2004 Fall - Europe in Bits & Bytes

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Europe in Bits & Bytes

Column Editor: Sebastian Hierl

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2004
Vol. 28, no. 1



Via WESS-ROM, Bryan Skib alerted us to a new French (well, Canadian) Lexis-Nexis-like private service provider to the full text of French and international periodicals at http://www.europresse.com/. Europresse.com provides a notification service with email delivery of a "revue de presse" based on selected topics, keywords, and/or sources. Individuals may purchase single articles at the price of whole issues or purchase a fix number of downloads; subscription packages are also available.

The University Library of Uppsala has placed its extensive and world-renowned Waller collection of autographs online at http://www.ub.uu.se/arv/waller/eindex.cfm. While the project of assessing and digitizing the print collection is ongoing, it is estimated to contain 40,000 items. The French part of the collection seems to be the most comprehensive, followed by the German, the Swedish, and the British. Among the numerous autographs included in the collection are those of Tobern Bergman, Carl von Linné, Tycho Brahe, Nils Bohr, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Wilhelm Röntgen, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Napoléon, Marie Curie, Gandhi, and more.

Continuing with autograph collections, and completing the Waller collection, the Eidgenössische Militärbibliothek has placed its extensive catalog of the autograph collection of Dr. Georg Heberlein online at http://www.milautograph.ch/. The collection includes approx. 1,400 autographs completed with historical and biographical data on the authors, permitting to place the documents contained in the database within their historical context. The online database expands on the original collection of Dr. Heberlein, by adding three smaller autograph collections from the possession of the Swiss military library, including autographs of predominantly French origin, stemming from general Guillaume Henri Dufour, and a collection of autographs of different personalities of the Swiss army. The database permits to view handwritten documents with the autographs of such personalities as the Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XVI, Albrecht von Wallenstein, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Admiral Nelson, Albert Einstein, J. F. Kennedy, and more.

The following may not be new to all, but GBV includes a database of old maps at http://ikar.sbb.spk-berlin.de/. The database contains bibliographic records of printed thematic and topographic maps, navigational and celestial charts, town plans, bird’s-eye views, globes, and atlases up to 1850 (the coverage is worldwide), as well as facsimiles, reprints and digital forms of these maps. The last count of January 2004 indicated records of approx. 224,600 map titles with about 277,900 locations and links to 1,440 digital historical maps at participating libraries. The database is keyword searchable and provides a title list and subject access.

Continuing with maps, Georg Wenker’s “Sprachatlas des deutschen Reichs” (data collected between 1876-1887), described as one of the most extensive language Atlases of the world, has been made freely accessible at www.diwa.info. Featuring data from approximately 50,000 locations, it represents a complete survey and cartographic depiction of dialects in German. Contains 1,668 hand-drawn maps. Unfortunately, the plug-in did not work well with Firefox, but IE had no problems.

If you are looking for free images on the web, http://www.pixelquelle.de/ would be one source, though these are amateur photographs and the quality of the images can be lacking. For more scholarly relevant images http://www.prometheus-bildarchiv.de/ may be a good resource for users at associated partner institutions (individuals at non participating institutions may register for “temporary” access). At first sight, Prometheus provides a similar service as ARTstor, though this could not be verified for this column. Concerned subject specialists might want to investigate further.

IDC Publishers has recently released two new online resources, the Art Sales Catalogues online and the online edition of Taxonomic Literature, 2nd edition. The publisher describes the two database as follows:

