial office of the NDB a link or a copy.

It is expressly welcome to set up links to this website. The "Neue Deutsche Biographie" is also published in printed form and is available at bookshops. The right of publishing is held by the publishing house Duncker und Humblot.

Please direct any questions and requests for corrections by e-mail to: info@deutsche-biographie.de.