  • The Art Sales Catalogues online athttp://asc.idcpublishers.info includes art sales catalogues from the period 1600-1900. At this moment about 3,000 art sales catalogues are available online, which will be extended to nearly 30,000 in 2005/2006. Lugt's Répertoire online is the "entrance gate" to the images of the catalogues. The complete Lugt's Répertoire online database has been included in this publication. The database can be searched by Lugt number, date, place, provenance, content, auction house and existing copies. An extra feature is the libraries database. This gives the opportunity to search through libraries with holdings of art sales catalogues.
  • TL-2 online at http://tl2.idcpublishers.info, the online edition of Taxonomic Literature, 2nd edition (TL-2), is the standard reference work for plant taxonomic literature from Linnean times to 1940. In the field of plant taxonomy, detailed information of particular publication dates is often critical in deciding matters of nomenclatural priority. With the many complexities of botanical and plant taxonomic publications that often were published in parts over periods of months if not years or decades, providing these bibliographic and publication data was a formidable task. It took Frans A. Stafleu (1921-1997) and Richard S. Cowan (1921-1997) fourteen years (from 1973 to 1988) to compile the original seven volumes and later Frans Stafleu and Erik Mennega (1923-1998) six years to add six supplements to the series. In this online edition you can browse the volumes and supplements of TL-2, and the original work is enhanced by the addition of various search options, including full text searching.


The Agence photographique de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux has placed an image database online at http://photosrmn.fth.net/fr/index.html. Through the database, over 200,000 photographs of works of art collected in the national and regional museums of France, museums such as the Louvre, Orsay, the Centre Pompidou or the Picasso Museum, are now directly accessible via the net. While low quality thumbnail images may be downloaded illegally, one has to purchase copies of the images. Nevertheless a wonderful source for someone wanting to see all different versions of the Mona Lisa, for example.

Published by the INIST and CNRS , the Revue des études augustiniennes is now (mostly) available online at http://irevues.inist.fr/data/augustin/.

If you are ever wondering whether certain French fiction writers are worth reading, you can listen to a select number of them read from their works at the Centre National du Livre: http://www.centrenationaldulivre.fr/lectures/index.php. Featured authors are those who have received support from the centre.

A little known digitization project at the Université de Toulouse is accessible at http://www.biu-toulouse.fr/num150/accueil.htm. The small collection includes titles pertaining to the history of Toulouse and its region, closely entwined with that of the historical kingdom of Spain, thus comprising several Spanish publications.

La lettre volée, manuscrit 193 de Vendôme, has been made available online by the CNRS and the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes at http://lettrevolee.irht.cnrs.fr/.

Founded by the Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée and in partnership with the French literary research portal Fabula.org, the Dictionnaire International des Termes Littéraires (DITL) is available at http://www.ditl.info/.

A good source of info of new developments in the French literary world, Fabula announced the creation of two new web sites dedicated to Charles Baudelaire and to Michel Leiris. The first, http://baudelaire.litteratura.com/, provides full text access to the body of work by Baudelaire. It contains both the first and second edition of the Fleurs du mal, the correspondence, essays, and prose texts, completed with biographical information and commentary, as well as scans of historical documents and numerous photographs of locations frequented by the poet, personalities close to him, and more. Unfortunately marred by some technical problems, the site is nevertheless well worth investigating. The site on Michel Leiris at http://www.michel-leiris.com/HH/, provides a chronology and bibliographic information on works by Michel Leiris, as well as on critical studies on the multifaceted writer. This includes book reviews of new publications. Also included are interviews and links to further resources on the net.

Not exactly French, but relevant to selectors of French language materials is CRITAOI, the “Bibliothèque de textes Critiques sur la littérature francophone de l'Afrique subsaharienne et de l'Océan Indien” at http://critaoi.org/. Created by scholars from Africa and countries/isles in the Indian Ocean, CRITAOI provides a database of critical texts and announcements pertaining to Francophone literature of those regions.


The Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla has digitized over 200 manuscripts, incunabula, and rare books from the biblioteca de San Millán athttp://www.fsanmillan.es/biblioteca/biblioteca.jsp. The collection may be searched by title, author, place, and date of publication, but unfortunately the site does not provide for easy browsing. The aim of the Fundación is to document the history of San Millán de la Cogolla and the monasteries of Suso and Yuso; to document and to spread to the origins of the Castilian Language; as well as to foster the development of San Millán of the Cogolla and his surroundings.

A collaboration between the Department of Culture of the Basque Government and the Fundación Sancho el Sabio has led to the creation of the Basque digital library at www.euskadi.net/liburutegidigitala. The site includes over 800,000 page images of close to 3,000 works from the 15th to the 20th Centuries. Access to the database is provided both in Basque and in Castilian. Several works in English are included.


Petrarch at 700 is a virtual exhibit of some of the most important works by Petrarch held at North American libraries: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/rbm/petrarch/. A joint initiative of Cornell University Library and the University of Pennsylvania Library, Petrarch at 700 marks the 700th anniversary of the poet’s birth in 1304. Items in the exhibit date from the 15th through the early 18th centuries, in addition to 19th century photographs that illustrate places associated with Petrarch's life.

The Catalogo aperto dei manoscritti Malatestiani, created by the Malatestiana Library at http://www.malatestiana.it/manoscritti/index.htm, provides a list of all manuscripts held at the Malatestiana and is searchable by shelfmark, author, and title. In addition, the site provides full text access to excerpts of critical texts and articles covering the history of the library and its collections or that are otherwise relevant to the study of the manuscripts at the Malatestiana.


Following an article in La Libre Belgique from July 16, 2004, the Royal Belgian Library in Brussels (www.kbr.be) is entering the digital age. While the library previously focused on placing its vast catalog online, including catalogs of incunabula, and already provided access to the Belgian bibliography online at http://www.kbr.be/bb/fr/Bbstr1.htm, the plan is to create a digital library that may compete with its foreign counterparts. Among several endeavors, the project eole claims to have already digitized over 3,000 cultural artifacts at http://www.muse.ucl.ac.be/Eole/, though we have to take their word for it, as the database is not yet available. For a list of initiatives, consult: http://www.kbr.be/informations/projets/projets_fr.html.

On another note, if you are interested in all matters relating to Belgium, there is a national web portal at www.belgium.be that includes links to government sites and other official organizations (Flemish, French, and German Communities, and more).

The Short-Title Catalogue Flanders (STCV) provides an overview of the Flemish printing-press output through an online bibliography of books printed in 17th-century Flanders at http://www.stcv.be/eng/frame.html. Though focusing on including Dutch-language materials printed between 1601 and 1700 within the present-day boundaries of Flanders (including Brussels), the database will also include works in Latin, Spanish, French, etc.

The Special Collections Department at the University of Utrecht has placed a collection of over 100 emblem books and other rare titles pertaining to the history of Utrecht and Stuyvesant, among other, online at http://digbijzcoll.library.uu.nl/en/collectie.asp.

The Biblia Sacra project at http://www.bibliasacra.nl/ provides extensive descriptions and numerous reproductions of typographical and iconographical material contained in bibles printed in the Netherlands and Belgium. The project includes information on both the editions and individual copies, such as provenance and binding. Other important data in the bibliography covers bible illustrations, printing types, prefaces, translators, printers, and previous owners.

For those interested in Dutch children’s literature, there is an interesting site at http://www.oudekinderboeken.nl/index.htm that provides scans of book covers and author, illustrator, and title indexes. The site contains no full text, but one may browse through cover and other illustrations.

The second edition of Amsterdam University Press’ Latin/Dutch dictionary has been made available online at http://www.latijnnederlands.nl/.

Because of the wealth of the collection, it is perhaps useful to include a reminder regarding the Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts catalog athttp://www.kb.nl/kb/manuscripts/. A joint project of the National Library of the Netherlands and the Meermanno-Westreenianum museum in The Hague, the web site presents almost 11,000 unique illustrations from 400 illuminated manuscripts held at both institutions. The collection is organized by theme and subject and may be searched by place names, names of artists, dates, iconographic themes, and types.


Via the Scout Report, we are informed of this new database at the National Library of Scotland: The Word on the Street, at http://www.nls.uk/broadsides/. The project provides image and full text access to broadsides held at the National Library of Scotland that document everyday occurrences from the 17th century to the end of the 19th century. These broadsides were pinned up in various public places for the general public to read, reporting upon criminal acts, updates on royalty, and other subjects. The digitized collection of close to 1,800 broadsides may be searched by keyword in the full text or browsed by title or subject.

A comprehensive web site dedicated to "The Writings of Charles Darwin on the Web" and created by John van Wyhe is available at http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin/.The site is modestly described as "[t]he most complete collection of Darwin's work ever published- with original page numbers, illustrations etc."

The British Film Institute has created what it calls “the definite guide to Britain’s film and TV history” at http://www.screenonline.org.uk/index.html. A brief review of the site and its resources would indicate that the BFI did not overstate its case; the site is, indeed, incredibly rich and provides access to too many resources to be listed here, but that include (at least sections of) the Encyclopedia of British Film and of the Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors, as well as a glossary of film and television terms, and subject tours. Unfortunately, excerpts of movies, audio-, and video clips are restricted to schools, colleges, university libraries and public libraries in the UK.


Through Jim Niessen we are alerted that “[t]he State Library in Berlin (SBB), which has responsibility for parliamentary publications within the German libraries’ cooperative collection system, launched a Virtual Guide to Government Information on July 1 at the address http://amtsdruckschriften.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/de/links/internetquellen. The 800 links lead to pages on government publications in 50 countries. As one would expect, the sections on German governments and parliaments (federal and provincial) are particularly complete. Many German agencies are now placing their documents online for several years back, in a variety of formats. The SBB guide is annotated to explain the kinds of material accessible underneath the link.”

Via German-e, Linwood Delong alerted us to the publication of Deutschland-Dokumentation 1945-2004, a CD-ROM containing comprehensive historical-political and legal (primary) documents from 1945 on. The project/database is sponsored by the BMBF and a description is available at www.d-dok.de. Containing over 100,000 pages, as well as countless photographs and sound recordings, the information is, unfortunately, not freely accessible on the net, as opposed to EuroDocs.

The “Kabinettsprotokolle der Bundesregierung” are in the process of being digitized at the Bundesarchiv at http://www.bundesarchiv.de/kabinettsprotokolle/web/index.jsp. Previously only available in book form, the site provides access to the cabinet minutes of the federal government for the years 1949 to 1960; minutes of the Kabinettsausschusses für Wirtschaft for the years 1951 to 1957; as well as minutes of the Ministerausschusses für die Sozialreform from 1955 to 1960.

John Rutledge points out that the Datenbank Schrift und Bild: 1900-1960 at http://www.polunbi.de/pers/index.html, merits further attention. Indeed, the database which provides bio-bibliographical and historical information on authors and institutions between the years 1900-1960, completed with critical commentary, may not be easily and succinctly described here and would warrant a more in-depth review. The goal of the database is to study the interaction between individuals, companies and federations on one side and national institutions on the other, and to provide a critical commentary as well as information on the location of the original materials, that would permit a reassessment of public discourse (and in particular of the media, if I read the introduction correctly) during the eventful years 1900-1960.

Announced in Die Zeit, the sixth edition of Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon (1905-1909) has now been made available as full text within the Digitale Bibliothek, published on CD-ROM by DirectMedia Verlag (http://www.digitale-bibliothek.de) for € 235 (ISBN 3-89853-200-3). While it is natural that the DirectMedia Verlag hails this CD-ROM of the authoritative sixth edition as a major publishing accomplishment, it is incomprehensible why Die Zeit followed suit in its “Literatur” section, without even mentioning that the fourth edition of the Konversations-Lexikon (1888-1889) has already been digitized from the Fraktur and is available for free and fully searchable online at http://www.meyers-konversationslexikon.de/. As a side note, it would indeed be a publishing event if the [(http://www.digitale-bibliothek.de DirectMedia Verlag] decided to provide web access to its vast Digitale Bibliothek.

The Weimar Goethe bibliography on-line at http://weias.ub.uni-weimar.de:8080/DB=4.1/LNG=EN/ aims at providing a comprehensive, international bibliography to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s life and work. The goal of the online database, compiled at the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar, is to cover the entire Goethe literature since 1991. At present only 1999 through 2001 are covered, but bibliographic entries for the years 1991-1998 and 2002-2004 are constantly added. The bibliography is searchable through the familiar OCLC-PICA interface.

The Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) has embarked on a long-term project to create a digital archive entitled KOPAL: “Kooperativen Aufbau eines Langzeitarchivs digitaler Informationen.” The project is a joint undertaking of the Deutschen Bibliothek, the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, the Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung Göttingen, and IBM Germany. It is based upon the Dutch model DIAS, “Digital Information Archiving System: http://www-5.ibm.com/nl/dias/” and the result of a cooperation between the National Library of the Netherlands and IBM. More information is available at the web site of the BMBF: http://www.bmbf.de/press/1221.php.

TheDeutsch Diachron Digital project at http://www.deutschdiachrondigital.de/ has for purpose to develop a digital reference corpus of the German language. The objective is a digital library that will document textual transmission in German from the earliest manuscripts to 1900, by providing digital facsimiles in their original language and modern translations. The project will provide extensive commentaries and aims at creating authoritative texts for philological and literary research.

If you are looking for copies of out of print historical biology titles, you may find a digital copy at Kurt Stübers Online Library: http://www.biolib.de/. The collection of close to 300 books focuses on historic and modern biology books published from the 16th Century to 2003. Some titles have been keyed or captured via OCR, but most are in digital facsimile format. Most titles are by German authors, with some translations into German, though select titles are also available in their original language, such as the works of Darwin.

The catalog of incunabula at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, which holds one of the largest collections in the world, including a third of all incunabula existing today, is available online at http://mdz1.bib-bvb.de/cocoon/bsbink/start.html. The collection comprises close to 20,000 copies in approximately 9,660 editions. The catalog was developed between 1971 and 2003 with the support of the DFG and completes the earlier print edition published by Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden, in 1988-2000. In fact, the online catalog includes searchable page images of the latter. Furthermore, 6,377 illustrations of mostly German language incunabula have been digitized so far.

In keeping with Bavarian treasures, the Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online (BLO) has made available the Historischer Atlas von Bayern (HAB) at http://www.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de/hab/ and a large number of historic maps of Bavaria, covering four centuries, at http://www.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de/histkarten/. Additional resources of the BLO (several through the BSB) include a near complete run of the Zeitschrift für Bayerische Landesgeschichte (to 1997), as well as a biographical database of Bavarian personalities covering 11 centuries, and several other important resources, available at http://www.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de/index.html.

A select number of rare German and Latin titles have been digitized and made available at http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/databases/zips/zips_digiliste.htm. The titles have been made available through a collaboration of the Universitätsbibliothek Bielefeld with the National Library of the Slovak Republic.

With 2004 marking Arno Schmidt’s 90th birthday, as well as 25 years since his passing, GASL, the “Gesellschaft der Arno Schmidt Leser,” has embarked on creating an online “Arno Schmidt reference library.” The collection includes titles from Schmidt’s personal library that play an important role in his work, with an emphasis on 18th and 19th Century imprints. The digital collection is available at http://www.gasl.org/refbib/index.htm.

After four years of development, the Sachsenspiegel has been made available online through a cooperation of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel and the Fachhochschule Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel at http://www.sachsenspiegel-online.de/export/index.html. The site provides interesting access to this medieval legal classic and includes both the transcription of the original text and the modern German translation.

The Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten in Sachsen-Anhalt, in conjunction with the Universität Köln, has created an online exhibit on Martin Luther at http://luther.hki.uni-koeln.de/luther/. The exhibit provides bibliographic descriptions and digital facsimile of rare books, manuscripts, and coins, as well as of objects from the museum. Unfortunately, a large number of materials, although described, is not yet digitized and one has to request their digitization. Nevertheless, a rich resource on Luther. The web site of the Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten in Sachsen-Anhalt at http://www.martinluther.de, provides a wealth of historical information on Luther and his time, which includes biographies of Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Lukas Cranach d.Ä., and other contemporary personalities, as well as images of Wittenberg and other historical places.

The satirical magazine Kladderadatsch (1848-1944) has been digitized by the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg at http://www.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/helios/digi/kladderadatsch.html. Published by David Kalischs, the first number of the Berliner Satirezeitschrift Kladderadatsch was published on May 7, 1848, with a printing of 4.000 copies. The publishers gave the subtitle "Organ für and von Bummler;" in 1849 (number 32) the subtitle was changed to "Humoristisch satyrisches (later 'satirisches') Wochenblatt." Since 1908 the magazine appeared only under the title Kladderadatsch. The title ceased in 1944. Kladderadatsch was the only satirical magazine published in Berlin that survived the revolutionary years 1848/1849 and that, after changing to the liberal-conservative camp, existed for over nine decades. The site provides no search feature and no index, but permits to view several pages of the magazine at once.

Also available from the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, is the satirical weekly Ulk at http://www.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/helios/digi/ulkhd.html. Ulk appeared from 1872 to 1933, published by Rudolf Mosse in Berlin. Ulk was originally its own weekly paper for humor and satire, but about 1913, became a weekly supplement to the Berliner Tageblatt and the Berliner Volks-Zeitung (both published by Mosse). In the years 1918 to 1920 Kurt Tucholsky worked as the editor-in-chief of Ulk. The two newspapers, Berliner Tageblatt and the Berliner Volks-Zeitung, had a readership of one quarterly million strong. Again, the site is not searchable and provides no index, but includes a helpful feature allowing to view a number of page images at once. Coverage as of July, 2004 is 1914-1930.

The Digitale Sammlungen of the Sächsiche Landesbibliothek, Staats-, und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) Dresden include digital facsimile of important collections, covering historic newspapers, prints, catalogs, and manuscripts, available at http://fotothek.slub-dresden.de/digibib/digibib.htm.

Vascoda.de was presented at the WESS Paris conference, but I am including a brief entry for those who did not have a chance to attend the presentation or who would like to review this new portal once more (http://www.vascoda.de/). Vascoda offers a central access point for scholarly information in Germany and posits itself as the beginning of a “comprehensive scholarly and scientific information portal in Germany;” in other words, a German Digital Library that will integrate all various formats of scholarly digital information (web sites, e-journals, virtual libraries, ...) into one database. Sponsored by the BMBF and the DFG, Vascoda is a cooperative network of major German libraries and information providers that integrates resources of participating institutions, such as library OPACs, databases, and other bibliographic information, together with full text resources, into one comprehensive database/web portal. Still in its beginning, the latest feedback from WESSIES who have tried it is that the database is not yet extensively populated, but that it is nevertheless a site to keep an eye on.


A starting point to Austrian digital collections is provided by the newDigital Heritage web site at http://www.digital-heritage.at/. Sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Culture, the Austrian Digital Heritage Initiative aims at providing an overview over Austrian digitization projects, at featuring good practice examples in digitization, and at offering tools and advice on digitization related topics. The Digital Heritage web site is part of the eCulture initiative, which itself is part of the Ministry’s national eFit Austria initiative and well worth a visit at http://www.efit.at/.

The archive of the Arbeiter-Zeitung (AZ) between the years 1945 and 1989 has been placed online at http://www.arbeiter-zeitung.at. The archive provides unlimited access to the daily newspaper and is fully searchable. Founded as the primary Socialist paper in 1889 by Victor Adler, the AZ survived the war and reappeared in 1945 as the main organ of the Austrian Socialist Party, which it remained until 1989. From 1989 until its closure in 1991 it appeared as independent newspaper.


The library of the University of Bergen has digitized several rare books and journal issues at http://www.ub.uib.no/elpub/current.html. While not extensive, the collection focuses on Bergen and includes titles from the 18th to the 20th Century.

Please continue to submit notifications and/or reviews for inclusion in the upcoming issue of Europe in Bits & Bytes, as well as any comments to Sebastian Hierl.

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Fall 2004 > Europe in Bits & Bytes

Editor: Sarah G. Wenzel

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